This week I realized just how much work I have ahead of me. Since I spent most of the summer either recovering from my Achilles injury or traveling, I don’t have much of a base at all and I gulped when I saw the mileage ramp-up ahead of me. This week was like the one in college at the beginning of the semester when you come home from the bookstore and stack your books in the corner, and think with a mixture of awe and disbelief, “I’m going to read all of those?”
Probably because I felt intimidated, I didn’t really follow my training plan this week, opting instead to run with friends and explore new routes with my dog. I thought I could run “easy” all week long, but I was humbled by how hard running seems now. If I’m going to get strong enough to run a marathon, I better start actually doing all the workouts on my training plan.
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 9.3
On Tuesday a new friend invited me to go running with her. She is training for a half marathon and wanted to do a loop of West Campus, the Al Buehler trail, and finish with a loop of East Campus. All in all, she said, it would be about eight miles. I had just finished eight miles on Sunday as my Week 1 long run, and though I suffered the whole time I felt that somehow this would be different, and that I would have no problem chatting for eight miles of trails and hills.
Spoiler alert: It was a problem.
My first clue was at the very beginning, when I was running the half mile to her office. My new house is at the foot of a big (at least, it seems big to me right now) hill. I've climbed that hill on nearly every run, and it hurts each time. Tuesday was no different. Even at a near-walk pace my heart was racing, and once I reached the top it felt like it took forever (like, at least 1-2 minutes) for my heart rate to come down a little. Was I really going to climb hills for eight more miles, including four in a NCAA D1 cross-country trail?
We set out for West Campus and I took every opportunity to walk or rest when crossing streets or going up or down stairs. After we entered Al Buehler, I knew I was in trouble. I had toughed it out for about an hour, but after mile 6 or so, I swallowed my pride and asked if she minded taking walk breaks with me.
I hate walking while running…it makes the run last forever, it’s boring, and it’s so hard to get started again. I know a lot of people swear by it, but it just isn't my thing. Also, I'm very competitive and didn't like admitting that I was too out of shape for our run.
When we were finishing the loop of the trail, we agreed not to do the final loop we'd planned. I'd already covered over 9 miles and my walk breaks were becoming more frequent, and I was overheated and dehydrated (even though I carried a 16oz water bottle). My running buddy was really cool and stuck with me, but I was annoyed with myself.
Al Buehler, I'll be back for you.
Wednesday – Rest
I was so tired.
Thursday – 3.7
Nothing to see here; this was just an easy run around campus.
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 5 miles
On Saturday before our second round of guests arrived, I thought I'd attempt some "speedwork." It's annoying to be slow, and speedwork makes me faster. I borrowed an easy workout from the FIRST plan (4x800 with 2 min jogs) and I planned to follow the workout instructions to do the 800s at a 5k pace, around 7:25, with the caveat that I’m out of shape so I'd accept anything under 8:00. After jogging a warmup mile with James to his gym, I looped back toward campus on my own for my 800s. I hit the "lap" button on my watch and started speeding up. When I thought I was close to 7:30-7:25 pace, I checked my watch -- 7:50. I tried to dig for more speed, but it wasn't there. I finished the first 800 in about 3:49 and had to walk for 30 seconds or so before jogging the rest of my rest interval and trying the second one. I was so drenched in sweat, it was burning my eyes. Again, same story: 3:50. During the second one I started feeling clammy and cold, and I knew I was overheating.
Now I feel very zen about the whole thing, but at the time I was cranky and disappointed. I gave myself a little pep talk about how I just got back from my dream trip in Southeast Asia, and I simply haven't put in the work for running lately. It's not complicated and it's also nothing to get pissy about. I haven't run like this in a while, and now I have a lot of work to do. "You have a lot of work to do," I repeated to myself. "Looks like you've got some work ahead!" I said one more time. Then I broke into a (slow) run and started another lap around campus.
Sunday – 4.2
This was one of those mornings where I just wanted to get some easy miles in before it hit 90 and I couldn’t find a hair tie anywhere, so I started my run by running to the store, hair going every which way, to buy a pack of hair ties.
This week I'm definitely prioritizing learning to use my new foam roller, following my training plan exactly, and trying to figure out how to fuel.
How's everyone's training coming along?