Spring Race Training: Week 2

09spr-training-02January is over, finally. I don’t normally mind January all that much, but this year’s version has been so awful weatherwise that I’ve had to do the majority of my runs indoors. This has been not only a tedious proposition, but also quite challenging as my weeks feature more and more faster running. February is typically even worse, so it’s not as if we’ve turned a corner or anything. But at least we’re that much closer to spring.

I felt sub-par for most of the week. The half marathon last Sunday took a lot out of me and then I spent the early part of the week fending off a cold that Jonathan picked up. He was well for a day and then either suffered a relapse or has managed to pick up a totally new cold. Either way, I’m now trying to avoid catching that one as well. Anyway, this manifested itself in an elevated heart rate, swollen glands and general feeling of malaise.

On Wednesday I modified the planned workout (13 easy with last four at just under 28:00). I was again on the treadmill and had attached my little footpod to a new pair of shoes. Our treadmill is way off — typically reporting that you’re running 15-20 seconds per mile slower than you actually are. As you can imagine, this makes quite a difference when doing faster work.

For speed and mileage information I look at what the footpod is telling the watch, which I’ve calibrated on GPS measured runs outside, and ignore the treadmill’s lying display. Well, the footpod matched the treadmill on this particular pair of shoes — something I didn’t notice until mile 11 when I was thinking, why am I so exhausted and why is running these faster last miles so freaking hard? I moved the pod to an older shoe and all was right with the world. So, that session sucked.

On Friday, now wise to my capricious foodpod’s ways, I did 5 x 1K intervals — still not feeling great — and did pretty well. The plan was to run each in 4:00 (a 6:26 mpm pace). I only managed one, but the others were pretty close. This run was notable because I have never run that fast on the treadmill. It was cranked up to 8.9 mph for that 4:00 interval. I recalled the days when I had trouble running with it at 7 mph.

I learned on Friday that it’s dangerous to listen to comedy albums when running intervals. You laugh, then lose control of your already highly challenged breathing, then you forget to move your legs and then laugh harder at what a moron you are for deciding that it would be a good idea to listen to comedy while running at almost 9 mph. For curious readers the album was Judith’s Roommate Had a Baby by Judy Gold. Needless to say, it was so funny that it nearly got me seriously injured.

Saturday I woke up feeling like a brand new woman. For the first time in five days, I didn’t feel like shit. The 9 mile recovery run, done after several hours of enthusiastic housecleaning, was a breeze and almost a pleasure.

Yesterday’s 20 miler turned into a 20.7 miler due to needing to extend my outside loop as well as a short bout of getting lost. The Scarsdale/White Plains loop is a hilly course plus it was, as always happens, on the windy side. While I would have liked to have run faster than 8:30, it’s really not a bad pace for that particular course.

Week 3 is another 85 miler with more faster running and, on Sunday, a 20K Mpace run in hilly Connecticut.

Taking in the sights in White Plains

I’ll post my usual training week recap eventually, but I had to post about my run through a section of White Plains, NY this morning. WP is hard to describe — it’s a center of commerce in Westchester County and has undergone tremendous commercial development over the past 10-15 years. It consists of a fairly concentrated collection of towering office buildings and shopping malls, wrapped up in a series of wide-lane roadways. The sidewalks aren’t quite as empty as Stamford, CT (which always reminds of the post-apocalyptic Charlton Heston movie from the early 70s, Omega Man), but they aren’t exactly bustling with human activity.

What’s interesting about WP is the residential areas that surround the commercial core. WP abuts Scarsdale, one of the richest communities in the country, yet you know instantly when you’ve crossed the line from Scarsdale into WP. Within a block or two, you go from stately mansions to rundown  multifamily dwellings. I took one of the roads I run on, Fisher Avenue, a bit farther north today to extend my run. Once past the train and bus stations, the neighborhood deteriorated quite quickly.

Just half a mile to the north of moneyed Scarsdale were streets filled with stray cats (a family of 12, all brown tabbies), transplanted Central and South Americans on their way to work on Sunday morning and — my favorite — people dressed to the nines and headed into the “French Speaking Baptist Church” (Haitians, maybe?) for Sunday services. Jonathan ran the same way this morning and spotted a restaurant I managed to miss, a (Peruvian-run?) pizza parlor called Machu Pizzu.

I never saw this sort of thing on my runs in Iowa.