Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Halfway to Newport: Week 6 Training Recap

What's happening out there?

So 6 weeks down, and 6 weeks to go. I'm officially halfway done with the Pfitz 55/12 plan, which is just mind-blowing. Where have the last six weeks gone? I know I was in Puerto Rico, but April is just a giant blur. I feel like my life this month has been run, eat, work, shower, sleep, and maybe socialize a bit. Yes, I've hit my weekly mileage goals for the last two weeks (and for 4/6 weeks of this cycle), which makes me happy. But I still feel like my life is work and running.

And speaking of time zooming by, my birthday's tomorrow. Where the hell have all of these years gone? I need a drink right now. But for the sake of my sleep cycle, I'll be good. Because the last thing I need during the 55-mile week of my training plan is a bout of insomnia. 

I finally returned to my doctor on Thursday for follow-up lab work. Despite the iron supplementation, my iron levels managed to drop. Actually, I think plummet would be a more accurate description of the change. I know that endurance training breaks up your hemoglobin stores, but between the last test and this one, my weekly mileage has only increased by about 10 miles. So this had to be due to something else. With that, I turned to the Google. And learned the following:

-Polyphenols (present in coffee, tea, and wine) inhibit iron absorption (Source)

I don't care so much about the tea, but for those of you new to my blog/life, coffee and wine are two of my favorite things.



-Eggs and dairy inhibit iron absorption (Source)

As a result of my lactose intolerance, I consume little dairy. However, I consume 3-4 eggs a day. Damn you, chicken eggs! Why must you be so delicious?

-Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue and increased sensitivity to the cold (Source)

Over the last few weeks, I was feeling really tired (which I just assumed was due to not sleeping enough), and noticed that my Raynaud's flare-ups were becoming more frequent. (I kid you not, I would drink a smoothie in my house, and my fingers would go numb and white.) I hadn't opened up too much about this in my previous recaps, because I didn't have a real explanation for why (and neither gluten nor dairy seemed to be a good explanation). So we'll see if proper/increased iron supplementation will help this. In the meantime, I have an appointment scheduled to see a specialist next month.

What is "proper supplementation"? Well, I'm glad you asked! To promote absorption, it should either be taken on an empty stomach, or with vitamin C (e.g., orange juice). I mentioned my medical issues in a dailymile post, and one of my DM friends (who has a similar issue) suggested taking it first thing in the morning, and right before bed, and not eating for an hour before or after either dose. She also suggested cutting back on my beloved caffeine, and reassured me that even though it'll be painful, it'll be worthwhile.

And now, onto my workouts!

After reviewing my training log (aka dailymile), I concluded that the big theme of this week's training was the mental game. Namely, the challenge of sucking it up, putting on your big boy shorts, and dragging your ass outside. And even though we discussed that last week, the mental component is huge in this sport because of how much time you spend on the streets/trails with you and your thoughts.

Planned: rest or xt
Actual: rest (and maybe some foam rolling)

Planned: Recovery 5 mi
Actual: Recovery 5.01 mi at 7:50/mi pace

Thanks to an Instagram post from one of my Bostonian friends, I remembered that today marks the one year anniversary of the Boston Bombings. I had to dedicate part of this run to them, and just think about how lucky I am that I'm still alive and able to partake in this sport.

After my Boston dedication, my thoughts drifted to other things - my training plan (and whether I can pull off this crazy-ass goal in 6.5 weeks), my job, and smaller matters like my upcoming birthday plans, and what I was going to eat when I got back home. I love recovery runs, because they give me a chance to just run and think about something other than target paces.

Planned: VO2 max 10 mi with 5 x 1000m at 5K race pace (6:33/mi); jog 2 min between
Actual: VO2 max 10.09 mi with 5 x 1000m at 6:26/mi pace

This was my first time doing a VO2 max workout, and I'd be lying if I said I weren't intimidated by it. The workout: 10 miles with 5x1000m at 5K pace (6:33/mi) and 2 min jogging in between. So I did a 3.19 mi warmup (1 mile to the track, and 2.19 on the track), then this workout, and then a 2.65 mi cooldown (1.6ish on the track, and the rest was the route back home).

