Saturday, July 28, 2012

Shaping up

My training has been very pathetic over the past month or so. I didn't manage to do anything in Spain, then only got two workouts in last week. I think it's just hard to get motivated to go outside during this heat. I was thinking that this week it was time to shape up, but then caught a bit of a cold and was out of commission for a few days.

By Thursday I was feeling better and was actually itching to go out and do something. I was thinking of going out for a longer run late afternoon; I knew some rain was forecast, but I figured that would actually be welcome.  I got about a mile and a half out from home on country roads when I started noticing that the rain clouds off in the distance had lightning flashes. I decided that being the tallest thing within a mile radius would not be so smart, so I cut the run a little short. By the time I got back to the subdivision, lightning flashes were becoming more frequent, so I thought I'd sprint home, but after about a half mile, I had to stop and walk. Made it back inside as the first raindrops were falling. (Which, as I've learned since, was not soon enough to avoid the risk lightning, though I think being surrounded by two-story houses, rather than by soy fields, reduced the risk substantially.)

Don't you love this nice animation from NWS?
Friday morning my plan was to get up early to go for a bike ride, but I couldn't get to sleep until after 2am, so after I got up and fed the dogs, I fell right back into bed until about 10. So instead I took the dogs for a quick jog around the neighborhood. Miso does really well with jogging, but Soba less so. At first, she gets too distracted by sniffing every inch of the ground to keep a good pace, and then, after a mile or so, she just gets too tired (and hot) to continue and starts dragging behind. I keep thinking about going on a run with just Miso, but I know Soba would feel really bad about being left behind.

I also made it to the pool, after a 3 week (!) hiatus. The good news is that I didn't lose too much ability during the break. I completed week 3 day 3 of the 0-to-1650 plan, and while it felt mildly challenging, I think I'm ready to step up to week 4 during my next time out. On the minus side, the pool was fairly congested (at one point, I think there were 5 or 6 people in my lane) and I had to stop for a few seconds to check on traffic at each end of the pool, so I didn't really do the 400m uninterrupted interval. Who would have thought that so many people would have nothing better to do on a Friday night than doing laps in the pool?

Swim set:
400m, 12 breaths rest
200m, 10 breaths rest
4x100m, 8 breaths rest (may have only been 3, I always lose count here)
4x50m, 4 breaths rest

This morning I decided to join the distance run put on by our local running club. The start time was 7am, so I set my alarm for 6. I had trouble falling asleep again so I ended up taking an Ambien, but I think I took it a bit too late, since when 6am rolled around, I was still feeling a bit spacey and it took me about 20 minutes to actually drag myself out of bed. I quickly fed the dogs, made coffee (spilling the drip tray all over the floor in the process), printed out the course map that I then forgot at home, and jumped into the car. Apparently, I wasn't the only one feeling spaced out, since on the way to the start, a woman almost changed lanes into me. That got certainly my heart rate up!

The run was an 8-mile loop, which you would do once if you're training for a half marathon and twice if you're training for the full. In the olympic distance triathlon, I only have to run a 10K (6.2mi), but training longer distances should be helpful since the run will follow the swim and bike. I settled in at the back of the pack and ended up running with two older women who were both talking about their kids moving out of the house. One, whose last kid was just leaving, was 51; the other, who was on her third grandchild, was 44!! It's amazing that you can make such different life choices and end up with your kids out of the house before you even really hit middle age. For comparison, my parents were close to 70 by the time they finally got grandkids.

We started out a little fast, doing 2 sub-10 miles; fortunately, everyone agreed that we needed to slow down a bit. The women had both done marathons in the past but they were supportive of my first attempt at an 8-mile run. We took a couple walking breaks and the 51-year-old started to fall behind a bit because she was feeling too hot. I kept pace with 44-year-old (mostly); the last couple miles were a bit painful, but I did finish, making about an 11-minute pace overall, including the walking breaks.

I felt pretty exhausted by the end; I even allowed myself a little bit of gatorade to replenish my electrolytes, and it probably took me about 10 minutes to feel normal again. The women went out for a few more miles after the break. I now have a newfound respect for half-marathoners; I certainly was in no shape to run an extra 5.1 miles today. Though I think I will try to find a half marathon to run some time in the fall. The women recommended the Chicago Monster Dash in late October—sounds like it could be fun.

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