Pittsburgh Base Building: Week 1 of 8

One week of building this base back up and 8 more to go.  As I keep running, I’m still surprised at how quickly fitness can come right back when you have a solid base from before — minus hills.  Hills must be always maintained or you lose the ability to run them.  I’m not being dramatic or anything.  Damn hills.

Base Building
Building up, week by week

Monday and Tuesday: Rest
My plan started off with a rest day on Monday, which I followed despite having Saturday and Sunday off of the previous week.  Unfortunately, as I was a bit concerned about, that decision turned into a bad one.  Monday, I could have woken up comfortably but I chose not to figuring my watch would be here in the afternoon and I’d be eager to run Tuesday.    Well, my watch wasn’t here on Monday and Tuesday I woke up feeling more exhausted than I have in weeks.  It was the kind of exhaustion where I was struggling to focus and make sense of my words at work and two cups of coffee (as opposed to my usual one cup) weren’t cutting it.  It was rough.

So after two days off over last weekend, I started my training plan with a rest day and missing my first run.  Oops?

For a dog who loathes water, he loves drinking out of the stream.
For a dog who loathes water, he loves drinking out of the stream.

Wednesday: 30 minute run in the AM, 1 hour hike in the PM
My watch ended up coming on Tuesday and I spent all night playing with it.  I had taken Wednesday off from work for no good reason other than I had one more day of paid time off available and I decided I’d be okay using it instead of carrying it over in 2016.  I had to sign some paperwork to move forward with the house stuff so it worked out well.  In the morning, I took Dunks for an easy 30 minute run.  He was already a little tired because of J’s exercise with him the day before, so 30 minutes was the max we were both willing to do.  After my appointment at the bank, we headed out to Chestnut Ridge for a hike.  With it being a Wednesday and a cloudy, misty one at that, we practically had the place to ourselves.  After an hour, J was tired and Dunkin was winding down.

Wednesday's run -- notice my favorite field on the bottom?
Wednesday’s Dunkin run – notice my favorite field on the bottom?  Beers earned!

Thursday: 37 minute run in the AM, CrossFit (Fran) in the PM
With my unexpected Tuesday rest day, I ended up running Thursday morning to make up for it.  I’m not sure what happened, but I dazed out and went about 2 blocks further than I wanted.  It was fine time-wise for my training plan, but put me on a slight time crunch to get in the shower by the time I wanted.

After work, I went to CrossFit as I planned.  I had to A) show off my watch and B) buy tickets to the holiday party.  It ended up being a benchmark workout known as Fran.  Now, Fran and I have a history.  A history where I always take a hiatus and come back to the gym on the day we’re doing Fran.  Screw you, Fran!

FranSo for those of you not familiar with CrossFit, there are certain workouts named after people for various reasons (many of which are fallen heros — killed in the line of duty).  Fran is one of the benchmarks and known as one of, if not the, hardest workout.  It sounds simple on paper: thrusters (front squat with a push press) and pull-ups, all done for time, in three sets – 21 reps, 15 reps, 9 reps.  So you’ll start with 21 thrusters, then 21 pull-ups, then 15 thrusters, etc.

Power Snatch technique
The Power Snatch

After our warm-up working on the various components of snatches, starting with the snatch deadlift, and finally practicing power snatches, I was already tired.  Until we started actually snatching, I was working up to 50 lbs from 33 lbs, then I just used the bar for power snatches.  When it came time to do Fran, I tried to go for 40 lbs, but ended up using just the bar (33 lbs) and since I can’t do a pull-up, I did ring rows.  I always thought using a band to assist in pull-ups would help me get to an unassisted pull-up but all the coaches insist ring rows will help most.  By the way, scaled, I completed Fran in 8:55.  I came home and my arms were absolutely jello.  The soreness hit the following morning and lasted into Sunday night which was mostly in my quads and shoulders.  Note to self: stop taking breaks from your weightlifting!

Friday: Rest
I knew CrossFit would leave me sore but still intended to run (at least until I went to class), but after doing Fran, I figured I would just rest on Friday.  Dunks was snuggled in bed with us and didn’t look eager to get up for a run, so I used that as a nice excuse to catch an extra hour of sleep.

Saturday: 60 minute run, 90 min Thai Yoga massage
I was scheduled to run for myself but because of the way things worked out, I had to take Dunks.  Since I was running slow with him, I opted to go as far as he wanted instead of the 30 minutes on my plan.  We hit some hills, enjoyed the fact that it’s still in the 40s.  In Buffalo.  In December.  It was a relaxing run, after the first 15 minutes when he settled down, at least!