For this, I used the Workout option in the Garmin settings (first time ever for that!), and for the sake of accuracy, temporarily switched my Garmin to metric settings. So I ran this, and then checked the results when I was done. Before I converted it back to statute (to get the splits), I saw "5.00km, 19:58", and was floored (I'll save you the math, 20:00 for 5km = 6:26/mi pace). Once I converted it to units I can understand, I was even more stoked.

Splits: 6:18, 6:14, 6:32, 6:30, 6:32

I'm still shocked that I hit my target pace for every interval, my pace for 2 of the 5 intervals was faster than my goal 5K pace, and my overall pace for the speed work was faster than said goal 5K pace. After the last week of workouts, this was a nice confidence booster.

Planned: MLR 12 mi
Actual: 2 rounds of the RYBQ 10x10 strength routine

I had a charity event to go to on Thurs night, and decided to use Thurs morning to get the follow-up lab work done. So as a result, I swapped my MLR and rest days. And decided to use this rest day for ancillary strength work

Planned: rest or xt
Actual: 5.01 mi at 8:06/mi pace (am); 7.03 mi at 7:46/mi pace (pm)

Part 1: This might be the one time I felt more cranky after a run. First, it was cold (39°). Second, my stomach was not feeling so hot. Excuses, excuses. The gist of it is that I wasn't feeling very springy. Also, I think my Garmin was having an off day as well. It tried saying that my usual 5.03 mi route was 4.96 mi.

Part 2: Well, I can say that tonight's run was much better than this morning's. For starters, it had to have been about 20 degrees warmer.

I ran through my neighborhood again. I should really branch out, except I was feeling lazy and didn't feel like thinking of a new route. Initially, I didn't want to go out, but by the first mile, I felt glad I was out there. During mile 4, I thought of Erin's comment on my latest blog post, and started thinking about US states and capitals (for some of the states), and then the capitals for some foreign countries. That's probably the highlight from this run. Well, that and it felt like redemption for this morning's awful run.

Planned: Recovery + speed 6 mi with 6 x 100m strides
Actual: 6 mi at an unknown pace + 8 x 1 block strides

So my Garmin decided to crap out again. Except this time, I didn't even hear it beep. I just looked at it around the time I expected it to beep for mile 1, and it said 0.36 mi. I was at the MAX station, so rather than try restarting it, I just decided to take the MAX to 24 Hour and deal with the treadmill. Once I started on the treadmill, I couldn't get into a groove. So I left (feeling all defeated), went home, and after some hemming and hawing, decided to run my usual 5M loop with my headphones and phone, and time myself with the stopwatch. Music definitely helped get me back into a groove.

My playlist gave me flashbacks to the following events: Dad Vails '06, Eugene '12, Chicago '12, R Baby 4 Miler '09 (first race I averaged a sub-7 pace), and maybe some others that I'm not thinking of. Also, I saw two different CT license plates on this run (aww nostalgia time! haha). It was like a journey through the last (almost) 28 years.

Based on the Garmin time from run #1 and the stopwatch time from run #2, I'm estimating that my total time for this 6 was 47 min.

Planned: Marathon specific 15 mi with 12 mi at marathon race pace
Actual: 15.03 mi at 7:27/mi pace, with the last 12 being at an average pace of 7:19/mi

After Easter brunch, a nap, and accepting the fact that I had no valid excuse for missing this run (partly thanks to everyone's FB, IG, and DM posts about Boston), I headed out for an early evening run.

Today's workout: 15M with 12 at marathon goal pace

After a 3 mile warmup (and a side-5 from a diner at my neighborhood taqueria), I picked up the pace, except my legs were not feeling sub-7 minute miles. Somewhere between mile 4 and 5, I had the thought of, "Oh crap, did I lock my front door?" And one of the last places you want to have that thought is in the insular midst of the Springwater Corridor. So I decided to make this workout into one 10M loop and one 5M loop. Once I hit mile 5, turned around, and continued at a speedy clip back home. Fortunately, I had locked my door.

