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?


  1. Ugh, sometimes my Garmin is the bane of my running existence, too...much like stoplights here. I hear ya. And the balance stuff is super tricky. My balance is with family/running, with the whole SAHM status I'm rocking, and I try to just minimize the impact it has on family life...usually by running predawn and then logging my runs/blogging/DMing/whatever at times that are minimally intrusive (like nap time). It doesn't always work out that way, but dammit if I don't try! So excited we're halfway there .... Whoooooa!!! And finally, hope your birthday rocked!!

    1. Oh man, how could I forget about stoplights too! And while we're at it, let's throw Amtrak trains onto that list.

      Glad to hear that I'm not the only one struggling with balance. I feel as though we'll never have *perfect* harmony, but we can always shoot for that and get nearly perfect. Right? Kind of like you, I've taken to logging my runs/blogging/DM at more convenient times (e.g., on the bus to work, right before bed). Now it's just a matter of the running itself.

      And I totally thought of that song when I was typing this recap! One of my favorites for a marathon mix -- so long as it's playing at the 13.1 mile mark. ;)

      Lastly, thanks so much! Rockin' birthday indeed (as reflected through Twitter, FB, IG, and such). :)