J came over later so I could go get my Thai Yoga massage, which was 90 minutes of much needed stretching.  My massage therapist has recently gotten certified (or trained, or whatever it is) through level 2 and has been looking for more people to practice on.  I gladly offered my assistance, who would pass up a cheap massage, especially something I desperately need — stretching.  It was a really interesting experience, you’re fully clothed and it’s a lot of rocking, pressure, and assisted stretching.  I could see this being just as beneficial as a regular massage in training; I think it’s worth it if you get a chance to go somewhere!

Sunday – 35 minute solo hilly run, 2 hour walk
Woof.  Sundays are usually my relaxing days but I’m trying to turn them into my long run days, especially once football season ceases.  I got up late and put myself in a little pickle with timing.  The Bills game was on at one, Chestnut Ridge is about 25 minutes from me, I was driving towards the stadium and I had to stop at the store on the way home.  I thankfully didn’t hit any traffic and started my run a little after 11am, leaving enough time to fit everything in.

Chestnut Ridge Elevation
Elevation profile of Sunday’s run — preparing for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon!

The run was hard.  It’s always hard to run at Chestnut Ridge when I haven’t been regularly adding it into my training.  The first half was mostly downhill and the smallest uphills were so draining that I nearly walked at the top of some.  Because of that, I already had it in my head to turn around early, conveniently before I hit Mother Hill.  I didn’t have a heart rate monitor on (not-so-secretly hoping J gets a new one for me for Christmas) but I’m pretty sure I was in zone 4 and 5 for much of the run.  To top it off, I forgot to puff my inhaler before starting and I was wheezing.  It just wasn’t a good run, though my times look somewhat decent.

After the Bills win, I took Dunks out for a walk thinking he’d be content with a half hour or so.  Sundays are Snugdays in this household and he abides by that with all his might… except this week.  I could tell after the first 30 minutes of our walk that he was going to take some time to tire out… and two hours later, he outlasted me.  I was hungry, tired (sore hip from this morning), and brought him back with all his excitement and energy.  Sorry bud, it’s Sunday Snugday!

It wasn’t a perfect follow-the-plan week, but as I mentioned last time, I’m mostly doing what I have been doing all along, it’s just written down.  I increased my mileage by about three miles (from 11 to 14), which has been pretty steady since the marathon.  Had I stuck true to my plan, we’d probably be looking at 17-18 miles for the week and maybe I’m not quite ready for that again yet.  My hip might agree.

The weather is looking amazing for next week so I’ll just keep enjoying the weather while I can.  I cannot believe we haven’t had any snowfall yet here in Buffalo.  According to one forecast, it’s supposed to hit SIXTY DEGREES on Sunday.  Um, what?  I do not know how to dress for this.  Seriously, I see 33 degrees in the morning and I way overdress because it’s not what I’m used to in the winter.  It’s a warm 33 degrees, not the frigid, arctic feeling air blowing in your face 33 degrees.  It’s a good problem to have, right?

This week: 1 hour CrossFit, 2:42 running (14 miles), 3:15 walking (9 miles)

Next week:
Training McMillan


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Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

10 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Base Building: Week 1 of 8”

  1. Good week of training even if hiccup in beginning! I need to find some hillier routes to do now that I live kind of in the burbs…odd to me I got more hills in living in the city! I like seeing that gradual build in your running miles, SMARTTTT!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I only started adding hills to my runs a few months ago… I remember the first month or so was just horrible. I probably would have avoided them forever if my goal race next year didn’t have a few substantial hills!

    I can’t believe it’s supposed to hit 60 there! It’s been warm here, too, but it’s supposed to cool down and snow over the weekend. Ugh.


    1. I’m yearning for the day I can run through this park with ease again. I feel like hills are a good fitness tester… one day, you can’t run the hills without a break then a couple months later and you’re cruising!


  3. I hope my fitness returns as quickly as yours is! I am starting marathon training SOON but I still have a week to just do my thing. I’m trying to get my legs back a little and building a bit of volume this week. We’ll see how that goes. Great job this week!!! You are motivating me to get out and get moving again!


  4. I’m glad to see your fitness is returning so quickly. Hills…ugh I feel you on that. I’ve pretty much stopped running hills due to where I live and I definitely feel it during hilly races.


  5. Ugh hills. My Sunday route included just one small-ish hill and I was surprised how much it slowed me down. I definitely need to get back in the routine of running some hillier routes before my real training commences.

    I’m glad to see that you are bouncing back so quickly!


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