For my 5M loop, I just headed down my street 2.5 miles, and then turned around. I heard some kid belting out "Let it Go" from "Frozen," which just made me laugh. Started thinking about random things, like the US states and their capitals (rattled off all 50 of each in my head). Oh, and how lovely the houses are, along with how much apartment rents are over there. At some point during my run back home (probably around mile 14 of 15), I felt like the lactic acid had been flushed from my legs.

MGP may not have happened (average pace for the 12 was 7:19), but I gave this what my legs had in them. More importantly, I sucked it up, put on my big boy shorts, and got out there. And THAT is the bigger win, in my book.

Planned total: 48 mi
Actual total: 48.17 mi

How do you maintain a healthy balance between your running/professional life and your personal life? 

Do you own a GPS watch? And if so, has it given you satellite reception issues?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eyes on the Prize

Hey there! Happy Monday!

This past week was definitely rough. I didn't get as much sleep as I should have, and my seasonal allergies decided to wage a war.

Oh, and this was the first week of the Lactate Threshold + Endurance Mesocycle. Not a fun combo. I saw firsthand how the lack of sleep can negatively affect a workout (and make you crave all sorts of unhealthy foods), but I also saw how focusing on a goal can get you through a bad workout (or workouts).

I was on the phone with my friend Benjamin (who I convinced in 2010 to take up the sport of marathoning) last week. Benjamin's currently training for the Ottawa Marathon, which is just a week before Newport. Given this, you'd expect that we'd have had lots of training stories to swap. However, our conversation was focused on marathon goals. Specifically, how do you determine said goal, and how do you distinguish between too conservative, realistic, and too ambitious. I always err on the side of too ambitious, so I'm probably not the best person to ask for advice on this (unless the advice you want to hear is "Go big or go home"). After hanging up with him, I remembered that Erin wrote an excellent post on this for The SF Marathon's blog (and I'm not just saying that because yours truly makes a cameo in it). Goals are supposed to be a bit terrifying, but if you break up your goal into smaller benchmarks, it helps make it a little less terrifying. So I forwarded him a link to her post.

That conversation got me thinking about my own crazy-ass goals. I'm sure I've said this somewhere on here, but my goal for 2014 is to run a sub-3:00 marathon (pace: 6:52/mi). I'd be lying if I said that running a 2:xx marathon didn't freak me out. But that fear helped push my sleep-deprived and congested self out the door and through all of my workouts. Because what scares me more than the goal itself is the thought of disappointing myself and everyone else by not meeting it.

Planned: Rest or xt
Actual: Rest

Planned: Recovery 5
Actual: 5.02 mi at 7:42/mi pace

My piriformis was bugging me for the first 1-2 miles. And then I'd pick up the pace, only to remind myself that it was a recovery run. During either mile 3 or 4, I noticed that I was just clunky (short strides, tight arms, and what seemed like bad form to me). So I focused on relaxing my arms, keeping my upper body straight, and lengthening my stride. And it definitely helped!

Splits: 8:07, 8:08, 7:37, 7:22, 7:21, 7:15 (for 0.02 mi)

Planned: MLR 12 mi
Actual: 12.11 mi at 8:02/mi

I'm trying to think of positive things to say about this workout, but all I can come up with is "I did it" and "I didn't lose my ID, etc."

In the spirit of time, I opted to do this workout after work. However, 12 miles when you've slept about that many hours in the last 3 days -- not the best mix. Couple that with this nagging thirst for water for at least half the run, and it's probably clear why this workout went so poorly. Mid-run, I had to remind myself that I did the right thing by running, because "the sub-3 marathon isn't won on the couch." But then I couldn't help but doubt whether sub-3 will happen in Newport. And then...I just got in my head a little too much. And need to get out of my head.

