Monday, March 26, 2012

First training block

I survived my first training block of the year.  I was really nervous about my extended break and leaving only 12 weeks to Boise.  Would my endurace come back?  Would I be strong and fast?  Injuries?

I'm probably not going into this in the smartest way, but I figure this will be an interesting test of what I can get my body to do.  Its also an interesting test in seeing what (if any) muscle memory I have.  I spent countless hours last year training and then a good 4 months of not doing much of anything.  My base has been a big question in my head - and how much and how quickly can I load it up for training.  I really wanted to push myself this week, and in particular, this weekend to see how I responded.  I wanted to see how quickly I recovered, what was sore, and if there were any signs of injury.

My main concern is my shin splints and calves for running.  My calves are tight.  So tight that my feet go numb while I run - it's a fun feature.  I've been getting ART done on my legs since early February.  It hurts.  Its basically a guy (ok, a trained and licenced chirpractor) digging his thumbs into your legs, while moving X joint through a range of motion.  The idea is to break up any scar tissue or adhesions which are causing the injury.  The dude leaves indentations into my inside shin.  Its impressive.  And painful.
Its kinda hard to see, but there's some pretty sweet bruising up along my shin.
Good news is that the ART seems to be working on my shin splits.  Not so great news is that he's not taking my calf tighness very seriously (or at least in my non-medical opinon, he's not hitting all of the right spots).  So, I may need to see a chiropractor who does Graston Technique.  I had it done at a race expo a few months back.  Lets just say that it resembles a Klingon version of brass knuckles and they use this "blade" to "massage" the muscle that needs attention.  Fun times!  Why am I doing this to myself again?

Anyways, back to my training week.  Focus this week was running.  I wanted to push things and see how my legs responded.

Tuesday - 50 min run
Wed - brick: 50 min bike with heavy intervals, 30 min run
Thurs - supposed to bike, but I was wiped and still a bit sick
Fri - swim
Saturday - 3 hr ride, all zone 2-3
Sunday - 2 hr run

My training calendar 2 weeks ago was completely blank.  Its either all ass or no ass with me!

Saturday I rode from basically my house to Cherry Creek, then I followed the Cherry Creek trail to the Denver Country Club and turned around.  It wasn't a very hard ride (for me... athough I nearly killed my friend.  her first time on a bike and I took her on a 3 hr tour of Denver!).  This day was more about time on the bike and getting used to riding again. 

Random sidenote: we are having record-breaking temperatures this week.  I actually rode in shorts and a short-sleeved jersey.  I really can't recall ever being able to wear so little clothing on any of my IMTX rides last year.  The irony!  Also, I did pretty good with the sunscreen application.  I have a very mild line mid-bicep on both arms and a tiny little red stripe above my ass.  I thought my jersey was long enough... apparently I thought wrong.

Then after the bike ride, I went out on the town!  Will had some coupon to Renegade Brewing for a free taster flight and a free growler.  It was awesome.

L -> R: pale, belgian strong, triple IPA, Scottish wee heavy, poblano lager, Rye IPA, blonde
Notice the accidental awesomeness of the glasses reflecting on the bar.
While we were out, I wanted to head over to Denver Beer Company to see if they had any of their ever elusvie Graham Cracker Porter on tap.  It seems that whenever we are over there, its out.  This beer is one of my top ten beers, I think.  Very tasty.
amazing.  I want more
Then it was off to the Avalanche vs Canucks game.  And for some strange reason (read: beers) I wanted some day-glo nachos with jalepenos.  They tasted good at the time... not exactly good on the stomach for a morning run the next day.

My (very rambly) point in including all of this extra-curricular activity is just that.  HIM training allows me to actually have a life.  No way would I have spent the afternoon/evening last March drinking beer and going to a hockey game.  It's something I need to consider when thinking about IMCDA in 2013.

Sunday was a 2 hour run.  I wasn't so sure how this would go, mainly since the last time I ran that long was in October 2011.  My most recent long run was a week prior, for 1 hour.  So, perhaps doubling my long run (and more than doubling my weekly mileage) wasn't so smart.  I packed up my gear and headed out, feeling slightly hungover and with a pretty unhappy stomach (stupid nachos).  The plan was to just run and listen to my body.  Give it 30 minutes and decide if I should head back.  This is how I approach most of my runs - give it 15-30 minutes and if things still feel bad, then turn around and go home.  But at least get out the door and give it a shot.  Not that motivating myself to get out the door is easy, but so much of this stuff is mental.

After 30 minutes of running, I actually felt pretty good.  I had started an hour later than planned (it was cold!) and I was a bit worried about it getting hot.  Fortunately, the cloud cover held and it was pleasant out.  My plan shifted to running ~45 minutes and then turning around.  That would give me a 1:30 run and I could add more miles by the house if I wanted.  45 minutes turned into 50 and then I turned around.

I'm trying out new nutrition this year, since I had such awful stomach issues after IMTX.  So, I'm trying out First Endurance EFS on the bike (Grape flavor) and Liquid Shot for the run.  The idea with Liquid Shot is that its similar to a gel but easier to digest.  I got Mixed Berry and Vanilla flavors to try out.  Keep in mind that you also have to drink some water with the Liquid Shot (like you would with a gel).  This whole one bottle for water, one bottle for nutrition is complicated for solo long runs. 
fits in the palm of your hand
I've seen people cram the thing in their tops during races so both of their hands are free.  While standing in my kitchen, I tried that and realized that I wouldn't be very happy doing that for 2 hours.  Tried storing it up the leg of my compression shorts.  Nope.  Then briefly down the back of my shorts, realizing they'd quickly migrate downwards.  So I had no choice but to bust out my handy fuel belt.  I dumped the Shot in an empty container - the stuff is thicker than I thought it would be.  Its still liquid, but more like a thin-ish honey consistency.  My other 2 bottles on the belt were water, 1/hour of running.  Kind of a pain for training, but during races (where water is available every mile), I can put the Liquid Shot stuff in my Nathan 10 oz handheld and be just fine.

Back to my Sunday run.... so in order to juggle both the Liquid Shot and my water, I would stop every 2 miles and take a swig from each flask.  Normally, I'd do this while running, but considering its early, I decided to walk.  Besides it was usually under 0.1 mile of walking.  It helped keep things reasonable too, since its been a while since I've ran this far.  Mile 6 was a slightly longer break.  I was getting warm so I had to take off my long sleeve shirt.  My first water bottle was empty, so I had to swap some stuff around.  I ended up not clicking in my front (now full) bottle all the way, so it crashed to the pavement and broke the top.  At least one of my two bottles were empty, so I had a spare lid.... 

At mile 9, the trail intersected with my subdivision and I was feeling good.  I decided to run an add'l half mile out (and then back) to bring my run to 10 miles.  Sweet!

Overall, my pace wasn't awful (it wasn't good, either!).  I didn't take any extra un-planned walk breaks and I ran up every (very small) hill.  All in all it was a success.  Then I had my recovery drink, took a shower and then an ice bath.  These new kitties are not familiar with me taking ice baths.  They were pretty concerned by all of my yelling when I got in the tub.

I have never met a cat that loves water as much as Zipper.....
Legs felt good but I was a zombie for the rest of the day.  I made sure to roll my legs out with my Stick before bed, and other than a tiny bit of hip flexor soreness, I'm good to go.

Gives me hope for the next 10 weeks.  Maybe Boise will be ok.

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