Training: June 19-July 2

This is starting to look like a training log again. Finally.

I’m nearly out of the woods with this latest injury. It’s only in the last two days that I’ve been able to run without feeling a moderate amount of pain on every other step. Running (almost) without pain and on the faster side has been a real pleasure.

Last week I was able to step up the paces again, although the week was so dominated with unpredictable work deadlines, late evenings and lack of sleep that I ended up not running most days. But the days on which I did run, I ran well. Considering that I took half my days as “off” days in May, then spent June hobbled with a calf problem, I’m running pretty well.

I’ve lost 11 lbs since we got back from England six weeks ago. I am definitely lighter on my feet and only need pick up our 10 lb medicine ball to realize the difference 10+ lbs makes. It’s been a grind, eating very little and counting every single calorie, and on some days I feel very hungry or low energy (in which case I up the intake a bit). But it’s steady and I rarely go more than three days without a drop in weight, so there’s plenty of motivation to stick with the program. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I’m confident that I’ll get there.

So — the runnng: during last week’s hellish work week, I only ran three times, but I was not fucking around on two of those runs. I did them at a solid 8:10 pace, which was not high effort. I also kept my commitment to do core work (something that’s becoming more gratifying now that I’m actually starting to see some definition in my abdomen). Considering that these were humid days, I’m feeling pretty good about those paces.

Last Sunday I meant to go out and do a very easy 9-10 mile recovery run, but ended up running the thing at 8:50. I guess my legs were pretty rested, so I went with it and just ran whatever they wanted to run. But I was wiped out on Monday, so took the day off. Wednesday was the big test of my calf’s comeback: could it manage some faster running, meaning a  little faster than 5K pace? The answer was yes.

That was a good run, primarily because I felt like I was training again, rather than waiting to train. It was extremely humid, at 93%. Naturally, the next day dried out. But I was glad I did the run in those conditions, since I need all the acclimation I can get. Now it’s a four day holiday weekend, with the last three days scheduled to be very hot. I wanted to do a tempo run tomorrow, but the weather was so favorable this morning (cool and relatively dry) that I decided to push it up a day. And I’m glad I did. I did a few segments at varying paces. Once again, I’m spent from the effort, but very gratified by that run. I had almost no pain left, just a little ball of tightness. I’ll keep working on it this evening, but I’m thinking it’s going to be gone come next week.

I fell off the wagon with regard to core work this week. But, really, who the fuck cares? I’m running fast again and doing workouts, so I’ll take it. I plan to hit the weights this weekend (and I’ll be limited to just one trip a week for the time being) and get back to core stuff too. I have a feeling this will all start coming together for me soon: the training, the weight loss, the decision to focus on shorter stuff. Famous last words.

A year ago I was recovering from the 2010 Green Mountain Relay (a race I’m committed to for 2012), getting ready to start work with a new coach, and totally unaware of the tsunami of misfortune that was forming just offshore. The year since has featured a lot of setbacks and distressing developments.

That’s life. I’m looking forward. I’ve got a bunch of races to be excited about. I’m definitely going to Houston in January (and Jonathan’s doing the full marathon) to watch the Trials, meet a bunch of people, and I hope run like a masters machine in the 5K race that weekend. If I can just stay uninjured and healthy, and remain relatively unscathed in my personal, familial and work life, I’ll be very happy and maybe this year can redeem itself. Like Lolo Jones, I’m looking to catch a break right now. There’s one out there somewhere.

As for the near future, I have plans to run the 4 mile relay in Van Cordtlandt Park next week on Thursday. Jonathan and I will each take a leg. It will be an evening of firsts: first race (or run) on that course, first relay race with Jonathan, first cross-country race. I’m kind of excited about it, not least of which because it will be a chance to race again and get some sense of where I am fitnesswise.

After that is the Central Park 4 Miler (a club points race) on July 16, and perhaps the Sunset and Suds 5K on July 21, although I may skip that in order to coordinate with long-time virtual friends/bloggers Flo from Girl in Motion and Ewen from About a Ewen (aka “Ewen from Down Under”), both of whom are coming into town for a meetup, perhaps on that evening. Or maybe I can convince them to race with me. Either way, I’m sure we won’t be able to top Vegas for Ewen, but we’ll try.

I also picked up a pair of New Balance Trail Minimus 10s. This is a model I’ve been lusting after for months, primarily for its looks. They’re just cool looking shoes. So far all I’ve done is run errands in them, but I’ll probably use them for my daily 3.5 miles of commuting-related walking starting next week. I may also take them out for a spin on the OCA Trail this weekend, just for an easy run.

Other than that, the plan is for lots of couch and bed time. I have been a stressed out and hardworking bunny of late. I need some time alone in the rabbit hole to recharge.

Reprise: A few minutes with Morgan Uceny

Uceny just won her first Diamond League 1500, in Lausanne, using the same method I saw her use a few weeks back at the Diamond League in New York: gradually working her way up to a lead pack position through the course of the race, then flooring it in the last 150 metres or so. In that race she came in second. It was very exciting to watch.

I’ve gotten a few hits on an interview I did with Uceny last year when she was in town for the Fifth Avenue Mile. So in case you’re wondering who that fast American in the green top is, you can learn more about her here.