Planned: Rest or xt
Actual: 1 round of RYBQ 10x10 strength routine

Planned: LT 11 mi with 6 mi at 15K-half marathon race pace
Actual: LT 12.14 mi with 6 mi of speed (splits unknown because of Garmin issues), and 2x1' RYBQ SC

As much as I hate working out after work on Fridays (especially after a long week), I decided that an extra hour of sleep was worth the tradeoff.

Today's plan was to do 11 miles, with 6 at 15K-HMRP. So I did 3 miles as a warm-up, and then started my LT work. Shortly after my watch beeped for mile 1 of the LT portion (around Steel Bridge on the east side), I thought I heard a second beep. However, I thought that I was just hearing things because I knew it wasn't my watch telling me that I had run another mile. So I kept going, and as I approached the Hawthorne Bridge, looked at my watch because I figured that it should've beeped for mile 2 by then. Wouldn't you know that the damn Garmin was displaying the "Lost Satellite Reception" message, and hadn't logged the last mile (est.) of my speed work (#garminfail). I restarted my Garmin, reset it, and continued with the workout.

Long story short, this workout turned into 3 miles w/u, 2 mi speed, restart Garmin, 4 more mi speed, and 3 mi c/d. (And yes, in case anyone's wondering, later in my workout, I re-ran that stretch where my Garmin cut out to try to guess how far it was...and it was about a mile.)

Estimated speed splits: 7:14, 7:17 (for 1.08 mi; this was the wonky lap), 7:04, 6:56, 6:50, 6:59

These splits definitely fell short of my target pace of 6:45-6:48. But I know that I gave this workout everything I had, because I was spent by the time those 6 miles were up.

Planned: Recovery 5
Actual: 4.17 mi at 7:59/mi pace

Planned: Long run 16 mi
Actual: 16.01 mi at 8:12/mi pace

I didn't get to do all of my grocery shopping yesterday, and knew that it'd be best to wait until finishing that to go running. What I didn't take into account was the fact that the forecasted high for today was 70º. Between the higher-than-usual temperatures, my still-tight quads, and this annoying sinus congestion I've had the last few days, this run may have been doomed from the get-go. But I told myself I wasn't going to get any closer to my goal by shirking out of a run.

I hadn't really planned a route, but I wanted to make sure I passed my house multiple times in case I needed to stop for water. (I brought a pack of Clif Shot Blocks, just in case I needed mid-run fuel.) Also, breaking up the run like that made 16 miles seem more bearable. So I did one 6 mi loop, a different 6 mi loop, and a 4 mi loop.

Around mile 3 (the turnaround point for loop #1), I saw Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens, which makes the effort (and the hill that preceded said view) a little more worthwhile. Shortly thereafter, I saw a vanity plate with "TNA MLT" printed on it (somebody clearly loves their tuna melts), and suddenly, a tuna melt sounded amazing. Other food cravings on this run: chips and guac (inspired by my local taqueria, which I passed at miles 6 and 12), pita and hummus (inspired by Nicholas, which I passed at miles 7 and 13), and cupcakes (inspired by the guy I saw between miles 14 and 15, who was sitting in Whole Foods eating one). Also, even though I love curry/Indian food, the smell of it while running is absolutely nauseating.

I didn't end up stopping for water (though I probably should have). I ate half the pack of Shot Blocks at mile 8 (and they never tasted better), and the other half at mile 13. Yes, I toughed it out. But does the saying "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?" ring true?

Planned total: 49 mi
Actual total: 49.45 mi

What mind games (if any) do you use to get yourself through a workout that you're not feeling?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Diving Back into Reality

I'm considering writing this recap the last part in "Operation Catch-up from Vacation." Not because this piled up during my trip, but because this sat on the back burner while I was working on everything that did pile up while I was away. That's one thing I hate about traveling. However, one thing that I love about traveling is that I get a chance to catch up on all of my magazines. During my flight home, I read this article by Dimity McDowell titled "How to be Epic." It's about McDowell's decision to do an Ironman, and the training that she did for it. While reading it, I couldn't help but wonder what'll come next after I accomplish my marathon goals. But that topic merits a post unto itself. After two posts (one and two) in as many days, I'll keep this one relatively short and succinct.

