Summer Basebuilding: Week 5

sum09-base-04Hail pills and rest. All hail pills and rest.

Finally, after five weeks of either total rest or puttering along at a strictly recovery pace and relatively low mileage, I’m starting to feel like the runner I once knew. Who is this mysterious stranger? She sleeps 8-8.5 hours a night without interruption. She looks forward to longer runs. She yearns to run fast. She does not complain about chafing — nay, she celebrates chafing.

I ran nine times this week, again strictly by time and, with only one exception, sans gadgetry. My new watch/HRM combo is on backorder, which hasn’t been too much of a hardship. I borrowed Jonathan’s HRM (which worked fine with my watch) for yesterday’s run. More on that in a moment.

The heat and humidity this week were tough, plus we had a lot of rain. Wednesday was the worst day, like running in a giant dryer vent. This weather pattern looks to continue for at least another 10 days. And, let’s face it, it’s August. So we can probably bank on crap weather for the next six weeks minimum, longer if we’re unlucky.

Fortunately, after one false start (caused by an electrical short from a misplaced wire; oopsie) we managed to fix our ailing treadmill, which seems stable again — it’s no longer throwing random errors and shutting down unpredictably. It’s unreliability made for some very nervous running. How relaxed can you be when the treadmill may suddenly stop at any moment? Running slow was nervewracking enough — going fast on that flakey beast was out of the question from a safety standpoint.

I had some issues with my left side later in the week. The entire left side of my body, from left foot all the way to left shoulder felt achy and stiff. The outer fingers on my left hand were numb too. My suspicion is that my “nervous runner form” on the treadmill was probably responsible for these issues. Things are better today.

But did I let any of this — the heat, the humidity, the schizoid treadmill, the broken HRM, one half of me messed up — get me down? Nope. I was a happy, happy runner this week.

The highlight was yesterday’s run. It was a warm morning, but with reasonable humidity (dew point of around 62). I borrowed Jonathan’s HRM in order to do another round of data gathering. The plan was to clock another 8:20ish mile and see what my HR did for the duration. It held in the 80% range, which I was very pleased to see.  Two weeks earlier I ran at about the same pace, but at a much lower dew point of 54, at about the same HR.

I’d asked Kevin if I could do 30 minutes of faster running this week should the mood strike, and it had in a big way. So I ran four miles between 8:00 – 8:20 pace, with the HR% topping out at 82%. Good stuff.

Today I felt no worse for the wear (and my HR was at a cooperative 43) so I went forward with the plan to do 2:15 of recovery running. I would have liked to have run this outside but we had rain and lightning moving through all morning. In the end, I’m glad I did the run inside where it was cooler and drier. I expect I won’t feel as knocked out tomorrow.

Now that I’m reasonably back on track I should be able to get into the rotating three week maintenance plan I was slated to start in June before all hell broke loose. I’ll start this tomorrow, with a week in the 80 mile range featuring some “perceived lactate threshold” running, some 1 minute repeats, and a longer run (16 miles next Sunday). I am so excited to be running long and running fast again.

The next race on the horizon is the South Nyack 10 Miler, one of my favorite races to run. I don’t have high expectations, meaning I’d be surprised if I PR’ed after this significant a pause in training (not to mention the fact that early September is still heat wave season). But it gives me something to look forward to and work toward over the next six weeks.

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