Sunday, January 26, 2014

Boston Training Week 6

Much has been made of the cold weather that seems to be gripping everywhere east of the Mississippi this winter.

Of course this also coincides with my first spring marathon since 2001, just as the last fall marathon I did happened after an epic bad summer even for NC standards.  Living on the extremes seems to be the new 'normal' I guess.  It was 13 on Friday morning, but I always remind myself, if it is this bad here - it is always much worse somewhere else.  -2 in Boone.  -22 in Mount Washington NH this morning, with a wind chill of negative 71).  Ok, so we don't have it so bad after all.

That being said, day after day of sub-freezing lows begins to wear.  Waking early is harder.  Getting outside after work in the dark is harder.  I remind myself 'harder' is not impossible.  I looked ahead at a 50+ mile week and was going to get the miles in one way or another.

For what it's worth I've learned a few things...

  • Mittens work better than gloves (I should be thanking my sister-in-law daily for the "GO USA" Sochi mittens received as a XMas present... they seemed kitschy at the time but have received tons of mileage this winter...)
  • Even with mittens, those hand held water bottles aren't such a great idea on a 20 degree morning.  Maybe those fuel belts actually serve some purpose other than ultras or running through the desert.  But damn I hate those things...
  • Tights are a necessity, and running in shorts at a certain temperature is ridiculous - maybe it's time to get another pair, but I've never needed more than one...

I am sure these "revelations" seem obvious to those who have trained through a harsh winter more often.  This is new to me, even after 18 years of running.  The last time I remember being this cold was when I lived in DC, and I sure wasn't training for marathons back then.  After training to deal with this set of elements, I'm sure the weather in Boston on April 21 will be a glorious 80 degrees.  Nothing I can do about that other than scrap the idea of a PR, take it easy, and try to soak in the whole experience on a warm spring day.

Week 6:

Monday:  8 miles at Duke on MLK Day.  I had the day off and it was 60(!) degrees - anything less than 8 would have been wasting the day.

Tuesday:  5 miles, some on ATT at dusk, finished on treadmill watching ESPN.  Peyton Manning.  Richard Sherman.  Super Bowl in New York (no, it's New Jersey!) was a bad idea.  Blah blah blah.

Wednesday:  9 miles at UNC total, interval workout of 2 sets of 800-800-400 with 1 minute recoveries and 1 full lap jog between sets.  I hit the 800s in 2:51-2:55 and the 400s just under 80.  Then closed with an 800 'as fast as possible' around 2:40.

Thursday:  5 miles again on ATT

Friday:  rest

Saturday:  7 miles at Eno.  I wanted a tempo type run but I feared losing my sanity having to do another ATT run and I took advantage of the weekend to sleep in, which meant missing the parkrun.  So I did the Cox Mountain loop 'hard' this afternoon, which I knew would be slow going, and yes after a 8:30+ first mile I was sucking wind hard.  Going downhill is not much quicker on the single track and along the rocky river.  I missed the Eno Equalizer this year which is probably fine since the wacky handicapping would have really disadvantaged me this year.

Then I hopped over to Holden Mill to meet Ronnie W to join him on one of his 10 loops... which led me to question his sanity and my morals as a person as an 'enabler'.  He was feeling ill and made the wise decision to call it early after 4, which is 3 more than I would want to do on that gnarly trail (some parts involve scrambling up rocks).  As I mentioned last week, the single track is not my friend, but after a week of my usual haunts, it was good to try something different.

One of the tougher "5K" runs in the Triangle

Sunday:  17 miles on the ATT.  Longest run of the training cycle so far.  I started with some of the faster BCTC guys.  I knew early on they were running too fast for me to ever hope to finish 16+ I had hoped for, so after 4 miles or so I wisely joined up with another part of our group going a more reasonable pace.  They didn't seem to mind so I went the next 8 'easy' with them, which worked out well because I knew I could always choose to pick it up over the last 5, which I did (closed miles 12-16 around target race pace).  At this point, I just need to get the miles, and if some of those miles need to be in the 8+ range to finish the workout, that is fine.  Speed is not my issue, endurance is.

Admittedly, as much as I enjoy running, anything more than 14 or so and I start to lose patience.  This is why I have never ventured into the ultras, I guess.  Having people to run with make the long runs tolerable for me.  I could have easily slept in and pushed the run to the afternoon to do on my own when it was warmer, but I was glad to get it finished early.  The reward was the largest donut on the menu at Rise (an apple fritter the size of my head) and being able to nap the rest of the morning (thank you Megan).

Total:  51 miles

So one 16+ mile run and 50+ mile week down... a few more of these left to go...

Song of the week

Lucius - Hey Doreen

One step at a time,

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