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 70ยบ. 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?


  1. Heyyyyy that looks familiar!! :) excellent week, my friend. And yes, absolutely, big fan of the mind games. Whatever it takes. I'm especially fond of naming the countries of the world in A-Z order. I can do it fairly quickly now, so then I'll think of cities, authors, musicians, etc :)

    1. E! I just realized that I never replied to this comment. Unless the fact that I told you via DM that I utilized your advice (by naming the US states and capitals) counts. :) Regardless, solid advice! Thanks so much!