This was the week that playlists came back.
Until now, I haven’t needed more than one podcast or the same eight songs that have been on my Shuffle since March to get through my miles. But with my total running time topping four hours this week, I finally had cause to spend some quality time with iTunes. Right now I’m binging on WTF with Mark Maron interviews; why run alone when you can run with Amy Poehler?
This was also the week that double digits came back. I liked my PT’s suggestion of taking a cutback week soonish, but I also didn’t want to lose any of the milestone runs (16, 18, 20, 22) on my training plan for August and September. The best option seemed to be bumping my next three long run distances up; I’ve been feeling good enough that one or two more miles per week really shouldn’t wreck me. (Shouldn’t doesn’t mean won’t, but I’ve been so conservative until now that I’m hopeful.) So I ran 10 miles on Saturday instead of my planned nine, cementing my belief that I really shouldn’t even bother putting a nine-miler on a training plan, because I’ll never run it anyway.
Ten miles is my favorite distance, and it’s also the last distance I ran before the whole Sparkle Leg injury fiasco, so I was nervous — actually nervous! — about this run. I expected everything to go wrong, or maybe more accurately, I expected everything to seem to go right but then I’d wake up on Sunday with some new debilitating injury. But I did my best to relax once I actually got on the road, and my body seems to have responded by remaining in one piece. My right IT band is a little tight — actually, the left one seems tighter, but it doesn’t tend to yell at me like the right one does — but I’m spending lots of time torturing it and my cats with the foam roller and it felt good on this morning’s run. I’m being mindful of it without freaking out.
Also of note this week was spending Sunday afternoon volunteering at my tri club’s aid station at the Vineman 70.3. A bunch of my TAG teammates went on to train for Vineman post-Wildflower, and it was a blast to see them come through. This was my first race volunteering experience, and in the words of one of my fellow volunteers, I like cowbell-ing at least as much as racing. My shift started right as the bulk of the pack was coming through, and for the first 90 minutes I barely saw anything besides the tops of the water cups I was filling. But as things got a little calmer and people came through in groups of 10 and 20 rather than 50+, we turned our attention to cheering our faces off. It was a hot day, and some people were feeling rough, and I know there’s only so much that ice and pretzels and shot bloks can fix, but we did what we could. My favorite part was that, because of the long out-and-back in the middle of the run, we saw a bunch of the same runners after we had closed our station and they were several miles further along — and then saw them again as we drove past the finish. And um. You know. It just fanned the flames of certain triathlon desires.
But that’s for later. Here’s now.
Monday: Rest. Semi-unplanned, but we didn’t walk in the door until after midnight and my body was still on Chicago time.
Tuesday: Four miles through the Panhandle and just into the park. I always dread four-milers; adding one mile to this route also adds four stoplights, and this is the least stoplight-y route I can access from my door. I’ll be happy to bump my weekday mileage up again just to avoid this. A glorious return to yoga at night, during which I almost fell asleep in pigeon pose.
Wednesday: In the morning, 40 minutes of pool-running and a few hundred yards of swimming. The lifeguard knows my name now. Progress?
Thursday: Five miles of remembering why I prefer morning runs. I slept in and figured, hey, that’s fine, I’ll just run after work, work means I’m closer to my favorite five-mile route anyway, no big deal. Right, except my stomach hates when I run after a day of eating, so this was more like run 3.5 comfortable miles / spend the next .5 mile frantically tugging on the doors of various (locked) ferry terminals / alternately sprint and shuffle toward a Fisherman’s Wharf public bathroom / jog back.
Friday: Bonus rest day to flip my schedule back to normal after travel weeks.
Saturday: Ten miles. TEN miles. TEN MILES. I kept telling myself to take it slow, and easy, and easier — “stupid-easy” was the actual phrase. Pete and I ran the first five together, then he took the longer route back from the ocean and I headed back solo (though Pete later caught me about a mile from home). It’s still weird for me to celebrate slow splits instead of “fast” ones, but I ended up at 10:13/mile average, with all but one very downhill mile over 10. I should keep inching that slower as my runs get longer, but I’m a person with approximately three gears — sprinting, normal running, walking — so as long as it feels “stupid-easy,” I’m going to believe it’s right.
Sunday: An early bike ride around Lake Merced, 21 miles total. The wind was awful on the way out, but I knew — in that way you come to know when wind has been your nemesis throughout your rookie cycling season — that if I could just stick it out, the tailwind on the way home would feel amazing. I always think I’ll like riding around Lake Merced more than I do — it’s more crowded than I expect, even early, and there’s so much “on your left”-ing — but it’s a nice long-ish loop that requires no driving and minimal prep, so I really don’t have much to whine about.
Week Five by the Numbers
- 19 miles run, plus four more “run” in the pool
- 21 miles biked
- Two loaves of pumpkin bread baked
- Six episodes of WTF listened to
- Two or three alarms slept through
- (Only) one tank top bought at the GapFit sale, an exercise in restraint