As far as tips of the week, I don't have much for you. BUT I do have something.

-Qdoba's chicken contains dairy. I learned this while traveling through Dallas on my way home, and trying to find something for lunch. Fortunately, they left their allergy menu on the counter, so I was spared any extra gastrointestinal discomfort on my flight home. But still, why do the seasonings for most of their meats contain whey? Oy. One reason why Chipotle ranks higher in my book.

-When traveling, research your dining options BEFORE you leave. The San Juan airport had nothing, except for a tacky airport bar that looked like it was straight out of the 60s (and was equipped with overpriced coffee and mediocre, unappealing breakfast options) and Cinnabon-type places.

-As I might've mentioned in last week's recap, my stomach was all out of whack by the time I left San Juan. So when I got back, I immediately jumped into my usual salad-a-day routine, and also threw in a smoothie-a-day (courtesy of the Nutribullet) in hopes of resetting my GI system. Within a few days, I was feeling better. Long story short, salad + smoothie = great reset button.

And onto the workouts!

Planned: rest or xt
Actual: hiking in the rainforest and paddle boarding

Planned: Lactate threshold 10 mi with 5 mi at 15K-HMRP
Actual: 4.05 mi interval work on the treadmill (1 mi warmup, 2 mi of 1 min on and 2 min off, 1 mi cooldown)

A recap of the last few days:
Sat - rest day/my friend's wedding (eat and drink way too much) 
Sun - recover from hangover/post-wedding brunch/walk around Old San Juan/hang out with the newlyweds and co. one last time (eat way too much; drink a little less than Sat)
Mon - hiking and ziplining in the rainforest/1 hour of paddle boarding (during which, a swift wind knocked me off of the board and into the salty lagoon) (eat too much; drink a little less than Sun) Tues (today) - spend 14.5 hours in transit to get back home, and 30 minutes after getting home, leave to go to the gym so I could run and get back into my routine. Today was 4 miles with interval work. 8 min warmup at 7.8-7.9 mph, 1 min at 9.3 mph, 2 min at 8.0 mph (x4), 1 min at 9.4 mph, 1 min at 8.0 mph, 1 min at 9.5 mph, and 6 min cooldown at 7.9-8.1 mph. Happy I did this.

Planned: Recovery 4
Actual: Recovery 5.02 mi

Meant to drag myself out of the house by 6. Didn't leave until 6:20. Oops. And I can't even use jet lag as an excuse, because the time zone I came from is 3 hours ahead of here. Also, last week I was running in 80º temps, and today, it was 44º. Ugh. Anyway, my legs felt a little tight on this run, which worries me a bit for the Bridge to Brews 10K. Perhaps I should foam roll tonight (and set a reminder in my calendar to do so). Got to run into the sunrise for part of this run -- hues of pink amidst the blue sky. Delightful. Also, my inner fat kid couldn't stop thinking about mofongo. I must find it in Portland. Maybe there's a food cart devoted to Puertorican cuisine?

Splits: 7:54, 8:05, 7:44, 7:21, 7:16, 6:18 (for 0.02)

Planned: Medium long run 11 mi
Actual: Rest

I can't remember why I justified using this as a rest day, aside from my happy hour plans with my coworker (that we rescheduled once or twice beforehand).

Planned: Rest or xt
Actual: 6.03 mi

I waited until after work and picking up my B2B race materials to do this run. I don't know what it was, but I just wasn't feeling this run. It was one of those, "I feel thirsty and want water, and also can't wait to get home and eat everything in my house" kind of runs. I think I was getting over the jet lag too. Argh. On the plus side, I didn't spend any of my time on vacation feeling jet lagged.

