Happy New Year…almost…

So many choices. What will I be doing this evening? Well, for one thing, I’ll be staying as far away from Times Square as possible. I did that once. Never again.

We have a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, some appealing liquor choices, the makings of homemade pizza, and a Planet of the Apes marathon on AMC. What more does one need to ring in the new year?

Tomorrow I do a tempo run and take down the Christmas decorations in the morning. Then I lie on the couch all afternoon watching hours of English Premier League Football and consuming (for me) vast quantities of beer (three?).

It’s all over on Wednesday.

Training week in review: 4 of 18

This week’s training theme:

Holiday training brings a different sort of “sacrifice” (such as running with indigestion)

Oh, I celebrated this past week. Don’t get me wrong. But I paid for it in the form of much Alka Seltzer consumption and running with discomfort. I have no regrets, though. I did not slack off in my training, and that took a lot of discipline.

The Christmas excesses are definitely winding down, however. We’ve got three bottles of wine left to get us through New Year’s and then it is over. Back to a few drinks a week, daily calorie counting and no more refined sugar, simple carbohydrates and saturated fat.

I’ve now been training for a month with no obvious ill effects. Well, just one. The muscle below my left eye has been twitching for the past few days. I’ve done some “Google diagnoses” and think it’s a combination of fatigue (ya think?), dehydration and possible electrolyte deficiency. The recommended treatment is adequate sleep, lots of water, bananas and Gatorade. I should be getting all those things anyway.

(One side rant. My local Pathmark was carrying Gatorade Endurance. I picked up two bottles to train with a few weeks back and now, mysteriously, they’ve stopped stocking it. The Gatorade site claims they carry it, but that is a lie. Now I have to find another supplier. Grr. On a happier note, I discovered that Yuengling makes a delicious dark beer (Original Black & Tan), which for some strange reason Pathmark does carry. So, in a way, the universe maintains its equilibrium, at least as far as Pathmark’s beverages inventory is concerned.)

I’ve noticed two distinct patterns in terms of my physical state during the week.

First, Thursday seems to be my roughest day in terms of fatigue. So I’ve decided to not care about pace at all on Thursdays, but instead just go by heart rate (and a very low one at that). The result is usually a slow run at 10:30+ pace. It’s weird to think that that used to be the fastest I could run.

Second, I have delayed onset muscle soreness that I could set my clock by. For the past few weeks I’ve woken up at around 1AM on Tuesday and Friday nights with a terrible ache in my legs. This week I took ibuprofen both evenings before going to bed, which seems to have nipped that problem in the bud.

A look back at the week:

Nothing earthshattering happened this week, save for the start of recovery “doubles” days. But I did manage to run over 77 miles. And I’m pretty darned proud of that. Also, all of my runs were outside. Some patches of ground are still quite treacherous, but it was a welcome break from staring at the wall.

I also had planned to do five miles of hills at the tail end of Friday’s 12 miler. But I didn’t feel up to it, so I decided to compromise and do a fast finish run instead, over flat ground. I’m figuring that with one half marathon and at least four harder, longer runs scheduled to be done in Central Park, I’ll get some good hill work in that way.

  • Monday: 6.1 miles (AM) and 4.2 miles (PM), recovery pace
  • Tuesday: 10 miles, easy pace, too icy for strideouts
  • Wednesday, 14.3 miles, long run (steady) pace
  • Thursday, 5.8 miles, recovery pace (slow — again, quite tired!)
  • Friday, 12 miles, long run (progressive), last two at 10 seconds faster than marathon pace
  • Saturday, 6.1 miles, recovery pace
  • Sunday, 18.8 miles, long run (progressive) pace

Total mileage: 77.3 miles

Paces this week:

  • Easy: 8:30
  • Long: 7:50 – 9:30
  • Recovery: 10:15-10:45

This week’s quote (which I post tongue-in-cheek, as this week my body told me I wanted to eat everything):

If you feel like eating, eat. Let your body tell you what it wants.

