Thursday, February 3, 2011

Alive at 96

No, I am not talking about my grandmother.

96 miles, 6 days and I’m feelin’ pretty good. I have abandoned all attempts to figure out when I will feel the effects of my higher mileage weeks. Judging by my latest patterns, I wouldn’t be surprised if this week’s lethargy hit me at the end of February, or the first week of March. Go figure. Although it was a lifetime mileage PB, there are a few reasons why it may have been easier on the bod than some of my 90 mile weeks: (1) I ran on the treadmill three times (shame), (2) only ran 26k for my ‘long’ run (double shame) and (3) there was little snow this week (BLISS). If you add up my total time running, it’s about the same as last week, but I covered 5 more miles due to the lack of snowshoeing involved. Pretty awesome. Since my LR dipped down a bit, I upped my morning runs to 13 miles and added on 2 miles to my doubles, and voila – 96. Those are some nice numbers. Almost as sexy as 69. Okay time to change the subject.

On Monday we did our classic hill repeats up Glen Edyth, where I was ordered by coach to give everyone a head start before chasing them up the hill. I wasn’t very happy about this initially, since the first two repeats didn’t feel easy, but it was interesting to see how much harder I could push when I did this. We ended 6 hills with 3x800m up an even larger hill, through slush and snow, at which point Nic started to royally kick my ass. She stayed on my heels until 100-200m to go and left me in the dust every time. It is really not fair that I have absolutely no fast-twitch muscles. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a great workout as I got a pretty hard effort in on a snowy night that wasn’t so conducive to interval training!

On Thursday, I met Val for our usual long run, though I was only running 5k more than my easy days so I didn’t treat it as much of a long one. I was getting a lot more sleep this week and went to bed at 9 on Wednesday, so for once getting up at 4:30 felt like a breeze. I waited in the lobby for Val and asked the concierge what the temperature was. ‘It’s -4C right now...’ he said sleepily. ‘Seriously? Wow! It’s like summertime!!!’ I exclaimed (perhaps wayyyy too jubilantly). He looked up at me sceptically and mumbled something about me being completely nuts. I am pretty used to this so I continued on jabbering about the balmy weather while stripping off my hat, neck warmer and extra gloves and asking him to hang onto them (don’ worry...undergarments: ON.). I bounced out the door with Val and we ran down to Queen street to pick up Jebs. Jenn ‘the responsible one’ Eberman is always appropriately dressed for the dark and/or wintertime weather and carries enough calories with her to optimally re-fuel from her run, wherever she might end up (in case there should be an impromptu bonk, a wrong turn or a mileage miscalculation – she would STILL get her recovery foods in a timely manner!). On this morning, she, perhaps not surprisingly, told us to watch out for her nifty blue lights that would be flashing from her jacket. We jogged along slowly and suddenly Val screamed ‘I see her! JENN!!!’ but as I looked around there was no Jenn to be seen. ‘There! There!’ Val screamed and pointed. ‘Aaaaah, yes!’ I said as I saw a light in the distance. However, as we approached this blue flashing light we eventually realized it was a police car that had stopped to arrest someone. This took us way too long to figure out (I think I said ‘where is she?’ as an older man was being cuffed...). Nevertheless, we did somehow end up finding her, though it was a good 10min later and it was more like she found us...details, details! The rest of the run went by relatively incident-free (imagine that) and was actually quite enjoyable due to the spring-like weather that day.

Saturday’s workout was 4x2k with 3 minutes rest. I was hoping to stay somewhere near coach during this workout but I quickly realized this wouldn’t be happening. Damn Nic and her blood-doping, tapering ways! She commented on having run about half as much as me so far that week and beamed about how fresh she felt. I wasn’t too far behind on the first interval (about 4-5s back in 7:25ish), but even by our second ‘moderate’ effort she was 15s ahead. Dammit. The third interval was the hardest of the bunch, where we were instructed to negative split by 10s no matter what. The obvious approach to conquering this interval would have been to take it easy in the first km and hammer the 2nd. I was feeling feisty, however, and wanted to make it a truly hard interval, so I went out in 3:40 (as I had in each of the other intervals) and did my best to hammer the second half (which I had been running 5-6s slower in 3:45/6...this loop is tough to negative-split on). Nic stayed with me to 1k, then left me in the dust with a 3:24 2nd kilometre as I struggled home in a 3:34. I was satisfied with my effort but was more awed by Nic’s prowess than anything else. The last 2k was another moderate effort, which I ran in 7:25 again. I was happy about how consistent I was [7:27/7:25/7:14/7:25-6] and by the fact that I was able to negative split...though not by 10s, at least by something! Furthermore, it being the end of my biggest mileage week yet, I was happy to end on a strong note.

And now...for my down week! Oh the joy. Though down weeks are clearly a time for your body to rest and recuperate, it is also a time to mentally recharge. I love the peace of mind of knowing I don’t HAVE to do anything I don’t want to and the lack of pressure on mileage or workouts. This week will end with a marathon-style workout in which I will do 25-26k starting easy and ending under marathon pace. I hope I have good news to report!

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