I know, I’ve been really bad. And even worse, I’m writing this at work. I’ve been having a hellish week, but have a little downtime at the moment. I had a race report written the other week, which WordPress decided look delicious so it ate it. Oh well. I’ll rewrite it, promise! As well as another report from a race I’ve already run this month.
But what else have I been up to? Well, mostly I’m enjoying the last few weeks of my off-season. Yeah, I’ve been racing, but no real training since I ran the Air Force half, which has been nice. I’ve been trying to get in occasional speedwork and tempo efforts. I even did my very first 800s workout a couple weeks ago on a drizzly evening. I warmed up with a 1200 m jog, then did 4×800, trying to stay between 3:35 and 3:45 for the splits, with 400 jog rests. I nailed it! It was actually pretty fun. I still hate mile repeats, and 800s are harder speed-wise, but the “dark zone” is shorter. For a 1600, the first lap usually feels good, then somewhere in the middle of the second lap, the reality of your pace and how much farther you have to go hits you. This feeling worsens and doesn’t let up until the beginning (or even halfway through) the final lap, when it’s give-it-all-you’re-almost-there time. With 800s, the first lap felt great, second lap started feeling hard, but by halfway through that lap, I was nearly done, so why quit (though I did a little. I made up for it though)?
Another thing I tried: this workout from Runner’s World. I got stuck working and missed pilates, so told myself I’d do a home workout for 45 minutes to an hour. Let me tell you, it looked hard from the descriptions/videos, but this workout is really not for the faint of heart. And honestly I think the sets/reps expectations for “beginners” are ridiculous. 6×15 jump squats for beginners, 8×15 for advanaced? Five minute super sets for beginners, six minutes for advanced? Something does not compute.
After the warmup (squats, jumping jack, etc.) it starts with the jump squats. I managed to eke out 4×15, and on the last couple reps of the fourth set, I felt my legs begin to collapse under me. I was doggedly NOT using my arms for momentum, keeping them out straight, hands flexed. I was SHAKING by the end. I made it through maybe two-thirds of the full workout, trimming sets back, taking extra breathers. I felt like I was being a sissy but good LORD was this workout hard.
The next morning as my alarm blared, I got out of bed… and my quads wept in pain. I was planning on New Thing #3: spin class. Truth be told, I’ve done spin before, but I HATED it. Actually, I hated the instructor, who was a bitchy little martyr who complained about how he danced all day and biked 30 miles a day waah waah waaah. Oh, and your resistance isn’t high enough so let me up it for you. With any fitness class, it’s about the instructor, so I was willing to try another one. Only issue? The one that fit my schedule was 5:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. So I dragged my butt out of bed at 5 a.m., and go to the gym to witness a sight I hadn’t seen before: the people who are there at open. I’d never been there earlier than 6:30, so it was funny to see the truly dedicated gym rats, shivering in the cold at 5:28 a.m., waiting for the doors to open (we tried to go in to stay warm in the doorway, but they kicked us out). Everyone seemed to know each other, and there was a great sense of camaraderie.
So, the verdict on the spin class? Awesome. The instructor talks a little too quietly given how loud her music is, but you can mostly read her lips, figure out her gestures. She’s more hands-off, which is good and bad, since I need to learn to push, but gave more visual cues (okay, we’re going to do some rolling hills; now we’re riding down the hill; coming up it’s flat, so we’ll do some sprints; one last, big climb, guys!) which I appreciated, since it breaks up the monotony of staring at a wall.
I was hoping the hard workout would do something for the lactic acid buildup in my legs from the previous day, enough for me to do a recovery run Thursday. I stretched when I could, had a couple bananas, and got up to walk around the office as often as possible.
Thursday morning I wake up, and it’s worse. I should have known, because I always get delayed muscle soreness. Day 2 is always the worst, and I was really paying for those jump squats. My glutes were a little sore, noted mostly as I tried to sit down anywhere, but I mainly felt it in my quads, which screamed in agony going downstairs, crouching to feet my cat (who looked up at me when I was taking forever to fill her bowl with a look that said, “why are you teasing me so?”), and standing and sitting from my work desk. Pretty sure my co-worker behind me was wondering why I was walking around like an 90 year old.
Friday was SLIGHTLY better but I could still barely handle stairs, standing, sitting, etc. After a nice massage from NB, I was able to squeeze in a run on that Saturday (this was January 7, btw). It was in the 50s so I ran in shorts (SHORTS. IN JANUARY). I planned on doing about 3 easy miles in Schenley Oval, since it’s super flat. I ended up doing it at half-marathon race pace, and finished up with a few striders on the track (which were about 5:15 pace, per my Garmin). It seemed to get rid of the soreness, which I was relieved about since I had a race the next day (report to come, promise!)
I’ve been keeping up with spin class, and have been enjoying being showered and ready for the day at 7 a.m., giving me ample time to go to a coffee shop for a cup of joe, and read for a good hour (though today I headed to work earlier since I’ve been so slammed). I did some 4×10 jump squats in one of my workouts last week, and hope to do more this week if work allows. I’m figuring on a kick-butt tempo run tomorrow, either in the morning or the evening (I may have to start work very early tomorrow, in which case an evening tempo run will help me shake off frustration; if not, the morning tempo will get me in a better mindset for my work day).
In any case, I’ve been trying to keep things sharp, and keep it interesting. I start training in mid/late February, and will write about my 2012 race plans very soon, in addition to those race reports!