Planned: Recovery 5
Actual: Easy 4.04 mi with PFR

Kept this one fairly easy and relaxed because of tomorrow's race. Ran with my friends Richard and Daniel (Richard's running the Newport half, and Daniel's running the Newport full), and was able to have a conversation with them. Also got a side-five on this run. (Granted, it was a fellow PFR, but a side-five is still a side-five.) Nice, misty weather too -- not too hot or too cold.

Planned: 10K race (am); 11 mi (pm)
Actual: 1.09 mi warmup run to the race, 10K race, and 5.01 mi (pm)

Nothing noteworthy to share for the warmup run. Read this for my 10K recap. As far as the afternoon run goes, after I got home, I ate, cleaned my bathroom, and underestimated how much I didn't want to do those extra miles. But I eventually made my way out of the house with the intention of doing two 5M loops. However, my legs just weren't having it, so I ended up only doing one. I saw the ridiculous car with "The Christmas Story" leg sticking up from the roof (I saw this car during one of my long runs in September), and another car blaring rap music. I didn't think my neighborhood was a gangsta's paradise, but clearly, I've been proven wrong.

Planned total: 47 mi
Actual total: 31.52 mi

More miles than week 3, but still significantly off from the plan.

And with that, the Endurance mesocycle of the Pfitz plan has closed. Crazy to think that one whole mesocycle is down. Ahh! Next up: the Lactate Threshold plus Endurance mesocycle. Aka the "meat and potatoes of the Pfitz plan" (IMO). Aka the scarier portion of this whole training cycle. Stay tuned!

How long does it take you to get back into the swing of things after a trip (both for workouts and life)?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bridge to Brews 10K

I was going to lump this race recap into my week 4 training recap, but after typing it out for my dailymile followers, I decided it was worthy of its own post.

Bridge to Brews is one of the local races put on by Terrapin Events, and gets its name because it goes over the Fremont Bridge (the I-405 bridge; only race in Portland to cross it), and ends with beer (as most races in Portland do).

For those of you who don't want to read a slightly lengthy race recap:
Official time: 42:13 (6:48/mi pace) (5 second PR)
Place: 44/2,466 (8/126 in age group)

I heard about this race before I moved to Portland, and was told that I should run it because a, it ends with beer, and b, it's the only race here to go over a freeway bridge. I never signed up for 2012 and 2013, and so I signed up for the 2014 race. I signed up in January, and as luck would have it, my doctor put me on the GF diet a month later. I have to admit, I wondered why I signed up for this race if I wouldn't be able to enjoy those post-race brews. But in the end, it is (or in theory, should be) about the running and not the beer. Right?

Packet pick-up was at one of the Foot Traffic locations (for those of you outside of Portland, Foot Traffic is one of the specialty running shops here, and the one where I typically buy my running shoes), and it was a breeze. No joke, I was in and out of there in about five minutes.

After running to the start (and showing up about half an hour early), I met up with some of the other Frontrunners who were racing, and posed for a pre-race photo. I discovered that they were also offering post-race cider and wine, so my fears about not being able to enjoy post-race booze were squashed. We hung around for a bit, and made our way to the start. They did a staggered start based on anticipated pace. Unfortunately, due to the crowds, I couldn't make my way up to the 8:00 or faster wave for their start. However, I was able to get to the front of the 8:01-10:00 wave, so I didn't end up getting bottlenecked at the start. I wasn't sure what to expect from this, as I don't normally do 10Ks. (The last one I did was Pints to Pasta in 2012.) My ultimate goal for 10K is to break 40 minutes, but really, a simple PR would've made me happy.

