Summer Basebuilding: Week 10

sum09-base-10I guess this is the last of the summer basebuilding. In 10 weeks I’ve gone from anemic shuffler to something resembling the runner I was in April. Where I truly am fitnesswise is still something of a mystery, since so much of my running over the past few weeks was on the treadmill.

But the outside running I did this week did yield some clues. Recovery runs have continued to be on the speedier side, mostly owing to the decent weather we’ve suddenly experienced. As a side note, for all my complaining, this summer wasn’t bad. The Hades-like weather didn’t start until the second week of July and (if Accuweather’s 15 day forecast can be trusted), we may have seen the last of it.

Or, rather, I may have seen the last of it. I’m off to South Africa for a couple of weeks later this month (where it is now late winter, headed into spring). So freakish October heat waves of the sort we saw in 2007 are of no concern to me.

Now let’s get down to bidness.

I came into the week feeling reasonably recovered, the previous week having been a recovery week. Recovered enough run a 13 mile recovery run that was, as I discovered later in the week, just a smidgen too fast for several miles. I felt good, though, so I couldn’t help myself. But I need to remind myself: recovery runs are for recovery.

I started paying the price on Wednesday. My legs felt awful, cramped and heavy — although that was mostly owing to cycle/hormonal stuff. But the extravagance of the day before didn’t help. I stopped more than I’d liked to have done during the faster miles.

Thursday was worse. The AM run was a slog. On the PM run I felt like I was running on two logs and one lung.

On Friday I was still in recovery deficit (or perhaps merely still suffering from “women’s troubles”), with my legs feeling tired and unhappy. But I did the workout nonetheless. I’m fairly happy with the splits for the fast bits, although I’d hoped for 6:45s each. I cut myself some slack, though, as there were low bridges, 90 degree angle turns and idiots with 30′ dog leads to negotiate along the way.

Saturday was meh. Actually okay, but I was feeling the miles on my legs, especially in the last two.

Today’s run was a grand experiment. It’s been ages since I’ve done a real “progression run” and I’ve been itching to do one for its mental benefits as much as for its physical ones. I was originally scheduled to run 18 miles, but I bumped it up to 20 to further test my mettle.

Upon waking at 6AM this morning, my first conscious realization was that my thighs ached. Oh, crap. Not the most auspicious start to an ambitious workout. But that’s been the running theme all week, so why start acting reasonably now?

My goals for this run for today were, in no particular order of importance:

  • Complete it in 2:45 or better
  • Run a big negative split
  • Start at 72% effort, turn up the heat throughout and run as hard as possible for the last few
  • Take in as little nutrients as possible

Missions accomplished! I finished a few seconds shy of 2:45. I ran the first half at an average of 76%. Then I bumped it up to 80% pretty quickly and ended with the last few at 88-90% effort. The second 10 mile set was a good 8 minutes faster than the first. The paces weren’t great, my last mile a pedestrian 7:30. But I knew as soon as I woke up that I wasn’t going to be running 7:00 miles today. I managed this on half a bottle of Gatorade G2 and one gel.

In all, I’m happy with the workout, especially considering that it was a less than stellar week in turns of how I was feeling after Tuesday. Now I get to see how fucked up I am next week as a result!