I can’t believe it’s finally here: the final week before the somewhat arbitrary date I picked to conclude the past five months of “base building”. At the end of this week I will have run the furthest distance since this time last year when I ran (and should have DNF’d) the Lake Effect Half Marathon. After reading my posts leading up to the race, I talked about all the pain I didn’t feel and how awesome I was doing, but who was I kidding? I distinctly remember feeling sore during my runs with my ankle and it always felt “stuck”, not to mention leading into the race I knew something was wrong . I don’t really remember the reason I acted like everything was fine; maybe it was fine but I have horrid post-race memories that have made me feel like it was so much worse than it was? Or maybe I was in the mindset that if I blogged like everything was fabulous, then sunshine and rainbows would come out of my ass? All I do know is that things started to go very downhill the week before the race, so let’s hope that this upcoming week is exponentially better than a year ago.
This week was emotionally draining. J and I had a wake on Friday and funeral Saturday morning, so the ending of the week was exhausting. We postponed our Valentine’s Day celebration due to the somber mood we knew we’d be in and it was for the best. Hashtag sleeping by eleven pm. Despite the emotional week, I stuck it out and hit up the treadmill three times this week, plus a night of CrossFit: Endurance. I’m just as shocked as y’all must be! Three runs? Who am I?
Monday – Fartlek (2 miles)
After my first treadmill run flopped last week, I thought this one had to be better. Not so much. In fact, I thought I might have discovered a new thing called treadmill motion sickness (new only because everyone laughed at my when I brought it up). I was just going to run an even paced few miles, but got bored fast and decided to have a little Swedish speed play. I didn’t run too fast during any speedy portions (6.5 mph max) but I nearly lost my entire breakfast and lunch all over the treadmill. I was not looking forward to having some kind of nickname on my second day at the new gym, so I just called it quits.
Tuesday – Rest Day
My Mom won club level seats to the Sabres game and she couldn’t go due to having to pick my sister up from work (at the Sabres game – the irony) so she passed them on to J and I. It was awesome to sit in these seats and have somebody bring us food and drinks, but give me the 300s any day. I want to cheer, I want to talk hockey, I don’t want to hear businessmen talking work.
Wednesday – CrossFit: Endurance (1:00)
This is my favorite part of every week. It forces me to concentrate on drills and reinforces things I learned in PT and need to dust off. Plus it ensures that if I go to class, I’m doing something physical therapy related for the most part. Just because I graduated PT in June, it doesn’t mean I never need to practice again. This time, PT Chris was actually at the box and working with us a little bit for some additional drills: marching, marching skips, and vertical skips. After the drills and some core exercises, we partnered up for a rowing only WOD since 400m repeats is out of the question in this weather. Alternating every 400m with the same intensity as though we were running, we rowed 2400m with our partner.
Thursday – Easy Run (4.5 miles)
Wednesday didn’t involve too many plyometric drills with triple flexion and extension, so I was able to run without issue the following day. If I can find a TV show to get lost in, the miles click away. I tried to watch downhill skiing but it was making me nauseated, so I settled on Forensic Files. I kept the pace really easy (10:30/mile) with exception to the last half mile when I picked it up ever so slightly.
Friday and Saturday were rest days due to the wake and funeral. I’m always amazed when things like this happen, you realize how much smaller Buffalo is than you already knew it was. I ran into multiple people from completely opposite aspects of my life for the same man. Then it makes me think about how many times I could have and probably did pass by J long before we ever met. Ironically, we met at work despite all those personal connections we had years before.
We ended up having an early night on Saturday (we didn’t really exchange any gifts this year) because we were exhausted, which might have had something to do with the drinks I was slinging back. Hey, it’s the only way to watch the Millrose Games when you’re not actually running, ya know? Sunday’s beer fueled run was probably the best I’ve had in months though, who could have predicted that?
Sunday – Easy Run (4 miles)
After feeling lazy all morning, staying in bed until 11 even though I was awake at 8, and eating pizza logs for breakfast… I willed myself into the sub zero world and drove to the gym. Since I’ve been going after work, I’ve been walking into a cluster of people but today was peaceful and quiet. I also finally got over my fear of stretching/warming-up around other people. I feel like a huge goof doing my running exercises plus gyms make me anxious (go figure, even after teaching at one for a year!) but today I just waltzed over to the mat and did my thing, not even caring that I had to share it with two equally awkward lookin’ dudes trying to figure out the proper way to do a sit-up (hint: don’t, they’re really kind of an awful exercise for your body!)
I ended up running a little faster than Thursday, but felt oddly comfortable. I did notice my knees lightly brushing each other and although they never cause chafing, it’s something I know to work on more. I’m not entirely sure what I can do to help (I’ll bring it up at CrossFit), but I am wondering how much of it is genetics with my knock knees. I could concentrate on making sure they didn’t touch, but then I felt like I was landing from one side to the other side with each step. On the bright side, I did manage to focus on my arm swing; it’s getting a little more comfortable with driving my elbows straight back!
This week was my highest mileage since last year at just a measly 10.5 miles, but I’m happier and healthier. I paid close attention to my increases, I listened to my body, I incorporated strength training and yoga… I’ve just been so much smarter this time around. Yes, my feet and ankles still get a little sore during some runs as I focus on various parts of my form, but at least this time I know the difference between my tissues getting used to more stress and tendonitis.
It’s going to be a huge challenge to finish this half marathon on Sunday, but I want to remain smart and level headed. I do have a game plan in my head, but more on that this week. I’m just really looking forward to concluding this “base building” phase and adding in some speed work. I’ll still ultimately be “base building” until I can get a good 15-17 miles under my belt every week, but in terms of my history with a base? I’m here and these legs are ready to be challenged.