Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Portland-to-Coast; cross-training; 8K

Still catching up from my trip to Portland and very tired so this will be brief.

Here are all my pictures from Portland-to-Coast. PTC is a walking relay from Portland to Seaside, Oregon, which is 132 miles long (212km), and typically done with a team of 12 people doing 2 legs each (24 legs total). Lots of fun, as usual! The lack of training made me a bit slower but none of my teammates seemed to mind. We were still all very fast and won the race. Yup, first out of 400 teams, in 21 hours 33 minutes, 10 minutes faster than we predicted. My times were about 1 min slower than I'd predicted, but overall we were faster than we thought. Though I was slower than I'd like, I know I trained as hard as my body would let me, and I'm happy with how things went.

First leg: 6.81 miles (10.96km, though my Garmin read 11.15, so I suspect it may have been a bit long - and my time was 20 sec slower than I predicted, in part because of that?) - with 1.7 miles (2.67km) uphill - steep, hard uphill! Then...5.1 miles (~8km) downhill. The uphill was 128m in that short distance, equivalent to the tallest building in Salt Lake. Gulp. It was hard, too, and I was slower than I thought - I figured I'd do 6:30/km up that thing, and it was more like 6:40-6:45. Oh well. I was fast coming down, and my Garmin said I averaged 5:55/km for the total distance. My legs got pretty darn tired the last 4km or so; I haven't raced this hard for this far in a while. I was really pushing it, with average HR 165 for the distance. Wow. Garmin data here. 

Second leg: only 3.36 miles (5.4km), with gently rolling hills and one biggish hill at the start. The larger hill was only 18m high (59 feet), but over a short distance (600m or so) and my legs were tired. I definitely had some of the weird soreness after sitting in the van after the first leg, and it was quite annoying. I'm sure that didn't help my leg speed - I felt heavy-legged and a bit like I was walking through sludge. Hard to push myself, but I did push as hard as my sorry legs would go. Waddle waddle :(. Total elevation gain (and loss, as the end of the leg was at the same elevation as the start) was 31m (102 feet). Definitely not flat, and not that easy when tired. I was slower than the first leg by my Garmin, at 6:08/km, but the team spreadsheet, which goes by the official mileage, had me at 9:40/mile for the 2nd leg and 9:43/mile for the first leg - faster for the first. I dunno. All I do know is that I was tired, did as well as I could, and was so glad to be done. The weird soreness was much less after my second leg, and didn't bother me at all on the flight home. Whew. Garmin data here. 

Favorite picture from PTC below. My form looks good in that photo. Hope it was that good for the whole leg. Probably not so much on that hard uphill!

Sunday: rest day
Monday: x-train - stationary bike 20 min, ride bike to work.
Tuesday: very easy easy easy 8K with my friend Alex, a RWer from NYC who is visiting to do a couple marathons. He was tired from his marathon on the weekend, and I was tired from PTC. I could have gone faster alone but didn't mind too much going slowly. Did 8K at 6:57/km; then was to do 5x200 but because we were so slow I had to stop after one and get home ASAP to make sure the kids got to school on time. Oops.
Wednesday: x-train - elliptical 25 min, stationary bike 20 min.

I feel like I'm recovering OK. Not perfect, but not too bad. Not feeling sicker, but maybe not a lot better either. Maintaining, which for now is OK. I'll take it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

cross-training; 4x1km

Sunday: 30 min elliptical. My legs felt pretty well-recovered from the 5K. Hardly any DOMS and no weird soreness. I was quite fatigued by about 5pm, though, and never really recovered. Went to bed early and that helped.


Monday: bike to gym, do 35 min elliptical, bike to work. Legs felt fine. Fatigued a bit in late pm, but dinner perked me up and I felt tired but not too bad later.


Today: warm-up at track, 1600m with strides in 10:11 with ave HR 139. I felt a bit sluggish to start but just went easy (3:19 for first 500m) and then felt better. It was warm out (22C, 72F) but a bit windy and overcast. Just as I got ready to do my first 1km interval, it started raining lightly. It kept doing that pretty much until the end of my workout, but it actually wasn't unpleasant - it was cooling, though I was wishing for my baseball cap to keep the water out of my eyes.

The intervals: I was to do 4x1km, with the first and third @85% effort and the second and fourth at a hard effort. The first one felt good. I liked doing 85% effort :). I did 2:54.5 and 2:58.3 for 5:52.8. I rested for 3 minutes in between, because that felt right for my first stab at intervals in a while. The second interval I did in 2:48.7 and 2:48.8 for 5:37.5. I was pretty happy with that, as it seems I haven't done a 1km that fast in a while (though I'd have to check). I've mostly been doing fartleks, and the first 1km has been slower on those. The third interval (@85%, though seems like the data says I was working harder than the first one?) was 2:52.6 and 2:57.6 for 5:50.2. Nice. Then a little rest and the last 1km at hard effort, in 2:49.1, 2:51.8 for 5:40.9. My legs were admittedly a bit tired by then. Yeah, weak, but I'm working on coming back and it's going to take a while to get my endurance back. I'm just going to have to be patient.

