Sunday, April 21, 2013

It's HARD to Recap Two Weeks at Once

I haven't written a proper post in quite a while, which is a shame... it's been a pretty eventful couple of weeks.  I'll give you a short recap and then move on.

First, the bad news:  after Easter, there was leftover pie.  A lot of it.  And I like my pie.  So the following week's weigh-in I was up 2 lbs.  Last weekend's weight was up another 0.5 lbs, and today another 1.0.  Ugh.

Contributing factors:  I've given this a lot of thought and I don't want to over-analyze it, but there are a few things going on besides food and exercise.  The past two weeks have been really stressful at work - I've been working to meet a couple of nasty deadlines, and preparing a presentation - I'll be teaching a 90-minute course later this week and I'm preparing it from scratch.  This is a whole new thing for me, and I'm trying not to freak out about it too much.  The deadlines I'm under on my other projects are helping to keep me distracted!  So the past two weeks have involved quite a few late nights, travel days, skipped workouts, and junk food.  (Plus, there was that pie.)  I also started taking a new medication recently, which is really wreaking havoc with my appetite.  I'll be nauseated and really hungry simultaneously - leaves me feeling really confused and never sure what I can eat that will leave me feeling better, rather than worse. Just another week on the meds and I'll be able to get back to normal (I hope).

6-workout roundup:  Yes, in the past two weeks I have had only six workouts.

9-miler - Two weeks ago, I was excited to head out on my longest-ever distance workout!  I've GOT to give you a little rundown on that one.  I laid out my route a few days ahead of time (this works as a great motivator taking that first step out the door - I highly recommend it!) and reviewed it daily to remember where the turns were.  My plan was to run in intervals of 2.5 miles, broken by short walk breaks.  That worked REALLY well.  The weather was extraordinary - warm but not hot - but it was REALLY windy - upwards of 20 mph throughout.  I did have to take a couple of longer breaks when we got near the creek along the route, because it was warmer than I anticipated, and I didn't have a spare water bottle for Coty.  i took a couple of pics during one of these stops.  I got one of the turns wrong after all, so ran a total of 9.12 miles and finished in under 2 hours.  I kept the pace really easy - the whole idea was base-building and getting that distance in, not speed - and came in with an average moving pace of about 12:30/mile.  (Stats here.)

The Monday following this little excursion, I headed out for a 3-mile training run.  It was supposed to be an "Easy Recovery Run," but this is what I wrote in my training journal:  "Shitty run.  3.10 in 43:42."  I believe my body was simply not ready for another run after Saturday's long, long-run.

That Tuesday, Jason surprised me be being home from work early and we took a lovely walk together with Coty.  It's so nice now that the weather is improving and we can get outside together more.

Wednesday, of course, the weather turned on us.  We had quite a nasty thunderstorm, and my Ride The Wave group run was canceled.  We were to run the full race route for the Lake Run - something I've been looking forward to since the program started eight weeks earlier - so I was really disappointed by the cancellation.  I lucked out, though, and a number of members decided to meet at the Lake the following night and run it together.  I had a great time running with Kathy and getting to know her that evening!  Coty met up with this lonely stuffed animal (see below) on one of the bridges, and she had her first-ever encounter with real-live cattle!  Being a cattle-dog, she was fascinated and completely entranced, and nagged at one of the cows until he moved off toward the rest of the group!

Sadly, I didn't stop to take pics of her with the cows... perhaps another time.  Anyway, I had my first run of the full 7.47 mile outer loop.  (Stats here.)  I'll have one more chance to run it before the race (two weeks from now), so I'll have an opportunity to evaluate it again, but I think I'll shoot for something between 1:25 and 1:30 for race time.

Again, two days after this longer run, I attempted an "Easy Run" and it didn't go well:  training journal states "Lousy run, Nice walk."  4.17 miles in 1:12.  Yeah, there wasn't much running going on that day, but it was a lovely day for a walk.

That Sunday (this is a week ago now), I tried again, and WOW was that better!  5.52 in 1:20 - now THAT's what I'm talking about.  There's a BIG smiley-face in my training journal for that day!!

This past week was when things at work just blew up on me.  I worked late on Monday and Tuesday and RTW got rained out again (speed work was the plan for this week, bummer) due to another ill-timed thunderstorm.  Thursday and Friday I was travelling for work, so on the whole, NO EXERCISE this week...

But I stuck with my plan for another LONG, long-run this weekend.  There was a group fun run planned by the Lake Run Club, benefiting a local children's advocacy and foster care / adoption organization.  They had routes of 3, 6 and 9 miles marked out, and the start was just 3/4-mile from my place, so I brought Coty and walked there and back, and in-between we ran / walked the whole 9 miles.  All-in-all we got in a total of 10.5 miles for the day!

I got to run the first 3 miles with my friend Cheryl who is recovering from a back injury, so we did a tightly-structured 2/1 run walk interval workout for that portion.  It was a great way to keep me from diving in too quickly after having a full week off - I was excited and happy to be back on the trail!  The rest of the run it was just me and Coty, and we sort of had a blast.  Miles 4-6 I lost all structure and ran / walked whenever I felt like it.  To get to the half-way point, we had to head out north of town, past Northtown Road and past the end of the Trail, onto the highway for about a quarter-mile, then on a country road for another 3/4 mile before turning around.  Miles 7-9 I tried to refocus and run for longer stretches - I repeated "Shut up and run!" in my head whenever I got distracted and felt temped to slow or walk.  These long runs teach so much about the mental side of this sport:

The truth is, my legs will keep going until I tell them to stop.  The only thing that remains to be trained at this point is my mind.

Lessons Learned the past two weeks:
1) After a long run, I need more than 2 days of recovery before I am ready for another good one.  (Another reason to go to the gym & get that cross-training in)
2) I can NOT eat leftover pie for days after Easter.  Neither can I eat pizza... I saw a great image on Facebook one day this week:  "I am not dieting to lose weight.  I am eating according to my goals."
3) These stressful times and those times when my eating is "untamed" or when I'm not able to get my workouts in, it's more important to spend this time thinking and writing about the process.  This is when it's MOST important and must be prioritized, even if it's shorter posts because time is short.
4) It's hard to recap two weeks of whatever-it-is-I-write-about in a single post.  I'll try not to put myself in such a position again.
5)  #5 I already mentioned.  But I like it and I'm happy to repeat it here:

The only thing that remains to be trained at this point is my mind.

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