Thursday, February 20, 2014

Since Last We Met

Finally getting over a tummy bug that moved through the house, one person at a time. And for some reason I got it last (and worst). The worst of it was over within a few days, but my appetite and digestion continued to stay off for a while and I'm still hesitant to consume anything exciting (coffee / dark chocolate / beer, sigh). It made things interesting as I tried to figure out how to continue training for my birthday challenge next week, first in resuming exercise at all and then in how to properly fuel myself in light of my tender tummy!

Yesterday's long run was crazy. We've had some big melting days here and the sidewalks are treacherous. Much worse than anything I've encountered all winter. Canyons of deep, cold, slushy water on top of ice. After an hour or so I gave up trying to keep my feet halfway dry and just ran through the standing water. The first half of my run was at a 14 minute pace (my usual slow/long run pace is 11:15/mile) as I was running on sidewalks, not all evenly shoveled, and unplowed park paths. But I was on my way into work and feeling anxious about time, so once I hit the lakefront I hammered it the rest of the way in. And then spent the rest of the day with sore legs. They're fine today though.

I've started incorporating speedwork again, first time since before the marathon. It's amazing how powerful it makes me feel, like I can accomplish anything. I didn't know what paces to set for myself so I used my time from last year's Ravenswood Run 5K to get paces from the Runners' World SmartCoach program, and have been working up to them within a session. So for example, this week, the program had me running four half-mile repeats at a 8:36 pace. I did my first round at a 9:05 pace and then steadily increased my pace with each repeat until my last one was at a 8:30 pace. This has been really helpful. I have a bad habit on the treadmill of going too fast too soon and then having to back off considerably (and end feeling disappointed), but by deliberately starting off at a slower pace I've been avoiding that and have instead ended feeling confident! I've also seen over the last three weeks that my speed is coming back more quickly than I'd thought, so I can start being more aggressive with my pacing again.

I've been reading Matt Fitzgerald's "The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition". I know my performance with my two marathons suffered greatly because of inadequate fueling so this year I've been making it a priority to make sure I'm doing better. This is essential to get on top of if I'm going to move into ultras. I've been trying hard to consume more during my long runs (not easy since I don't like gels which are the most compact fuel, but I'm working on it), and know I need to do more with my pre-run fueling as well, hence the book. I'll let you know if I find it helpful. I already own his book "Racing Weight", which I think is sound, but everytime I've read it in the past I get fixated on losing weight more quickly than I should and then that derails my training. That's my own head stuff, not his book. But anyway I like the approach of this new one better.

The Goo is still struggling with sleep but things have improved, thank goodness. Everybody's happier when we're all getting more sleep.

It's raining steadily today - I'm not looking forward to the sidewalks tomorrow - and then it will freeze again. What a winter. But I'm so grateful the low temps will be in the 20s and not the teens (or below). I like not having to turn on the space heaters at home. And having use of our dishwasher!



  1. Thanks for that book link; I'll be looking into it!

    Running in snow/slush sounds like beach running. It counts for double!

    I love speedwork too. I always feel invincible and amazing afterward, like I did something truly great for my body. Slow runs are good for my mind, but speedy runs make me feel alive!

  2. You read Runner's World, right? Do you remember the interview with the comedian a few months back? It was the "I'm a Runner" page in the very back. He said, "I'm mad at running because it doesn't let me eat whatever I want." And the day I realized that... I was very sad. Fueling a running body is so much harder than just throwing junk in the tank and assuming it'll all get burned the same way.

    I'll also be checking out that book. Nutrition is a long-term project in our house!

    Also- I totally empathize with that cold wet feeling of a foot breaking through ice to get soaked through with freezing water. Dang! Can we find water-proof shoes? You rock for not letting this weather stop you!!!