During the first mile, two people passed me, but I passed a bunch of runners who started in the 8:00 or faster wave. I focused on running the tangents, and my watch beeped right at the mile 1 marker (split: 6:58). We made our way up and over the Fremont Bridge (super cool to run on a freeway overpass and get a spectacular view of the city). Some people stopped to get photos, but they were courteous and moved all the way over to the edge. I continued to pass people, including one who also decided to wear the Portland Marathon '09 shirt. (I had mine on, and decided to say, "Nice shirt!" as I passed her. She appreciated it.) My split for mile 2 was 6:44, which was a good confidence booster. Mile 3 brought us on a windy route through the Pearl and NW Portland. Generally flat; nothing too noteworthy to report (aside from passing one of the guys who passed me during mile 1). My split was 6:35, which convinced me that a PR was within reach.

During mile 4, I saw my friend Daniel, and got a couple side-fives from other runners making their way to the turnaround point. I also passed the other guy who passed me during mile 1. Remained on pace for a PR. During mile 5, we headed up the Broadway Bridge to go back to the east side. I always hate that hill on my training runs, and worried that it would ruin my chances of setting a PR. However, I kept passing people, and my mile 5 split was still faster than my PR pace. I just kept trucking along to make my way to the finish line, and was still feeling good (okay, I was ready to be done running, but I was still passing people). There was a small hill just before mile 6, and my first thought was, "You've got to be kidding me" (it reminded me of Mt. Roosevelt in the Chicago Marathon). After I hit the mile 6 marker, I noticed that I had about 1.5 minutes to go in order to PR. I just told myself to keep pushing. As I rounded the last turn and saw the finish line, I noticed that I had about 10 seconds before my PR chances were lost, and gunned it. And then I made it with 5 seconds to spare.

A couple minutes later, I saw Daniel (who had also PRed), and eventually, we reunited with the rest of the Frontrunners we saw before the race. We also saw Mark W. and my friend Jeff, which was a great surprise, as I had no idea either of them were running this race. We posed for post-race photos, got our awesome stainless steel beer/cider/wine cups, and got some free booze (I did wine, the rest of them did beer). I went to the results tent to see if they had the official results posted, and was shocked when I saw my name on the first page of race results. I think I got more of a rush from that than from setting a new PR. (Side note: My previous PR was from the 2012 P2P 10K, which is primarily downhill.)

Overall, I think this race was well-organized. Packet pick-up was so easy, and the staggered start was a nice way to ease congestion. The only thing that annoyed me was having to hang around the muddy park, because my PF3s got so muddy that I had to throw them in the washing machine when I got home. (Okay, maybe "had to" is an exaggeration. But there was no way they were going back in my closet dirty like that.) I also appreciated the fax that while the beer line had 50+ people, the wine line only had about five. I know having to wait in an obscenely long line for post-race beer frustrated some people, so maybe it'd help if they had an additional beer tent?  Either way. Am I glad I ran this race? Yes. Would I run this race again? I think so.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Training (or Not) While on Vacation

Please forgive my delay with my week 3 recap. I was on vacation, and have only now caught up with everything. Now where was I?

Lovely, charming San Juan, PR! One of my dear friends got married, and they decided to have a destination wedding. So I decided to make an extended vacation out of it. Did I enjoy myself? Yes. Did I cheat on my diet? Yes. Did my stomach hate me by the end of the trip? OH yes! Just a few things I learned about training on vacation:

-Recharge your batteries. That is why you went on holiday in the first place, right?

-Shorten your runs and use the extra time for other activities. And no, I'm not referring to eating and boozing (though my stomach and liver got quite the workout). I went hiking and ziplining through a rainforest, and also tried paddle boarding (which was all fun and games until a swift wind knocked me into the salty lagoon). 

It'll take about 12 days of inactivity for your VO2 max to decrease by about 7% (thank you, NCSF CPT class for that lesson), so a couple days of shortened runs will barely affect your fitness levels. But if you're really worried...

-Vary your workouts. Near a beach? Run barefoot in the sand? Near a mountain? Do some hill repeats. (Note: I didn't try any of these while I was there. But it sounds like a great idea, right?)

-Use running as an excuse to explore. I let my running take me to Old San Juan, as I wanted to see that while I was there. (Had I gone in a different direction, I would've seen Isla Verde. But oh well.) And on my route to Old San Juan, I discovered the paddle boarding place.

