Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Trainer's Trying To Kill Me... Again

My personal trainer Donnie is great because there's not a workout that we ever truly repeat. Every workout is based on what's been happening in my life and my training leading up to it and what run workouts and race goals are coming up.

But that means sometimes we have workouts like today. Where I swear... Donnie's trying to kill me. To which when I called Steve after, he said, "Again?" Where I'm so glycogen depleted 25 minutes in that I'm yawning uncontrollably (a sign of that heavy carb burn from intense exercise).

Every once in a while we write down the workout so that I can see all I accomplished, and he thought today was a good day for that again. So for fun, here's today's workout explained...

  • Chest Fly on the Freemotion cable machine - combination set of flat/down/up/alternating, 21 reps, 3 sets. So now that little strand at the top of the pectoral, where your chest muscle meets your underarm, is screaming. Yay for 63 reps!
  • Flat Bench Press - 20 reps of 45 lbs, 3 sets. Yay for 60 reps!
  • 3 sets of the combo of:
  • Single Leg Squat with kettlebell - 8 each side 
  • Backwards Treadmill, 15% incline, 2.5 mph, 20 seconds (yes, jogging backwards)
  •  Squat jump - 10 for first two sets, 8 on last set

  • 3 sets of the combo of:
  • Standing Bar Row, attached on only side, 5 reps. Attaching on only one side means crazy core work to stabilize 
  • Sitting Row on Freemotion cable machine, 45 lbs, 20 reps

  • 3 sets of the combo of:
  • Hamstring curls, 100 lbs!, 8 reps 
  • Single leg lifts (over leg crossed over) on the ball, 8 reps. All hamstring to do the lift and keep the ball stabilized and from rolling out so after the fatigue of the curls, it makes it much harder. 
 So yes, I want a nap. NOW. But off to do some work, run some errands, and take care of my kids. And at some point look at the schedule from my coach to see what I have to run today. YAWN. Send coffee, please.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Round and round we go - 10 Hours, or 53 Loops

My plan was simple. Run. Or walk. OR DON'T. My choice, whatever sounded fun to me. Life had kicked my family in the teeth for the last 3 weeks.

  • I was really sick with an awful cold over Thanksgiving.
  • My mother was sick over our family's Thanksgiving, which is on the Saturday, so we had to cancel Thanksgiving.
  • Steve's grandfather went on a ventilator in the ICU and after several days, the family had to make the hard decision to withdraw care. Steve made a trip to Arkansas early in the week, and then the girls and I went up with him later in the week for a few days.
  • The toddler spent last week with a strep infection and double ear infections.
  • In with all of those items is the fact that I've been trying to work on 2 days of event production for 1000-person marathon events for my New Years Double race. And trying to launch a new event, which has been delayed with all of this.
  • With Steve's grandfather's passing, I had not gone to my planned race for this timeframe, the North Face 50K in San Francisco. I had been looking forward so much to the race, but in the end, it's all for the best - they had some nasty weather conditions!
So I needed a long run after 3 weeks off of running. I needed no goals, no pressure, no planning, no time cutoffs, no DNF possibilities. Just a catered training run.

I talked with Steve and we quietly planned out that I would go down late Friday night to Austin and register the next morning for Run Like The Wind. I told very few people because the last thing I wanted was to feel a need to perform for someone else. I only needed to do what I wanted to do. A supportive, "I bet you can do 48 miles" would have turned into a feeling in my head that I HAD to do 48 miles. 

I signed up for the 24 hour race. Not because I thought I would keep going for 24 hours, but I wanted to have no pressure of time. And if I felt great and wanted to go for 13 hours, that would have been disappointing if I was only signed up for the 12 hour race. Yes, things ultra runners say. Why not be optimistic and hopeful and plan for the best?!

The course was a 1K loop. Yep, 0.6-mile loop. It was located at the Canine Training Center that was the source of the non-profit cause they were raising money for. It was advertised as a "mulchy" loop. After being there for 10 minutes and chatting with others, we found that it was mulchy... when they laid the mulch 3 years ago. At this point it was slightly uneven rocky ground with larger sticks, nice trippable sticks, of leftover hardwood mulch, and small stumps sticking up.

