Monday, August 27, 2012

Week in Review - Crossing Over A Threshold

Since my running has started to get back into a semblance of what it was pre-baby, I have really been starting to notice my body coming around too.  Dropping a few lbs has helped my easy pace come back to where it should be.  And with that loss of weight, my body feels much more resilient.  I think at first when I was starting to increase the miles again, the extra weight didn't feel so good on my legs.  But now that things are starting to turn, I'm noticing quite a bit more oomph in my step.

So after a slightly slow start on Monday due to feeling like I was hit by a truck from the 10 hr drive the day before, I hopped back on the mileage train for the rest of the week, nailing a run every day.  When it was all said and done, I'd top 50 miles on the week for the first time since Z was born.  And while 50 miles isn't huge in and of itself, with a little perspective, it is a huge deal for me.  It signifies an ability to put in enough miles for me to consider getting into race shape.  A turning point, if you will, from going from training to get fitter to training with the idea of racing.

You see, it wasn't too long ago, while on a much more flexible schedule (pre-baby of course), that I was averaging in the 30-40 miles/week range.  This was mostly dictated by what my body could handle at the time and what I was training for.  With the exception of marathon training, I had no real reason to put in a crazy number of miles above that.  Well that was then.  Now, on a much more compressed time schedule, I'm putting in the work when it counts, and rattling off pretty much all quality runs.  Here is how this week played out:

- Monday - Off, since my body hadn't recovered from 10+ hrs in the car.
- Tuesday - AM - 8 miles to start the day in the morning, with 4-5 5k paced pickups in the middle.  PM - 2 miles easy with Rebecca, Z, and Tucker.
- Wednesday - 6 miles easy with 6 x 30s strides at the end
- Thursday - AM - 6 miles easy with 6 x 30s strides at the end.  Had to push my speedwork till Friday due to lack of time. PM - 3 miles easy.
- Friday - 8 miles with 4 x 1 mi @ threshold pace.
- Saturday - 14 miles with the last 5 mi progressing to slightly faster than marathon pace.
- Sunday - 5 miles easy with 6 x 30s strides at the end.
Total - 52 miles

I'm pretty proud of that week, because I didn't struggle to hit those numbers.  Aside from my usual schedule of waking up just before 5 am so I can get the weekday runs done, its easy to see how I could get in some more from there.  It really is all about just getting it done.

So I enter this week with a renewed sense of what is possible, eager to see if I can keep this streak of solid miles alive.  With the Fall quickly approaching, now is the time to start pushing for fitness gains.  And I feel more ready than ever!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Running Update

Since life has been all about travel and baby lately, I figured I might as well provide an update to the folks that hopefully are still following along.  I do plan to get back into some regular posts around here.  Just gotta get them down and out of my head!

And being that its Friday, nobody wants to read the story of my life, so I'll condense everything into bullets.  Everyone likes bullets, right?

  • My training lately has been all about aiming for consistency.  I've been logging right around 40-45 miles a week, with 1-2 quality sessions.  Primarily, I've been in base training since I don't have any specific races on the horizon, so no reason to step it up.  
  • As I've always stated, base training doesn't mean simply easy miles.  To me, its more about race specificity.  The further one is away from a race, the less specific the training is for that race.  But I also believe that one must continue to include some speedwork.  So I'm really doing one of two things: running slow or running fast.  No marathon paced middle ground stuff.  But running fast doesn't have to mean running track workouts though.  It can simply be strides at the end of any easy run or pickups throughout a longer run, which is how I've been incorporating it into my week.  
  • However, I am trying to figure out what I would like to do once Fall hits.  I would like to run at least a 5k and a 10k.  At the beginning of the year, I set 2 goals - break 19 in the 5k and 40 in the 10k.  I crushed my 5k goal by wining a local 5k back in May and running 18:34.  And with Baby Z coming shortly after, I didn't really have a chance to shoot for the 10k goal.
  • In the process of the early days of Baby Z, we had to take some shortcuts in order to eat when we could and sleep when we could.  As a result, I packed on a few and have been working to shed that post baby weight.  With extra weight costing 1-2s/mile, my paces have slowed pretty much on par with that metric.  Until I get closer to pre-baby (PB...mmmm...peanut butter) weight, I don't think I will be capable of  meeting that goal.  So far since tightening up my diet and sleeping more, I've been able to drop 2 lbs in the last 2 weeks, with probably 5 more lbs to go.  That would get me back to my PB weight, but of course that was still a couple of lbs above my true racing weight.  So I have some work to do.
  • While I know I can run fast at whatever weight I am at, it really is more of a mental thing.  I don't race unless I am mentally ready to give it my all, so if I am not mentally fit, my race will reflect it.  Just gotta keep chipping away and being consistent and I'll get there.  I'm already noticing the results of just those few lbs.
  • This week is looking like it will be my highest mileage since Z was born at somewhere just north of 50 miles.  I started off the week strong, but with a dreaded tempo run scheduled that got pushed off a day, that slightly set that goal back.  I should still be close after my long run tomorrow and Sunday though.  The good news is that my body feels perfect and I am really staying on top of the core and mobility work to ensure things hold up.  I think this one is all just in my head :)
So that's all I've got for now!  Have a great weekend full of workouts and runner's highs!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Travelin' Man

If you haven't noticed by the lack of posts lately (but I have still been active on Twitter, so you can always follow me there!), I've been a bit busy.  Its no surprise that having a kid makes you busier than ever.  But add traveling with a kid and you've upped the ante quite a bit.  In the last four weeks we've been to: California, Delaware Beaches, New York City, and Boston.  Phew! 

Don't get me wrong - I love me some vacation!  I just like when it is spaced out a bit.  Some of the trips are for our personal sanity, but others are for weddings, events, family, and work.  We've essentially been living out of our suitcases, because you get back only to realize 2 days later that its time to start packing for the next trip.  Why bother unpacking?  Except of course to change running clothes.  Nobody likes to have to re-use stinky running clothes.  And I'll be sure to have some running related posts on my whereabouts from each of my trips.  But for now, those posts will have to sit on hold. 

So with our priorities set, we zipped across the country with clean running clothes and a very cooperative and patient baby.  Trust me - when you try to give a car for 10 hours, having a well manner baby is the only way to survive.  Amazingly, we managed to return home from our month long travel bender tired, but happy to have explored the country with our little guy.

When it was all said and done, Z Man has traveled to the following states in just 3 months: Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and California.  3 months...10 states...that's 20% of the US right there folks!  Talk about a lil' traveller!

With that, I've leave you with my favorite photo, which was taken in Rhode Island while having some fun and killing some time.


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