Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reminiscing Rambles

My first track & field coach was my grade 6 teacher, Mr. Bauder. I still clearly remember him explaining that a good indicator of fitness is how quickly you recover, which I thought was kind of profound. He was a nice coach. One spring I had qualified for the city meet in the 100 metres, and raced a heat against another girl with the same name - Sarah Montgomery. As we lined up to race, Mr. Bauder yelled from the sidelines that "OUR Sara Montgomery" was a "RUNNER!". Despite his enthusiasm, Sarah beat me by a mile and made the final. But hey, it feels good when your coach believes in you.

In high school, it was still a struggle to do more than a few laps around the track. I was more into sprints, high jump, gymnastics, basketball and volleyball. For all of those sports I got by with my weak level of endurance.

I didn't get into distance running until I was well into my 20s, and it was HARD. I must have started and stopped a dozen times before it finally "took". Running a marathon was a huge deal to me because it was so beyond the realm of what I thought was possible. After I started doing some half-marathons, I knew deep down that I wanted to try a full at some point because reading others' accounts of them invariably made me choke up. (And now I'm in big, big trouble because 100-mile finishes make me cry like a big, blubbering baby.)

To me, running is still HARD, and I'm pretty sure that's a big part of what I love about it. It has given me more discipline and patience than anything else in my life, and I thrive on the lifestyle of training. Still, at times it can be too hard, and a dark side lies in wait with taunting abuse. I've run right up to that slippery slope of "never fast enough, never thin enough, never good enough" and thankfully had the sense to run hard the other way. I found myself in the woods, where my goals to keep it healthy, empowering, and fun are always right there.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Week of Feb 16 - 22

Started the week feeling rough and had a bit of a fever. Slept a ton on Wednesday which seemed to do the trick. Thursday's uphill tempo run was great - the gym was emptyish (spring break) so I decided to do the entire run on the treadmill. After another long slog in the snow today, I'm looking forward to the taper to get rested up. The plan is to do one more big week first...we'll see how it goes.

M - off
T - am 44 pm 46
W - 90
T - am 70 uphill treadmill tempo (35' total; 5'@8,5'@10,5'@12, 2'@0, 5'@10,5'@12, 2'@0, 2x[1'each@ 10 thru 14]) pm 50
F - am 40 pm 41 (plus strength)
S - 40
S - 180 (Pack and snowshoes)
Total 10:01

Monday, February 16, 2009

Week of Feb 9 - Feb 15

Knee felt fine so ramped back up. Great week of mileage and workouts. The uphill tempo was easier than it has been. Will do 10' tempo outdoors next time before hitting the treadmill part. The km repeats felt good. After all the snowshoeing and hill work I want to add some faster stuff for a few weeks to wake the legs up and make slower paces seem easier. Long run was awful, but at least it served the purpose of getting me my planned 2 hours/day average this week. Derrick had a great one, he checked in on me from time to time but otherwise needed to do his own thing. I was happy to plod along by myself, especially when I was cursing wildly at a rutty, icy, muddy corn field crossing and had a bit of a meltdown. Misery training, gotta like it.

M - am 58 pm 40
T - am 60 uphill treadmill tempo (25' total; 5' each @ 8,9,10,11,12deg) pm 40
W - am 50 pm 40 (plus strength)
T - 90 (2x[3x1000m w/2'/j]w/3'/j; 1@tempo, 1@10k, 4@5k efforts; Ring Rd in cold rain)
F - am 40 pm 40
S - am 75 pm 45
S - 262 (4:22) pack run
Total 14:00

Monday, February 9, 2009

Week of Feb 2 - Feb 8

A big recovery week. Resolved a foot problem early in the week, then developed a weird knee problem later. Hoping all is okay to ramp up again next week.

M - 45
T - off
W - 24
T - 28
F - off
S - 49 (plus strength circuit; knee very sore after)
S - 45 (snowshoe; knee weak but improved)
Total 3:11

Newton's little-known fourth law of motion states that runners in training tend to stay in training and feel increasingly more alive and invincible. When recovering, they get to feeling run-down and cranky, experience a significant loss of confidence, and start to fall apart, body part by body part.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mali, Dreaming of Summer

And we thought the hound only ever thought about food!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Different Approaches to Recovery

After taking yesterday off, I'm just now back from a short test run on the 'new' foot. It felt great - no dings, no wincing. Whew!

I did feel generally tired and stiff, like some more recovery is required. Derrick and I have different approaches to our recovery weeks. He likes to do more of a blend between recovery and training, opting to drop his mileage by about 20 percent and lessen any workouts in either intensity or duration. He says this still gives him a bit of training effect, while being able to recover enough to ramp things up again the next week.

I understand the logic of this, but I find myself taking a more drastic recovery approach. I figure I can't recover and train at the same time because I see them as mutually exclusive. If I'm training it means I'm breaking myself down by pushing the limits of what my body can handle - by increasing mileage, doing more or faster workouts, less rest sprinkled in, etc. When it's time to recover, I feel that the more aggressive I am with it (i.e. the less I do), the more all that hard training will get absorbed, and the fresher I'll feel to train hard again. So with my approach, the harder the training block, the more significantly I'll tend to cut back.

I'm sure both approaches are fine - I can sell myself on their merits anyway - but for me a big plus from my way is that I enjoy the mental break I get (I don't think Derrick needs this as much). I also feel like it probably helps protect me from getting injured.

Thoughts, theories?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stress Relief!

Since the summer I've had this annoying lateral foot pain that just wouldn't go away. With all of the uneven snow running last week it was getting really bad and causing a lot of wincing when I hit it the wrong way. On a lunch run with Karen yesterday I dinged it a few times and was getting really scared that it was something serious.

Last night I went to see Dr. Scot Mundle of Napanee Chiropractic Care Centre. After doing some diagnostic poking around my foot, he adjusted my cuboid bone, and it seems that fixed things up. When he pushed under my foot after the adjustment, the pain that was there before was gone. I'm taking a recovery week now anyway, so will give the soft tissues an opportunity to heal up a bit more.

So basically this has been bugging me since the summer and gotten worse lately to the point I was fearing it was a stress fracture and starting to panic, and took all of a few minutes to diagnose and fix! I was a very happy camper leaving the office. Thanks a ton, Scot!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Week of Jan 26 - Feb 1

A good week. Saved up some energy during the week to be ready for a couple of long runs on the weekend. Really fun Saturday long run to Jack and Rosemary's place where they fed us and even drove us home! Thank you! Sunday was tough to get out the door for, but really wasn't too bad and it went by fast. Helped to bring lots of snacks: Snickers bars, jujubes, curd and Sustained.

M - 58 (snowshoe)
T - am 60 pm 76 (40' tempo on rolling North Tr with mspikes; felt really great)
W - early am 40
T - am 68 pm 50 (snowshoe then road; had so much energy, weird to not do workout; strength circuit after)
F - am 42 pm 41 (snowshoe)
S - 244 = 4:04 (pack run; 3:48 in mspikes, then snowshoes)
S - 151 = 2:31 (Paudyn Loop snowshoe; deep snow)
Total 13:50