I started this week of Berlin Marathon training nervous that it was going to be an injury-filled disaster. I ended it with one of the most delightful and well-executed long runs of my life. Week six, I want to hug you.
Backing up: My right IT band started feeling tight, but not stabby, during last weekend’s 10-miler. One of my problems with running injuries over the years is that I don’t get (or don’t properly interpret) many warning signs, so noticing the tightness was sort of a relief, because then I could make a plan. Said plan: lots of ice, lots of rolling, bonus PT exercises, and planning my routes so that I had plenty of escape hatches if the stabby pain showed up. I ended the week with no new pain and all of my miles, so I think I’ve got a maintenance plan going forward.
And hell, I will replace my couch with a pile of foam rollers* if it means every long run can feel as good as Saturday’s. Twelve miles through Golden Gate Park and along the ocean, each one feeling easier than the last. I focused on starting conservatively, because of the distance and the hills from miles 7-10, and by the end I was consciously holding back. Granted, the last few miles are downhill, but sometimes that can be its own kind of torture when I’m tired. This was a run where if someone had stopped me as I turned for home and said, “Just kidding! You have to run three more miles!” I would have done so gladly.
*My couch is not very comfortable. A pile of foam rollers would almost certainly be an upgrade.
This weekend brings the San Francisco half marathon — a probable Personal Worst, which is fine by me — as part of a 14-mile day. The next two weekends are most likely a cutback week and another half-as-training-run in the middle of a 16-miler, but the order is TBD until after San Francisco. (I’m trying my new Zen approach to race registration.) The summer is flying; our RSVPs for our gazillion September weddings are sent, and I need to hustle on renewing my passport — actually stopped in the middle of writing this to call AAA to make sure they take photos — so I can, you know, get to Berlin. It’s all happening!
As for the week that was:
Monday: In the morning, five miles (three in the Panhandle, two in the Mission). My legs felt like tree trunks, but a little tweak to a couple of my regular routes made the miles tick by quickly, and I was glad to be able to keep going when I passed my apartment at mile 3. PT stuff at night.
Tuesday: In the morning, 1200 yards of swimming (some drills, then alternating 200 pull/200 swim, and a 100 for time at the end). Vinyasa yoga in the evening.
Wednesday: Five miles along the Embarcadero, feeling like I was waking up a little more with every one. Not planned as a progression run; was one anyway.
Friday: 45 minutes of morning pool-running during which I met the other pool-runner!(!!) We split a lane and chatted for about half of my “run.” I remain overly excited about this. Quick PT exercises after work.
Saturday: 12.1 lovely miles in 2:04. Splits ranged from 9:54 to 10:35; this route is 2 miles uphill/3 miles downhill/2 miles flat/3 miles uphill/2 miles downhill, so not great for even pacing but good for practicing steady effort. Lovely weather, great soundtrack (This American Life, Firewall and Iceberg, and RadioLab), and just a very comfortable run all around. No reason for it, either: I botched breakfast and ate something I’d never eaten for this distance, didn’t get a ton of sleep, and drank a strong beer just before midnight the night before, not exactly the classic recipe for an awesome long run.
Stuff nobody but me will care about: It was a sunny and warm (… for San Francisco) day. I took my 10-ounce handheld bottle with half a Nuun tab and sipped on it over the first nine miles, then refilled at the fountain on top of The Awful Hill (hill #3 of 4 on the return leg) and drained all 10 ounces over the next three miles — which probably means I should have been drinking more earlier. Ate a ThinkThin bar before leaving home and nibbled on a peanut butter Gu (new flavor for me; I like it!) starting around mile 6. Other than the water stop and one quick bathroom stop around mile 5, everything felt smooth. Even The Awful Hill didn’t feel so awful, and I’m thinking that might be my triathlon fitness paying off, because even after months of relatively little running, my endurance seems steady.
Sunday: Morning bike through the park and around Lake Merced, same loop as last week only slower. One of those rides where I was Just Not Feeling It. Did not want to fight with the wind, did not want to stop at the stoplights, did not want to yell “on your left,” did not want to ride in city traffic. Went anyway, figuring Penelope deserved her weekly care and feeding, but then spent the better part of 90 minutes feeling ragey. In retrospect, I maybe should have gone for a swim. PT stuff after the ride.
Week Six by the Numbers
- 22 miles run
- 21 miles biked
- 20 minutes spent talking the other pool runner’s ear off
- $9 spent on laundry, most of which seemed to be running clothes
- 1 pair of shoes temporarily(?) shelved. Trances, you’re just not working right now.
- Three late-fall races bookmarked while I try not to get ahead of myself.