Berlin Marathon Training: Week One

Well, sure, how about we give this a go?

Monday: Official marathon training run No. 1: a 3-mile run/walk (3 minutes run/1 minute walk) around the Panhandle on a cool, sunny morning. I’d spent Saturday at a beer festival and Sunday evening sweating out some of the hops on a 20-mile bike ride, and I didn’t think about the fact that the ride plus the PT exercises I did after would put less than 12 hours between workouts — normally not a huge deal, but when I’m trying to be slow and cautious, I should probably actually be slow and cautious.

Tuesday: In the morning, I skipped a scheduled bike ride in favor of the bonus recovery I neglected to give myself between Sunday and Monday. (What? It doesn’t work that way? Shush.) In the evening, 90 minutes of vinyasa yoga.

Wednesday: Another 3-mile walk/run, this one at 4 minute run/1 minute walk intervals. PT stuff at night.

Thursday: In the morning, pool-run fail (about which, incidentally, it appears I am close to getting on the “approved for floatation devices” list, so yay, and also, still, WTF?) and 1400 yards of rage-fueled swimming. In the evening, about an hour of bouldering. Brief climbing nerdery: Bouldering problems are rated on a scale from V0 to V16. (V16 is insane; I think my gym usually tops out at V10.) When I was going regularly, I could climb V1s and occasionally finish some types of V2s after much effort/trial-and-error. Since going more sporadically, V0s and easier V1s are my wheelhouse. My gym has now added a grade below the official grades (VB), which, on the one hand, is awesome, because it means there are plenty of easier routes for scaredy-boulderers like me … and, on the other hand, means that I have to recalibrate, because an easier V0 is now a VB and an easier V1 is now a V0, etc. Once I realized this, I felt particularly badass for completing the one V1 I did finish; I spent most of my time working through some 0s.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Five-mile run/walk, 4 minutes run/1 minute walk intervals. I planned to go four miles, but there’s not a four-mile route near my house that I particularly like, so I decided to take the train a little ways into Golden Gate Park and run some terrain I rarely run. I had it in my head that I’d start at Stow Lake, run around Spreckles Lake (a mini-lake best known for people running elaborate remote-controlled boats in it), and then head back, running until I hit the four-mile mark and walking back to the train as a cool-down. Obviously not quite how it went down; for one thing, Stow Lake and Spreckles Lake are further apart than I remembered, and for another, I hardly ever run at Stow Lake and have no idea how to navigate it. “Just run around the outside,” you might think, but it’s slightly more complicated (or at least it is if you have no sense of direction and winding paths throw off whatever sliver of orientation you might have been able to muster):

So, anyway, I was already at 4 miles when I got to the sign for Stow Lake on the return. But I was feeling great, and I figured getting back to my starting point wouldn’t be more than another half-mile, and 4.5 won’t kill me, and blah blah. And then somehow I was on a gravel path I’d never seen before, and then I was on a spray of flat rocks, and then I realized that while I might not know where I was, I knew what it wasn’t was the right place. I also had a monster blister on my right arch, and I allowed my running brain to take over for my rational brain and say, “You’ll find your way out faster if you just keep running.” I finally recognized my surroundings at just over 5 miles and walked it up to the train stop from there.

… at which point I discovered that the next train was in 23 minutes. So that’s how a four-mile run/walk became a five-mile run/walk with an extra 1.5 miles of walking at the end of it. See above re: slow and cautious.

Sunday: 13-ish mile bike ride through the park, down the Great Highway, and back. I’m having a hard time getting motivated to ride my bike while not training for anything; it takes so long to get out of the house that I see an hour ride as the absolute minimum, but I only know one ride of that length that I can do from my door, and it’s also a large part of my regular running route, so I know it a little too well. I realize I have the great privilege of being able to live in a city and ride anywhere substantial from my door, but man, knowing I’ll be going 8 mph through the Wiggle and then dodging kids in the park and riding into a stiff headwind and then navigating sand moguls along the ocean piles up into a giant heap of dread. I always like it once I’m out, but it’s been a struggle to get into the headspace where I can ride and enjoy it. (And I clearly need to do more long, not-from-my-door rides on the weekends.)

On the plus side, I get to see things like these dramatic clouds blowing northwest out of the city. And then I realize I really need to stop all my damn whining.

Week One Totals:

  • 11 miles walk/run
  • Two lifeguards almost snapped at
  • One pair of shoes discarded
  • One nasty blister
  • Five episodes of Chuck watched while doing PT exercises, MYRTL-ing, and foam rolling
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