— Joan Benoit Samuelson

Coming up in training week five: The return of the dreaded Tuesday tempo run, and some “fueling” practice on Sunday’s fast finish long run! Plus three more miles piled onto the apple cart.

Julie the Hut

Blorg. I am bloated with Christmas spirit.

I can’t believe how much I’ve had to eat and drink in the past 48 hours.

Christmas Eve featured:

  • a large vodka martini
  • goose pate (“no liver” — I’m not quite sure how to interpret that, since I thought pate was liver)
  • a pound+ sirloin steak
  • an enormous pile of french fries
  • a large piece of chocolate raspberry cake
  • too many glasses of wine to count

Christmas Day wasn’t much better — although since I was still digesting the Eve’s excesses I really didn’t eat much until the “turkey and fixings” extravaganza started around 6 o’clock yesterday. I was sufficiently inebriated and stuffed to fall into bed, semi-conscious, at around 9:15. I won’t enumerate what I consumed yesterday since it’s shameful. But it was delicious. And it only took five hours to prepare.

But, to my credit, I’ve been running a lot despite the bricks in my stomach. I did 10 miles of recovery running on Christmas Eve, a 10 mile easy run (last two at marathon pace) Christmas Day, and a 14 miler today. If I’m lucky, I’ll break even on the calories, although judging by the size of my stomach, I’m not so sure.

Santa, in collusion with Jonathan, brought some good running stuff in this year. This top — in red — from UnderArmour (which I love, although it’s currently embarrassingly form-fitting), and this hat. And this thermos for post-run tea or hot chocolate (when I “park and run” up in Scarsdale for my Sunday long runs). And…and…and…nice, thoughtful gifts from my generous family.

It’s a very quiet week at work, so I’m getting things done like archiving project files and emails, listening to pre-recorded “2008 strategy” calls and trying to decipher their encrypted messages…and generally catching up on other administrata that I haven’t had time to do lately.

Tomorrow morning is the annual “drug the cat” event, in which I administer Kitty Kwaludes to our half-feral cat in order to get her in to the vet for annual shots. It takes her about a day and half to get back to normal, during which time she’s stumbling around like Robert Mitchum at the Oscars, and we’re just focusing on not letting her fall down the stairs. In our household, the excitement truly never stops.

And the doping dominoes continue to fall…

I’m late to the news party, but it seems that back in May, last year’s winner in the More Magazine Half Marathon, Lyubov Denisova, was disqualified. Argentinian Claudia Camargo moves up to first. Here’s an article about the Russian runner’s predicament.

Praise the warmth of the sun. Long live the sun.

At last, the Bronx River pathway is runnable! Did six recovery miles this morning and will do another four this afternoon. Then we’ll walk it into Bronxville for Christmas Eve cocktails and dinner at Sammy’s Downtown, a new bistro and bar on Pondfield Road.

I drank far too much last night, but surprisingly I have no hangover. I’m wondering if there was something magical about the enormous amounts of chocolate I chased the martini and wine with. Hmm…

This is my fiftieth day of running without a break. I guess that’s a milestone of sorts. Or should I say millstone?

Happy Christmas! Ten miles tomorrow…

Two marathon movies

Movie number 1, “Spirit of the Marathon” has been in the works for awhile. Like televised coverage of marathons, a movie about marathoning is probably not expected to be a crowd-gatherer…but I do see that they’ve hooked up with a distribution company to show it around the country on January 24. More info here.

Movie number 2, “3:15” is something I stumbled across on the Motley Fool “Running Fools” message board. I don’t know what the fate of this one will be in terms of distribution, although I’ve sent a note of inquiry to the original poster (who is a friend of someone on the crew). More info here.