Things I Learned on a Looped Timed Course

  • A loop that short is mind-numbing. I completed 53 loops, that's 53K. That's a lot of loops. My fastest loops were actually around mile 27 when it got dark. I put on my headlamp and with the change in lighting, it was like suddenly the course was new again!! Invigorated me to have a (kinda) change in scenery. Friend Dat said, "Wow, Libby, you're really running. And not that shuffle walk thing you've been doing." Gee, thanks. :-)
  • Late miles I practiced letting runners pull me. As a runner would pass, I would hop on the train and try to keep up for a couple tenths of a mile. Worked well.
  • I had thought I would come up with a strategy of "Run X Loops, Walk Y Loops". Instead, the very flat course quickly became, "Oh, here's a slight uphill, here's a slight downhill." or "here's more even runnable terrain." I changed my methods and started doing walk this section, run that section, walk this section, run that section in every loop instead.
  • I practiced the mentality of being out on a course for 24 hours even if I wasn't going to. Conservatism early in the day, ignoring the need to run hard the first 20 miles, planning out shoe changes as if I was running 60 miles that day even if I wouldn't. 
  • I worked on eating heavier real food - again, practicing mentality of being on a course for a long time. The Race Director, Sam, cooks the whole day. Grill out there and everything. He put up a white board with a "Menu. Now serving..." and would list the foods so you could check every loop. He had chafing dishes set out to keep food warm. I had a half grilled cheese sandwich, sat down for meat lasagna 2 times, and had a grilled chicken breast. This is on top of the ultra food grazing throughout the day. I learned 0.8 mile leisurely walk after a heavier food was good, and then I could run again without having my stomach revolt.
  • Blisters suck. Mentally I was thinking I'd go another 5-8 miles than I did. But at mile 30, after a shoe/sock change, in just one loop, I gave myself a big quarter sized blister on the exact bottom of the ball of my foot. And 3 other small blisters that hardly bothered me. Maybe I didn't lube my feet enough. I'll have to work on that because I'm not blister prone.
  • I learned maybe I need to let a blister get worse before attacking it, and I need a blister kit. I had a couple bad loops with the blister after I couldn't seem to fix it, decided I was done having fun, and called it a day. It was my first time trying to fix a blister with a safety pin by headlamp and I think I was a little cautious, and I think the blister wasn't big enough to drain well yet. And I wasn't prepared with a kit for blisters since it's not usually my problem, so I didn't have duct tape on me or any kind of tape.
  • The time being out at a race is good, even if it's not moving time. I was on the course for 10 hours and 2 minutes officially. Of course my moving time was less than that. Did you see the list of foods I stopped to eat?!
  • Don't take off the timing chip if you can avoid it. At mile 20, I removed the ankle strap timing chip to change shoes. When I came around on the next loop, I didn't hear the timing system ding. Because I wasn't wearing a chip! D'oh! Stupid mistake. I must have been a little out of it. Ran to my chair, saw the chip, put it back on. So officially, I did 52K. LOL. Next shoe change, I loosened the chip and hiked it up my leg but never took it off.
  • I liked the camaraderie, as a back of the packer, of making so many new friends and getting to know existing friends better. People like friends Chip and Dat are so much faster than me that I would normally get 5 minutes before the start to chat. Instead, I felt like I hung out with these people all day.
  • With a 10:30 am start, in December, that was a lot of time in the dark for the 10 hours I was out on course.
So it was a great experience and a lot of fun. I was exhausted from the last 3 weeks and didn't have the fight in me to push for huge major hours or miles. But at 33 miles completed, I am thrilled. 

By the way, the next part of the ultra was jumping in my car at 10 pm and driving 3 1/2 hours home without stopping. Ouch! Worth it though to be there when my girls woke up Sunday morning!!