Winter Basebuilding: Week 6

09spr-base-06This week’s watchword was “endurance.”

Five out of eight sessions were done by necessity on the treadmill, and that took a lot of mental endurance, given how long some of those runs were. Doing two runs on Christmas also took no small measure of endurance, especially since my outside world was a frozen hinterland populated by crazed Christmas morning drivers.

I even managed to take a spill and bash my hip and elbow, which had nothing to do with snow, ice or bad drivers. I tripped on an uneven sidewalk panel. That was pretty silly. At least it happened toward the end of the run. I took the second run of Christmas day inside, since I figured I’d already pushed my luck and was fortunate to have come out of that encounter with gravity unscathed.

One unfortunate aspect of running on the treadmill (aside from the boredom, the noise, and having to smell myself) is that I’m still too chicken to attempt very fast running on it. I skipped Wednesday’s planned 20 second strides, since the treadmill takes about 10 seconds to get up to speed anyway, by which time I’m already fiddling with the controls so I can stop the belt lest it propel me through the back wall of our guest room.

It was for this reason that I also went rogue on my training on Friday, when the plan called for 12 repeats of 45 seconds at 2M effort, with 90 second rests. 2M pace is about 6:15 for me now. Since 45 seconds isn’t that much longer than a stride, I decided to again forgo the dangers of fiddling with controls while trying not to get thrown off the back of a high speed conveyor belt. I compromised and instead did six 90 second repeats at 5K effort, with 90 second rests.

I was so sick of the treadmill that I moved the run outside on Saturday, where I was met with a still-frozen over running path. So I did about three miles on the roads, then moved to the path and ran through the slush and ice alongside the iced over path. That was like running in sand, and I felt the effort’s effects on today’s 18 miler: the stabilizing muscles in my inner thighs, hips and ankles all asserted themselves this morning. I won’t run in snow again.

As for the long run today, that was also a tough one, owing to the now-familiar winter winds. In shorts and a tee shirt (62 degrees, in December!) I did two repeats of a six mile loop through Scarsdale and White Plains, during which I was pummeled by a steady 7-10mph headwind (with gusts up to 15mph) for all the north-to-south sections. I’d forgotten how hilly that loop is, so I then decided to move the run onto the running path (since the very warm temps overnight melted most of the snow and ice away). I thought that perhaps being on a tree-lined trail for part of the way would shield me somewhat from the wind, but I must have been delusional.

I met up with Jonathan, who was struggling through a longish run with the last few at half marathon effort (straight into the headwind, of course). We traded complaints for a few minutes and then he ran on. He waited for me after his torture session and we jogged the last mile together back to the car. I made our traditional Long Run Sunday Pancakes, then passed out for an hour and a half on the couch. Thank goodness tomorrow is a rest day.

Coming up in Week 7, a recovery week consisting of a mere 60 miles. I’ll do some tempo running at 5k and 10K effort, capping the week with a 16 miler with the last 75 minutes at marathon effort.

Post #300

That’s right, I’ve found enough gibberish to fill 300 posts over the past few years. I have a grand total of five Bloglines subscribers, attesting to the wild popularity of this blog among runners (and my family members) the world over. Won’t you join me in celebrating my bloviations, which are anonymously spewed into the echo chamber that is the blogosphere?

The reaching of milestones often leads to philosophical ponderings and the seeking of perspective. Or it should. So, rather than “waste” this post on a workaday subject (my weekly training log, an interview with someone much faster than me, or a funny story about what I saw a squirrel do today), I’ll make some observations.

When I started writing this blog in 2006…

… I had a 32-33 inch waist. Now it’s around 28 inches in girth.

… A 10 miler was the week’s big workout; a “long” run that would knock me out for the entire day. Now it’s what I run on my recovery days.

… My resting heart rate was around 60 bpm. Now it’s at 42 on a good day, 48 when I’m tired.

… My 5 mile race pace was 8:00. My marathon race pace today is around 30 seconds per mile faster than that and dropping.

… I had shin splints. All of the time.

… I had just run my first half marathon. I was still too intimidated by the full marathon distance to conceive of running it myself.

… I was happy if I placed in the top 40% of all female finishers. My goals have gotten significantly more ambitious since then.

… It was a year in which I would run just over 1,100 miles. For 2008, I will have run over three times that distance.

… I designed my own marathon training plan and, even though I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, still managed to break four hours on a challenging course for my 2007 debut at the distance.

… I couldn’t drink water from cups during races. I still can’t without inhaling it through my nose and/or spilling it down my front.

… I thought coaches were only for the pros.

I could go on, but I won’t. It’s 5:40 PM on the Sunday after Christmas, and I think that’s as good a time as any to raise a glass in honor of Post 300.

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