Weeks Five through Seven: playing catch-up

WOW I’m behind – so sorry guys! I promise to be better. Life has gotten pretty crazy. So here’s a recap:

Monday, March 21: I have no idea. I truly don’t remember – and forgot to tweet about it.

Tuesday, March 22: Tempo run- 1 mi warm; 3 mi at 8:15-8:20; 1 mi cool (actual splits: 8:03, 7:38, 8:13)

Wednesday, March 23: Legs day – 17ish min bike warmup (5.4ish miles); single-leg squats, lunges, regular squats, calf raises; step-ups; leg press; hamstring curls w/ pilates ball; hip adduction, hip abduction

Thursday, March 24; easy 3 miler while running errands

Friday, March 25: easy 2 miler on the dreadmill; then light arms and abs workout (since I had a race the next day)

Saturday, March 26: 8.1 mi race (1:14 and change; race report to come)

Sunday, March 27: total rest day

As you can probably tell from the splits, I completely SPANKED this week’s tempo run. There were fleeting moments where I thought about how great it would feel to stop and walk for a minute, but I barely acknowledge them. We have a really nice route that’s about as flat as you can get in Pittsburgh so we can really turn up the speed. But even after a couple short climbs that I charged on, I just focused on regularizing my breathing to get my heart rate back in line with where it should be. And it was FUN. I had never enjoyed tempo runs before this training cycle, and am finally learning to love cranking up the speed and effort that goes with.

My 3 mile easy run was interesting in that I was trying to run errands (dropping off bills – successful. faxing my w-2 to my accountant: not successful, as the fax number was wrong. Oh well) and I was weaving around to get my route done (it was about 3.25 miles in the end, I think). I was cruising down Ellsworth when I noticed a group gathered outside Bites ‘n Brews, all wearing brightly colored tech wear and running shoes. I slowed down, stopped my Garmin, and asked what was up. The woman running the group gave me the website and said the running club met every Thursday at a different restaurant in a different area of the city and ran at 6:30, and a lot of people would stay for beer and dinner after. Awesome! Moral of the story: see a group of runners, always stop to say ‘hi’ and see what’s what.

And as for the race? Well, you’ll have to wait for the report. I promise it will be soon! Tomorrow?

Monday, March 28: Again – forgot to post my workout. I’m guessing it was biking 50 min easy (and guessing the previous Monday was, too) based on the rest of the week

Tuesday, March 29: Speedwork: 1.25 mi warm; 3×1600 @ 7:38-7:48; 1.25 mi cool (intervals: 7:26; 7:47; 7:41)

Wednesday, March 30: total rest day (travel)

Thursday, March 31: 3 mi easy (on the West Side Highway)

Friday, April 1: plan: 2 miles easy; actual: fuck that noise. I have a hella busy day, it’s raining and gross out, and I’m on vacation in New York.

Saturday, April 2: 8 miler in Central Park

Sunday: total rest day

NB and I have been tweaking our plan a bit. I like the new Smart Coach – it does some things better than the old version did. But for some reason all the tempo runs and interval workouts are shorter. It had us doing another 4 mile tempo run the previous week (with 2 miles at tempo) so we bumped that to 5; it was also having us do another 2×1600 this particular week, which we obviously also changed. We’re still being reasonable, and listening to our bodies, but we can take the challenge.

Also, as is probably obvious, this weekend I was in New York. I went to school there (graduated from NYU last May) and in addition to meeting my NY work colleagues and meeting friends, I got to run in some of my favorite spots. I enjoyed the cold and dark and haunting West Side Highway at 6:30 a.m. Thursday before work, skipped my two miler the next day, and had the most fantastic 8 mile long run in Central Park on Saturday. The rains cleared, the sun came out. The flowers were blooming. I ran the main loop (six miles) and a little extra, plus the inner loop of the Reservoir (the view is better). I saw tons of runners, walkers, cyclists, and even a hand cyclist (who was ROCKING the hills). I average about 15 sec/mile faster than my usual easy pace, and I think it was mostly the elation I was feeling. Really, really happy to be there.

Monday, April 4: total rest day (took an extra day since I was WIPED from traveling. Also, since I was in NY, I had walked my feet off – that should more than suffice);

Tuesday: 5 mile tempo run (as above) – splits: 8:10; 8:08; 8:05

Wednesday: 10 min. erg warmup, then arms/abs workout

Thursday: training plan says: easy 2; intended to do: easy 3; actual: easy 4

Friday: (supposed to be an easy 2, but given the previous day…); 20ish min bike (6ish miles) and leg workout

Obviously my tempo run was again a smash success. Only mnor issue was random toe/foot numbness during the last mile. I loosened my laces which helped for a bit before it got worse again. I’m keeping an eye on it. I think it’s mostly a lacing/striking issue, but we’ll see.

That accidental four miler was actually my first running club experience. We met at Ryan’s Pub on Braddock near where I had run quite a bit when staying with Ben and Ellie (my cousin and his wife) and later in a sublet when I had just moved to Pittsburgh for my job and was apartment hunting. It was awkward at first: standing around while people clustered off. I’m not very good at breaking into large groups (at least not without alcohol) but once we got going I was pace for pace with a girl and we chatted a bit. Later she broke off (naturally, not in a bitchy leaving-you-behind way and I met up with another girl and we chatted a bit. Turned out I had missed the turn off for the 3 mile route and ended up doing the 4. I was going to stay for dinner, and hung out for a while, talking with the first girl some more, as well as another group regular who wasn’t running since she was dealing with a knee injury. But since it was after 8 and no one had come to take orders, I and girl number one headed out to go get some grub at our own homes. Oh well. Next time, perhaps.

And now, another training week is coming to an end (a cutback week – not terribly exciting), but I’ll post about that later, as well as the promised race report.

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I'm a 30-year-old writer and runner. This is my running blog.

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