Monday, July 4, 2011

Train: Brain training for runners-week 5

jul2011_N1199As an intro to this week's workout log, here's a quote from Brain Training for Runners on embracing training pain:

Fatigue-related pain is the subconscious brain's way of trying to convince the brain's conscious decision-making center to voluntarily slow the pace of running or stop entirely. The conscious mind has some leeway to reject this message and keep the proverbial pedal to the metal. But the only way your conscious mind can really reject pain's message ("Slow down!") is to accept the pain itself, because more pain is the inevitable price paid for not slowing down. All available evidence suggests that "mentally tough" runners accept race pain -- to the point of even welcoming and embracing it -- more than other runners, and that this acceptance enables them to run harder.
Of course, the pain he's talking about is the 'I can't go on...I need to slow down...pushing so hard hurts' type -- not the injury type. I worked on copping this attitude this week, with some good results.

Week 5 of 20-week training plan:

June 27 (Day 29 :: stretch + strengthen)
Stretch/Breathe 00:35 - Morning yoga/qigong set, outdoors on the deck. Feeling so lucky (blessed, actually) + it's only a little after 7, for cryin' out loud! Was up earlier than usual + knew we were slated for rain, but it hadn't started yet.

So, I set out my mat under the clouds and had a super enjoyable stretching set. Cool breeze and fresh air to breathe in deeply. Birds singing the praises of a new day. My cat joining me as he usually likes to do (getting a good stretch in himself on his outdoor scratchy post alongside me). I was able to finish up my set w/a super huge grin on my puss, too. >^.^<

Came in, got my green tea going and then headed out to set out birdseed in my feeders...when the rain started. It's a nice gentle rain, my Mother's (and my) favorite kind. The house is still asleep (we have my husband's big bro from Seattle staying w/ us this week, so may not have a lot of online time today), but I can just begin to hear them stirring upstairs a bit now. Life is sweet.

Body, mind + spirit feel good from the fresh air and movement outside...and I feel blessed and tickled as all hell to have slipped a great workout in before the sprinkles.


RVC (single loop) 1.35 mi 00:23 17:13 pace - A late evening summertime walk under the Big Dipper always makes me feel like a kid again. Good night, John Boy. :-)

June 28 (Day 30 :: 6 mi run + drills)
Long Prairie Trail 6 mi 01:03 10:33 pace - Late morning L(ish)SD run (temp 75F, 54% hum, 12 mph winds). Swapping things around on my trng sched this week because I have a race on Saturday. Planning to do a short recovery run on Sunday, so I did that day's planned 6-mile run today. Magnificent weather out there this a.m. I got a later start than I wanted; my skimpy banana/almond butter/chia seed snack at 7 didn't do much to fuel me at 10:30, so I slurped down a gel + got started. Bright sunshine, but cool breeze kept it comfortable out there.

Since this was supposed to be at my prescribed base pace (11:50-10:50), I was able to really focus on this week's proprioceptive cue: Scooting. I also worked hard to bring the previous weeks' cues in (Falling Forward, Navel to Spine, Running on Water and Pulling the Road). Felt my form was as good as it's ever been through mile 3.75 -- and then my left upper side got a stitch. That lasted for over a mile, so I slowed down + just relaxed my body and let it do what it wanted to do naturally.

Also worked on my slated drills on mile 6 (2X20secs High Knees + 2X20secs Bounding w/walking breaks in between). Had the second issue of the run, the same one that I had the last time I did these drills: The high impact of the strides + esp. having to land w/force on the balls of my feet during the High Knees drill irritates April's falling-down-the-stairs injury I had in that area. When I run w/my usual stride, it doesn't bother me, I'll live. ;-)

This was a star run for me + I was figuratively (+ a tad literally ;-) aching for it. Haven't run this far in a month (the plan has a slow build-up) + it felt great to be out there moving for an hour.

Splits: 10:38, 9:50, 9:52, 10:33, 10:33, 11:55

June 29 (Day 31 :: 3 mi hill reps + stretch)
Stretch/Breathe 00:35 - Lakeside morning yoga/qigong set. If any day could reflect what Nirvana is all about, today is the day. Warm, but not too warm. Gentle + cool breeze -- the kind that feels welcome on your face. Clean pine air. Sunny, but just enough clouds to keep it comfortable. All around I was surrounded by a dramatic painting of clouds and sky reflected up at me from the lake's water canvas. Just as I laid my mat (actually an old foam floatie) down on the deck and got ready to begin, the loon pair bobbed by, feeding their two chicks and giving me a private parade as they passed. Hill work slated for today, so this was a really marvelous way to ease into the day.


Pine Lake Ln (hills) 3 mi 00:36 11:50 pace - Early evening hill work (temp 81F, 47% hum, 12mph winds). Trng plan called for 1 mi warm-up at recovery pace (13:11-11:51), then 4X90sec hill repeats at my 1-mile pace (8:27) w/2 mins active recovery/walking between each effort. 5 min dynamic stretches before the hard work (even the w/u + c/d were on steep hills so I just took it slow + easy when not jamming)! Elev. gain: 878 ft. Splits: 11:51, 12:16, 11:23.