-Beat the heat, if at all possible. I stupidly tried doing a 7 miler in 80-degree tropical heat that I wasn't used to. And it turned into a 2x3.5 miler with a 10 min walking break.

-Compression socks on long flights are awesome. Going there, my flights were 1.5, 4, and 5 hrs. I put them on before my 4 hr flight, and took them off before my 5 hr flight touched down. Coming home, I put them on before we took off from San Juan, and took them off before we landed in Portland. I think that helped keep my legs feeling fresher. 

And now, onto the workout recaps:

Planned: rest or xt
Actual: rest

Planned: GA + speed 8 mi with 10x100 m strides
Actual: GA 8.15 mi + 10 x 1 block strides

I didn't look at my watch once during this. The reason for that was because it was dark out for 6 of these 8 miles, and so I couldn't see it without turning on the light (and why bother doing that)? Anyway, 51º degrees at the start -- shorts! Who cares if it were raining? It was peaceful, and I didn't have to stop my Garmin once. Huzzah! Finished this off with 10x(1 block) strides. 

Splits: 7:44, 8:06, 7:41, 7:26, 7:22, 7:31, 7:17, 7:11, 6:53 (for 0.15)

Planned: Recovery 4 mi
Actual: An obscenely long walk across SFO with 35+ lbs of luggage to make my connection

Okay, so maybe I should've used "having to get on a plane that evening" as an excuse to do this workout. But instead, I used it as an excuse to do last minute packing for my trip and go into work early.

My flight arrived in the international terminal of SFO, and my connection was departing from T2. The two are on opposite ends of the airport. I had to leave security, walk about 20 minutes, exit the airport altogether, re-enter the airport, and go through security again. Thank God my layover was 3 hours.

Planned: MLR 11 mi
Actual: Jet lag shakeout 4.09 mi

After 19 hours of being in transit (train, planes, and cab), I just wanted a good shakeout run. And a chance to explore PR. I must've been antsy because this was faster than it should've been (given the intense heat and how long I was cooped up). Everything was fine until mile 3.5, when I rolled my left ankle on the sidewalk. Feels better now (though not 100%), so hopefully, it was minor. Stay tuned. 

Splits: 7:28, 7:29, 7:22, 7:17, 7:06 (for 0.09)

Planned: Rest or xt
Actual: 3.15 mi, walk for 10 min, 3.58 mi

This was a run of minor annoyances. First, my foot. Then that gave way to my stomach (I think the crab mofongo and the couple drinks wanted to make an encore). Then the heat got to me. Removing my shirt didn't help either. So I stopped my watch at a charming little lighthouse for a photo op, and then walked up to this old fort (walk not included here). 

Splits: 8:10, 8:21, 8:41, 9:05 (for 0.15 mi)

So I had two options. I could've walked back, or I could've run back. I was a bit pressed for time, so I ran. This was a bit better than going there (thank God for downhills) but still tough. It was so windy. (Actually, it's been so windy here that I think San Juan should take the title of "The Windy City" from Chicago. 

Splits: 8:33, 8:17, 7:56, 7:46 (for 0.58)

Planned: Recovery 4 mi
Actual: Rest

I decided to enjoy a day of my vacation without worrying about running. That and I was kind of hungover from Friday night (rehearsal dinner with open bar will do that to you). So I got coffee and lounged by the pool until it was time to go to the wedding (and subsequently, another open bar).

Planned: MLR 16 mi
Actual: Lengthy walk through Old San Juan

I'm not sure if that counts as extensive activity, so I'm going to go with yes. Even though it certainly doesn't offset the two nights of open bars, plus the hangover brunch, plus the lunch at the place that Googling "sketchy Puerto Rican food joint San Juan" turned up.

Planned total: 43 mi
Actual total: 18.97 mi

Did you wonder what happened to me because I didn't post a recap last week?