Friday, November 2, 2012

Catching up on things

When over a week passes between blogs, usually there's some sort of explanation.  Not really this time, but I do have a few things to catch up on.  Key thoughts of the blog: fartlek, swim, track, hurricane
First of all, thank you all for the positive comments in the Army Ten Miler blog.  It felt like it was one of the best races of my (young) career so far, and I was on a big high for a while.  My legs were also so trashed for a few days after.  I'm used to some soreness for a couple of days after a hard race, but this was a new level.  I did have a workout to do 2 days after the race, and the warm-up for that was truly a shuffle, and I wasn't sure if the legs were going to be able to pick it up during the fartlek segment: 5 minutes hard, 3 minutes easy, 4 minutes hard, 2.5 minutes easy, 3 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy, 2 minutes hard, 90 seconds easy, 1 minute harder, 30 seconds easy, 2 minutes harder, 90 seconds easy, 3 minutes harder, 2 minute easy, 4 minutes harder, 2.5 minutes easy, 5 minutes hard, 3 minutes easy, 2.5 mile cool down for a total of 11 miles.  And in case you wondered how I kept track of those numbers, I wrote them all on my hand.  I often need to do the same thing with my track workouts.  Anyways, I was able to get my legs moving during the workout, but certainly ran a mighty slow cool down too.  This is a nice speed workout to do on the roads - it takes about 45 minutes to run that middle segment - I start my watch and just go (find a trail though - you don't want to get held up with stop lights all of the time).
In my cross-training, I tend to rotate between swimming and biking.  There is no rhyme or reason behind it, but I'll generally spend about a month doing one sport, and then go back to the other.  I think both are complementary and offer different benefits.  Anyways, I had a killer swim last week.  In all of my swims, I cover 2000 yards, and it tends to range between 41-44 minutes on any given day.  There's no real change of pace - maybe the pace slows toward the end, but that's about it.  But on Friday, I swam broke 40 minutes for the 2k swim for the first time - 39:50!  I was super excited.  While speed in cross training is not really a huge factor, it is nice to see these improvements in a sport that is still relatively new to me.  And no, no thoughts of a triathlon yet.
October ended with 154 miles, which has been close to the norm for the past year.  My final big workout was on Halloween.  I even had on black and orange to match.  I've done this workout before, and it is a challenging one, designed to get you used to changing gears midway.  Now, most of my workouts involve accelerating the pace as the workout progresses, so that's not new.  
2.5 mile warm-up, 1.5 miles continuous on the track (alternating 800s 3:18, 3:08, 3:21), 2 lap jog, 1.5 miles continuous on the track (alternating 3:07, 3:30, 3:07), 2 lap jog, 2 x 800 (3:09, 3:03) with 1 lap recovery after each, 2.5 mile cool down for a total of 10.5 miles.  
It is very hard to have to kick and pick things up like that midway through an interval!  And recognizing how to shift back and forth from 6:48 to 6:19 pace is not easy.  And then those last 2 isolated 800s are just a good way to push really hard at the end (and at least mentally easy to know that is only 2 laps this time, instead of 6).  It was great to wrap things up with this hard workout.  I have 2 more smaller workouts on Saturday and Tuesday, but those are just geared toward staying sharp and fresh at this point.
The Veteran's Day 10k is a week from Sunday - my last big race of 2012.  I will do a couple of holiday races after that, but this is the last one on the official training calendar.  I am looking forward to going out and demolishing my old 10k PR.  At this point in the season, I've run a solid 5k, 5 miler, and 10 miler, but no good 10k.  Yet.  
And finally, a note on Hurricane Sandy.  We were fortunate in DC - never lost power or anything.  School was closed for 2 days, so I stayed up with BF's family in Keedysville, MD.  I feel terrible about all of the devastation in New York and New Jersey.  I'm also a bit conflicted about the fact that the NYC Marathon is still happening.  If I was doing it, I would be completely bummed if it was cancelled.  But the fact of the matter is that I'm not convinced that the energy and resources are worth going to the marathon when so much rebuilding needs to take place.  I think it's good that the NYRR is pledging to donate over $2.6 million to NY relief, and are going to use private resources to deal with transportation and other logistical issues.  But at least at the heart of it all are thousands of runners aiming to get there, toe the line, and hear "New York, New York" play as they cross the starting line of the largest marathon in the world.

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