Adriana showed up about the middle of my 2nd interval, and did a quick warm-up before totally smoking me on the last two :). It was nice to have someone to chase. I didn't chase too hard on the 3rd interval (@85%) but I did on the last one, and she beat me by a long shot. She did about 5:28 on the last one. Must be nice to be 19 years old...and it's nice to have someone fast to chase, so I'm OK with that.

Now, after lunch, I feel OK. My legs are a little sore, but I think it's just the normal post-workout stiffness and nothing more. I hope :). I'm not terribly tired, but we'll see how that goes as the evening progresses.

Garmin data here for 4x1km

Saturday, August 16, 2014

5K Run in Rhythm

Yesterday: cross-training - elliptical 30 min; bike to work and back.

Today: 5K Run in Rhythm - a free 5k at the U of U, where I work. Free is hard to resist! Calvin (at left with Swoop, the Utes mascot) wanted to do it too. Yeah, I knew it would be hilly (68m elevation gain ... then 68m downhill - that's 228ft, for my American compatriots who are less metrically inclined). Very hilly indeed. The U is one giant hill, as I well know from cycling to work on a daily basis in the summer. But Calvin really, really wanted to race, and how could I say no? In addition, I needed speed work this week, and I wasn't feeling up to it until today, honestly.

Digression. Coach asked me to report how bad I've been feeling this week. Honestly, the muscle pain is about 10% of what it was at its worst. That's not much, which is good, but it's there, which is a bit disturbing. The fatigue, on the other hand, has been probably 40% of what it was at its worst. I've been pretty darn tired. Sleepy after work, and late afternoon/evening lethargy that doesn't wear off after I have dinner.

Back to the race. I planned to race it for speed work and see how things were - if I felt muscle pain, I'd back off. Calvin and I warmed up for a short while - 1km only, in case my muscles were tired - with some strides. We felt pretty good :). I saw lots of friends there - Leah, Scott, and Sandi (at left, below) from Wasatch Walkers, LingYan and LiuLei from the lab (at right), and Amanda and Caleb (Caleb and Calvin, at right, below) from church. Chatted with Leah, Scott, and Sandi a lot before the race and enjoyed it. Weather was warmish at 23C (73F) and a little humid (36%) but pretty much a non-factor.

The gun went off and it was CROWDED at the start. There is a small tunnel under the road near the start and it was congested. I probably lost at least 15-20 seconds in the first 500m (3:37 on my watch! UPHILL!) going slowly. After that, the congestion was minimal and didn't impact my race. Predictably, the uphill part was slow going - The first 2.3km uphill were in 14:56. Turns out the race was short - the last 2.28km downhill (yup, only 4.58km by my Garmin? And 4.6 by another runner's Garmin? was a FREE race) were in 12:44 for a total of 27:40 (my watch has 27:52 but the chip said 27:40 which I'm sure is accurate). So, it it had been the full 5k I'd have been about 30:12, and minus the 15-20 sec for congestion I'd have been upper 29s, which is good for that course in my current shape. I'll take it. Average HR 163, and Garmin data here.

The best part? I felt good after the race, and have felt good all day, despite a busy day with birthday parties, weeding, and not much rest. I am sure I'm going to crash about 8pm :) but oh well! I am just hoping fervently that I'm not relapsing. Trying to take it easy and hoping for the best. Portland-to-Coast is next Friday-Saturday!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

not-so-good week

I've had very low energy this week. I've been very tired, not the severe fatigue I had last year, but very very tired. In addition, I've definitely had some of the weird muscle soreness. Not bad, very minor, but it's back. I hope this is just a small setback, so I'm taking it very easy.

Monday - biked to work.

Tuesday - did 6K in 37:56 for 6:19/km with ave HR 146. Felt very tired.

Wednesday - elliptical 20', bike to work.

Today - was going to RW 8K, but felt tired. Did 5K instead in 31:56 for 6:23/km with ave HR 142, and then swam laps for 20 min tonight to get some more cardio but using different muscles. I had some of the weird soreness today at work while sitting. Just barely noticeable, but there, and my legs were very heavy.

I am really hoping not pushing it and sleeping extra will help me feel better ASAP. I really do not want to be sick again. Not right before Portland-to-Coast :(.

Saturday, August 09, 2014


15K today. It went all right. Not as good as last week, but it was a bit hotter than up north in Glacier NP and it's been a busy and tiring week for me getting back into the swing of things, so I am not surprised.

