Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reduce, re-boot and cycle

In line with how we should take care of our earth, is how we should listen and take care of our bodies (or it will come back and bite us in the a**). This week I scaled back the intensity but maintained volume and I think my body is already thanking me for this. I feel 200% better than last Sunday. I ended up skipping workout last Monday because I felt some residual fatigue from Saturday’s 18k tempo run and had mild pain in my quad. Instead, I did a less-intense, solo workout Tuesday morning after our circuit session.

I didn’t think twice about the prospective difficulty doing a workout after circuits. After months of doing a similar weekly routine, I no longer get sore or very fatigued after circuits. Of course, this week our leader Kerry Kuluski, a.k.a. Kap ‘N Krunch, coincidentally decided to change up the routine and put us through an army-like bootcamp. After our usual sets of 5min rotating plank, As, Bs, Cs, push-ups, bounding and running A’s we were partnered up and forced to do 3 sets of: 10 burpees, 10 push-ups and about a 50-stair sprint - as our partner did a wall sit for the entire time it took us to finish – and then switching up with our partners. Originally KK(K?) stated we would do sets of 10, 11, 12, etc. etc. until we reached 15, for 6 total sets. What the???? Once she saw our arms quivering after 2 push-ups, our pathetic attempts at full burpees and the overall pedestrian pace at which we completed the first set, she quickly re-adjusted her command to 3 sets of 10. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to save me from feeling rather tired for the 4x1500m hill repeats I was to do directly afterwards. That being said, I did them at a ‘comfortably-hard’ pace (a term I am still struggling to understand and execute properly – I still don’t quite get how something hard can really be comfortable!). I tried to achieve this by going relatively easy on the flat bits and working on the steep hills. I did it fartlek-style, slowing to a jog when I reached the phone booth (our very official finish line) and picking it up again when I reached the lamp post at the bottom of the stairs. I completed each repeat in 5:55-6:00, with the rest rounding out to about 2:00-2:05. Once I did a cool-down and got back home I had been working out for over two hours, was ravenous and had a very sore IT band. Not the best way to re-set myself after a fatiguing previous week!

Of course, seeing as I was sore and tired - but am after all G.I. Jane Coolis (or Crazy Coolis?) - I did NOT forego my afternoon 6-miler. I was pleased to find out that my sore IT didn’t hurt when I ran, but only became sore after I stopped and sat down. I figured it was caused by the compounding effect of stair sprints, hills and overall fatigue and that it would dissipate within a few days – and thankfully I was right. By Thursday’s interval workout at the cemetery I no longer felt any pain and could get in some quality effort. The workout went well (3k w/2k at Kat’s marathon pace [4:10], last k changing gears to 3:35, 1k hard, 1k relaxed, 1k hard), with the 2 quality km’s in 3:22 and relaxed-effort km’s in 3:36. I am happy to see that I can consistently run 3:22s now in my harder interval sets, since my 1k ‘PB’ on the cemetery loop is 3:21. I do, however, need to re-set that PB ASAP!

Saturday we decided to skip the tempo run and do a straight long run instead. I ran with Meghan, who has now become famous for wearing her pyjamas as running attire. Apparently getting up at 6AM requires her to forego the extra (energetic) step of changing into a regular t-shirt, and she therefore sports her polka-dot baby pink and green long-sleeve, coupled with her cute, frazzled pigtails to any early practice. There is something quite humbling about running 12 miles beside someone in their pyjamas, bouncing along and chatting comfortably!

On Sunday I ran with Jeff down to the waterfront to watch the Scotiabank half-marathon and marathon races. It was a lot of fun and very exciting to see Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gilis run huge PBs, with Coolsaet making the Olympic standard of 2:11:29 by a mere 6 seconds. They looked so smooth out there. The international women ran exceptionally fast, with the top seven running under the previous course record of 2:28 and the top two demolishing it with a scintillatingly fast 2:22:43 and 2:22:44! Wowza. Nic and Jen Drynan represented the angels well in the half-marathon, coming 1st and 3rd, respectively. I can’t wait to get out there in three weeks and do the same!

When we were on the course, we witnessed the new ‘ElliptiGo’ machines pictured below. They are an outdoor elliptical machine that you can ride similar to a bicycle. Jeff could not help but comment on how ridiculous they look...I have to agree, though I could imagine they would be useful as a low-impact cross-training tool while injured. For someone who is not a big fan of the bike, I could actually see myself trying one of these one day. After having spent months on end cooped up in the gym on this boring machine a few years back, fighting with those who take pleasure in kicking people off after 30 minutes, the freedom and mobility of the outdoor ElliptiGo is quite attractive!

The ElliptiGo

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