Saturday, March 5, 2011

Steady as she goes

For the past month as I have been working diligently on my foundation, I have taken my long runs to a new location. All of the routes that leave from my house are hilly. There is no getting around it. There are rollers everywhere so both the start and end of every fun involves what for me are not fun (HR spiking) sections. So I have been going out to Needham/Wellesley where there are nice long stretches of relatively flat or steady but slight grade roads, with wide shoulders. This runs have been pretty blissful (except the one day when it was 15F with 30+mph gusts and I had to stop and crouch on the ground for over a minute so as not to get knocked over). My paces have been good on these runs. But it feels like cheating cuz there are no hills! James' upcoming half marathon is a flat course. I am tentatively planning on running it as a training run. So these runs have also been confidence builders for that. However, I can't avoid hills forever. Hills are always what kill me. So today I had 1:35 run on tap and I decided it was time to (wo)man up and run a hilly route. I adjusted my distance goal to reflect a slower pace. Figured 20 seconds per mile slower than flat 1:30 run from 2 weeks ago.

The weather man says 40F this morning so this was my first outdoor run in anything only that hardcore winter gear since November. Capris, t-shirt, and brooks wind jacket --- that's it! It was awesome so actually feel the wind on my skin (without it hurting). I was actually probably even a little too warm. I tried not to look at my garmin, just to run comfortably (well, honestly, maybe a little harder than comfortably) and adjust pace to fit terrain. It was a good run. A very good run. Usually I start falling apart a little bit around an hour into my runs (or 1:10 if I'm having a good day) but this didn't happen. My energy was good. My attitude was good.
When I got home I looked at my lap splits...Two weeks ago I ran that flat course at 8:40, with paces ranging from 8:24 to 8:52.

This week:
Mile 1: 8:48
Mile 2: 8:38
Mile 3: 8:28
Mile 4: 8:43
Mile 5: 8:38
Mile 6: 8:52
Mile 7: 8:38
Mile 8: 8:37
Mile 9: 8:38
Mile 10: 8:39
Mile 11: 8:32

Average pace: 8:39

This is the most even pacing I have EVER run. And there were hills. YAY ME! 

I guess there might be something to be said for patience.

January and February by the Numbers: Prep and Base

Swim: 24,225 yards
Bike:  356 miles
Run: 74 miles
Weights: 7 sessions
Yoga: 1x during recovery week
Total training time:  47.1 hrs

Overall a boring month of easy efforts. Trying to get back in the swing of swimming 3 times per week, which I marginally accomplished for 2 weeks in the second half of the month but overall didn't quite stick to. I did have one stellar 4050yd swim in the second half of the month which made me hopeful that my swimming might return to me once I am able to settle into a workable schedule of 3 times per week. I kept every scheduled run and ride for the month. The runs were slow but it was good to finally be doing "long runs" of more than an hour. I was pretty good with weights 2x a week but was unable to figure out timing of lifting sessions that didn't interfere with my running or swimming. I'd say no overall strength gains but a little less of that feeling of being a limp noodle.

Swim: 17,350 yards
Bike:  368.5miles
Run: 74.5 miles
Strength: 3 weight sessions, 1 trx session at the Y, 3 yoga (does shoveling count?)
Total training time:  41.7 hrs

I started in on my modified Fitzgerald level 4 and 6 Half Iron plan on January 31. I had started with a Friel plan on January 1 so had a weird first week of February which was a recovery from Friel but the start of base for Fitzgerald (new plan). So I've had 2 recovery weeks in the month of February. Overall this had made for kind of pitiful numbers. I have clearly slipped (again) with the swimming, with only 7 sessions for the month (11 planned). I actually (FINALLY!) made good progress with my running. Ran every run and built my long run to a little over 10miles. On consecutive weeks my long run pace also dropped by 20 and 19 seconds while the distance increased for each one. My midweek runs have still be questionable. Running at 6:30am may just not be my thing. On the week that I had a day off and was able to do my brick with the run starting at 8am I flew around and felt invincible. I've done a short brick each week (on Tuesdays). I'm trying to tack on a short transition run after my long Sunday rides but haven't done this yet as I can't seem to convince myself to layer up and go out in the cold/wet after getting nice and toasty on the trainer. I still have hope for this once we start having temps in the 40's and warmer.

IOn the nutrition front I have finally figured out a way to consistently get my fair share of vegetables. 2 hugely successful smoothies. First a mango, spinach, flax seed combo. Second, a blueberry, spinach, and blueberry/beet/grape juice combo. Both delicious, both 5 servings of fruit/veg per  drink. Some of the winter weight is slowing coming back off. I can even zip my pants, which is a nice perk.

Happy training all!