Weather: 64F (18C) and 56% humidity at the start; about 72F (22C) and 46% humidity when we finished. I say "we" because my friend Erica, a runner, came along with me, which was SO marvelous. She did the Canyonlands 1/2 with me in March, and it's just so good to have company on a long day. Especially on a day like today, when we were both pretty tired from 10K on, and really pushed each other to finish.

The first 7.5K felt OK. Not great, not bad. The last 7.5K and especially the last 3K was admittedly a bit of a slog. I didn't totally die or anything, but my legs were heavy and I was tired. Arrrrgh. I'm still SO WEAK. 15K is nothing, and yet right now I guess it's not. I need to be patient - I was sick for over a year, and it might take a year to fully recover, assuming that I am actually still recovering. I think I am. From 12K on my legs were a bit sore - perhaps a bit of the weird soreness? Perhaps not? I am not sure. They feel OK now, a few hours later, so I am thinking that I'm OK and it was just regular muscle soreness. I'm a bit paranoid at the moment.

Anyway, total time was 1:36:31 for 6:26/km with ave HR much higher than last week at 156. I noticed I was working harder while I was out, and attributed it to it being warmer today than last week. I'm not sure that's it, but I'm hoping it's not something more sinister like I'm getting sick again. I need to take it easy this afternoon and not do too much. Hahahahaha famous last words...

Garmin data here. 

Friday, August 08, 2014

angry cross-training

The first part of my cross-training was non-angry. I went to the gym and did the elliptical for 30 min. When I got home, I took Calvin to camp then came home to clean up and get to work. Long story short, but got roped into taking Grace to camp, which made me late for work. Very late...because not only did she have a giant tantrum, but she didn't bring sunscreen and so I had to stop and buy some, and in addition I didn't know drop-off today was at the park instead of at her school, and the park is farther. Grrrrr. It just wasn't a good morning. Add in being a bit tired and just cranky at myself in general, and my bike ride to work ended up being a very angry ranting-type bike ride. I biked fast and furious and tried to get out all my emotions physically. It sorta worked. Arrived at work (fast! under 21 min for the 5.35km uphill!) and still had a nice vent to our undergraduate help, who is a very good listener :). I feel better now, after being at work and getting some good stuff done. It helps that my PCR worked, I found 3 founders in my fish screen at midday, and in general work is going well today. 

Glad to be feeling better now. Taking a quick break from entering credit card purchases into the system (one of the exciting duties of a lab manager) to blog and have a latte. Now back to work...

Tomorrow: 15K with a friend. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

musings, and 5K fartlek

It's very difficult to get motivated to get back in shape. It's time-consuming, and the week after a vacation it's hard to get in high gear again to do all of the things I normally do. I was supposed to do this workout yesterday, but after babysitting 4 kids Tuesday night until 11pm, and then our dog waking me at 2am with incessant barking, it just wasn't going to happen. I postponed it to this morning.

This morning, I woke up and doubted myself. A lot. It was one of those mornings that I have (not infrequently) with a lot of negative thoughts spinning through my head. I try to tune them out and turn them off, but it's challenging not to dwell on them. This morning's sample: "You're wasting your time. You're not getting back into shape. You're eating too much crap and not losing weight, and deluding yourself that you can racewalk again. You won't be ready for Portland-to-Coast. You can't do a sub-28 minute 5K in October. Why are you bothering?" I went to the track anyway, and when I arrived the usual gate I go through was locked, because they are resurfacing a good portion of the one end of the field. It took me a while to walk all around and find an entrance that was open.

At least the weather was good. It was chilly for early August (but perfect workout temperature) at 58F (about 14C) and sunny, calm, and clear. I did 1500m warm-up with 2x100m strides and felt OK but not great. I was glad to be on a flat track with accurate 100m marks - helps to maintain pacing for this workout. Despite the help, the workout wasn't as good as the last two weeks. OK, well it was basically the same. I did 29:51 for the 5K (with ave HR 161, so I was working hard), but my medium-effort 500s were slower, indicative of still-poor fitness. Arrrgh. My fast 500s were 2:50-2:55, and my medium-effort 500s were 3:04-3:09 (the last one was NOT 3:10 as my watch shows, because I pushed stop a second too late). I'm disappointed that I'm not seeing faster progress, but I know at my age it is going to be slow. I'm just not patient. I should be happy that I get to work out again, but I'm just impatient!

Today's workout felt pretty hard. I want to be ready to move up to an 8K fartlek, but I'm not sure I am. I am not sure I'd have made 8K today. Probably wouldn't have. But I did OK for the 5K, I guess. Just have to get my stride back.

Garmin data here. 

After my workout, I rode my bike to work. I was trying to prove to myself that I am still tough. Or something. That hill is a hard one, and I made it up pretty quickly. GRRRR!