Training week in review: 3 of 18

This week’s training theme contains a paradox:

The only thing worse than running on a treadmill is not having a treadmill to run on

It’s not like we live in some frozen hinterland like Yellowknife. But winters in New York can be hell. Or, rather, the opposite of hell. We’re covered in a massive sheet of filthy, frozen snow (otherwise known as ice). The running path is unplowed, the sidewalks unshovelled, and the roads narrowed due to meter-high piles of the stuff. Crazed drivers with phones clamped to their ears careen their hermetically sealed, high-center of gravity deathmobiles through the streets at high speeds, apparently blind to the delicate, vulnerable runners among them.

Needless to say, I spent six of seven days this week inside on the treadmill. Hating the treadmill. Yet appreciating the treadmill. Compulsively checking weather.com to see if we’ll ever get above freezing again. Feeling grateful for the Fox Soccer Channel, and cable marathons of “Law and Order: SVU” and “Dogfights” (don’t worry; it’s a show about aerial combat).

Week number three of my program introduced the first tempo run. I prefer to do these on the treadmill anyway, since I’m forced to maintain a certain pace — and, no walkers, cars or stoplights to slow me down! It went pretty well, although I couldn’t quite hold the pace I wanted and had to settle for about 10 seconds per mile slower for part of the run.

On a side note, I always feel as though I’m working harder on the treadmill. Since I have less “push off” (because the belt is pulling me back), I suspect that my strides are shorter and more frequent, which feels unnatural. But that’s probably a good thing since I don’t run with enough strides per minute. So this week, among other things, I used the treadmill to work on maintaining a stride rate of 180 steps per minute.

Here’s a handy chart I found recently that shows pace conversions for the treadmill vs. road.

In another screw-tightening move, Coach Pfitzinger scheduled a 14 miler the day after the tempo run. After hard days on Tuesday and Wednesday, I was dragging my ass on Thursday. But I felt surprisingly better after a recovery run (despite the fact that I was too feeble to go the whole six miles) and sailed through a 12 miler on Friday morning. Saturday was another little recovery run through the streets of Crestwood. Today’s run was 16 miles on the dreaded treadmill, with the final five at marathon pace (8:00) or quicker. I decided to do it inside because it’s rainy and very windy outside, and I really needed today’s run to be productive, not one where I’m battling the elements.

This morning’s session actually went very well. I’ve been doing so many long runs lately that 16 miles isn’t a big deal at all anymore. The final five certainly felt like an effort, but I had no problem holding the pace and ran the last half of mile 16 closer to half marathon pace. My heart rate drifted up from 82% to 89% during those five miles. The top end is too high to sustain for an entire marathon, so I have my work cut out for me.

I also thought I’d take the opportunity to experiment with fueling on today’s run. I tried my first gel ever (Hammer “Tropical” flavor with caffeine) at mile 10.5 to see if my stomach would rebel. No problems, and I definitely felt a lift in energy starting around mile 12. I have two half marathon races coming up (one in late January and one in late February). I think I’ll try gels on one and Gatorade on the other and see which method works better for me.

Both have their advantages: with Gatorade, you don’t have to carry anything. But with gels, you can use exactly what you know works for you and as long as there’s water you’ve got what you need. I’m also completely uncoordinated with the paper cups and I’d much rather spill plain water down my front than florescent liquid.

A look back at the week:

  • Monday: 6 miles, recovery pace
  • Tuesday: 10 tempo run, miles 5-6 and 8-9 at 7:35-7:45 pace, easy pace for the rest
  • Wednesday, 14 miles, long run (steady) pace
  • Thursday, 5.6 miles, recovery pace (dog tired!)
  • Friday, 12 miles, long run (steady) pace
  • Saturday, 6.7 miles, recovery pace
  • Sunday, 16.2 miles, long run: first 11 at long run (steady) pace, last 5 at race pace or faster

Total mileage: 70.5 miles

Paces this week:

  • Tempo: 7:35-7:45
  • Long: 7:50 – 9:00
  • Easy: 8:35
  • Recovery: 9:45 – 10:00
  • Marathon: 8:00

This week’s quote:

I’m sick of the treadmill.

— Andrea Martin

Coming up in training week four: A 10% mileage increase plus my first “doubles” day. Oh, and Christmas too.