I’m late in posting, but this week has felt largely like a rehash of last week. It’s been pretty much run, bike, swim, snow, ice, slush, repeat.
To further the déjà vu, last Thursday’s tempo run was the same as the previous week–1 easy, 5 at 7:49 pace, 1 easy–with no evening workout. Friday was a cardio rest day, but I did strength training in the morning. Saturday I usually do an easy run for my morning workout, but was eager to get back in the pool to continue working the drills from this week’s swim class. After 45 minutes in the pool my stroke was feeling great, and I believe I also isolated the cause of my swimming endurance problem. It’s a minor detail, but it seems that I’m not actually inhaling in any meaningful way when I breathe. I’m not really sure what to do about it yet, but acceptance is the first step, right?
After Saturday’s swim I had a light lunch and then hit the trainer for my first aerobic-targeted workout on Trainer Road. It was 90 minutes of easy-ish spinning, and other than getting a bit saddle sore, it really wasn’t bad. I had some errands to run and a pile of laundry to do, so the rest of the afternoon was quickly consumed with that. I went to the Murder By Death concert Saturday evening with Long Run Buddy, which was super fun, but also had us out way too late. LRB had a 5K in the morning and I needed to get the Caveboy off to the airport and then bang out a 15-mile run. 5:30 AM came around much too early. For the run I planned to run a loop of Central Park, then cut west to the Hudson River path and run south, over the Brooklyn Bridge, and back home. It was the closest I could approximate the NYC Half course without the street closures, and I figured having the bridge climb at the end of the run would be a good challenge. Per my training schedule I was aiming for 8:30 pace, which was faster than I’d run any of my long runs so far, and 15 miles was the longest I had run since the Brooklyn Marathon back in November, so I was a teensy bit very nervous about this one. I’d checked the weather the day before and it showed pretty perfect coditions–clear skies and a high of 40, so I threw on tights, a long sleeved race shirt, my Ice Breaker hoodie (love!), gloves, and my sunglasses and hopped on the subway to Central Park.
The park definitely felt colder than 40 degrees and the sky looked a bit ominous, but I was undaunted. I started out the run feeling great. I was light and fast and it was inconceivable I would ever get tired. My pace slowed on the Harlem Hills more than I would have liked—and I say “my pace slowed” and not “I slowed my pace” because I felt like I was still running fast. It’s just that I wasn’t. Still, I cruised down the back side of the hills and pushed through the rolling stretch that makes up the north west section of the loop. By the time I exited the park at Columbus Circle and headed for the Hudson River path it had started to snow and I was having to stay focused to maintain the 8:30’s. The river path is flat and I hoped that once I dialed the pace in it wouldn’t be too hard to maintain. Other than stopping for a few quick photo ops of the frozen Hudson I did manage to cruise along, roughly on pace. I knew I’d lose some time and momentum when I cut across the island to the bridge though, and predictably, the climb there felt hard. What I had not predicted was the ½” of snow that had fallen in the time it took me to get from Central Park to the bridge. The pedestrian section of the bridge is basically a wooden boardwalk, so in addition to dodging oblivious tourists taking selfies I was also slipping on every step. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see a concrete running surface as when I reached solid ground on the Brooklyn side. Happily, the downhill stretch (or proximity to home) gave me a second wind, and I was able to bring in the last couple of flat miles at 8:15’s. It was a welcome surprise when I checked the Garmin and saw my average pace was an 8:34. I arrived back home cold, chapped, and wind burned, and was grateful for a hot shower.
I cleaned up, made lunch, and was feeling good until my digestive system suddenly decided to go on strike. I don’t think it had anything to do with the run necessarily—my stomach had felt fine the whole time I was out. I curled up on the couch for an hour, but I still had a bunch of chores to get done before I was back to work on Monday. Other than a headache and the tummy troubles I didn’t actually feel terrible, so I decided just to power through it as much as I could. Of course, the problem was that I needed to get some calories and hydration back into me, and that was proving to be a challenge. After several hours, lots of tea, and a couple of yogurt and kefir cocktails, I felt a bit better. I got the important stuff on my to-do list done and did manage to eat a small dinner without repercussions. I probably only ended up at net 500 calories on the day, if that, and went to bed at 9.
I woke up Monday morning tired, hungry, and fighting what I used to refer to in college as my “tired sore throat.” I would get it without fail if I pulled a couple of all-nighters during finals, and now it’s become my red flag that I’m overtraining and getting run down. Once again, I skipped my Monday morning strength training in favor of more sleep. Tuesday I felt much better and the 5×1000 intervals went off without a hitch, so I’m chalking up the Monday fail to lack of sleep and calories. We had yet another snow/freezing rain/regular rain event yesterday, so getting to swim class was a bit of a swim in itself. Class was mostly kick drills and one-arm pulling, which felt weird and awkward and I kept forgetting to breathe (more so than usual). Then I’d remember about the breathing when my lungs started screaming and completely forget that I was supposed to be paying attention to my arm position, which was unfortunate since that was the whole point of the awkward endeavor. This morning I upgraded myself to the medium lane and still ran into feet, so something must be working.