Pine Lake Ln 0.46 mi 00:08:32 18:37 pace - Cool-down walk w/the deer flies now happy I've slowed enough to get their hooks into me. Even the natural world has its downside. ;-)


Pine Lake (dip) 300 yd 00:15:00 88:00 pace - Post run splash. Not quite an ice bath, but it did the trick. Had to get dinner going, so this wasn't a very long one...just crawled around a bit as the dragonflies buzzed by. Almost wanted to get a cycle in today, just to make sure I absolutely covered as many bases as I could, but a warm shower + a glass of wine while cooking sounded even better.

June 30 (Day 32 :: cross + resistance)
Housework 04:00 - You know that History Channel series, Life After People? Where, w/computer special effects, you get to see just how quickly + ruthlessly nature would reclaim buildings, cities and other human-built enterprises once were were gone? Well, that's the dynamic at our cabin in the woods. (You didn't actually think all I was going to do was take pictures + luxuriate up here, did you?!)

A month ago, I cleaned the place from top-to-bottom. Sweeping, dusting, scrubbing, mopping every inch. Today I spent the afternoon (and part of the evening, in fact) doing it all again. Indoor + out, we've again reclaimed our territory -- at least for the time being. As serene as it is to commune up close w/nature, the need we humans have in our DNA to tame + civilize the tangled jungle of the outdoors boggles the mind. No rest for the human race when it comes to it (and I'm not sure this is always such a good quality of much reckless destruction + waste as a result).

Anyway, it was a good workout (much more than the 4 hours I'm recording here). I know most ppl don't record this kind of workout; but, I like to keep track of everything I do to move. And I *did* move today...and sweat, too. Getting hotter + more humid out there. Tomorrow is supposed to be a scorcher.


Pine Lake (swim) 800 yd 00:28 61:36 pace - Sunset freestyle swim (mixed crawl, breast, back + side strokes). This was sooooo refreshing after a day of dirt, dust + sweating cleaning the cabin + its environs. It was also a more active swim than my dip last night. Guesstimating distance. Had the lake all to myself (at least this end of it) except for the loons that I could hear off in the distance. Also heard a couple of rolling thunderclaps even further away. Invigorating nightcap!

Training note: This was an optional non-impact cardio day (20-30 mins suggested). So, I easily checked that off; but, I was also supposed to do my core work. It was already after 9pm when I finished my swim, so called it a (great) day. Will get that in tomorrow.

What can't exercise, but sweats on a hot humid day?

Cool rocks!

July 2 (Day 34 :: 4.5 mi fartleks)
Chetek 0.96 mi 00:11:06 11:37 pace - Pre-race warm-up jog + 5 mins dynamic stretches.


Chetek Fishy Four 4 mi 00:36 08:58 pace - Fun race (temp 70F, 82% hum, 6mph winds), made all the better since it wasn't in yesterday's heat. Humidity still hanging around, though, so it felt a lot hotter than the temp would suggest. Got a pretty decent night's sleep (after not getting enough the night before). I hydrated well + fueled w/a gel 15 mins before the starting gun. Wasn't necessarily gunning for glory, but did want to do as well as I could. Kind of had a little divine intervention in this because I was planning to run w/my little Nikon. As I arrived, I snapped a picture of the starting line + all of a sudden the camera froze up. Wouldn't even retract (like it normally would if the problem was the battery running out of juice). So, rather than holding on to it, I took it back to my car + then just focused on my run.

Felt strong the first two miles, then had a minor stitch on mile 3 + my energy waned + drained a little. Slowed down, forced down another gel + just kept repeating this race's mantra: "Getting stronger, Getting fitter, You're a fighter not a quitter." (Thanks, Ed S. and Katy P. for inspiring my mantras way back when...still doing them!)

The race is held every year to help raise funds for local high school kids going on to college (super cause). It is bare bones (although you get a nifty tech T) as a result, but inexpensive at $20 for those who preregistered. Great volunteers + ppl cheering along the way. The course itself was on the town's streets, had a number of hills + fortunately had sunny stretches AND shady ones, too. A few residents along the way had their sprinkler hoses out and cooled us down even further as we ran by.

Only one water station at the halfway mark, so I'm glad I had my own bottle with me. Oranges, bananas + water (no bread/bagels) at the finish line. Only overall + top AG winners get medals; but, not 2nd or 3rd place finishers, which is fine by me because I tell you I was robbed! When they printed up + posted the prelim race results, it showed that I'd snagged 3rd in my AG. I was kind of excited about that after last weekend's 2nd place AG finish (my first ever top 3...well, 2nd actually...but that's another story ;-). So, I waited around during the awards ceremony at the very least to have the satisfaction of hearing my name read off, only to find that it wasn't! They just posted the final results online, and I'd dropped down to 4th in my AG.

Sniffle. Sniffle. [Wink].

They may have robbed me of my medal (that is, if 3rd place finishers got 'em...but, whatever!), but they can't snatch my grand standing: 35:44.5 (8:56/mi); 221/568 (overall); 77/296 (women); 4/27 (division). Garmin splits: 8:27 (PR mile); 8:54, 9:25, 9:09. Elev gain: 503ft.

Independence Day wknd racing fun

An absolutely *wonderful* small town race I'm looking fwd to doing again. On a wildlife note, I happened upon 3 unusual birds (they were unlike any others I've seen at least) crossing one of the country roads I took to Chetek this morning. Just looked in my bird book + believe they were cranes.


Pine Lake (plochman's island) 910 yd 00:27 52:13 pace - Swim (nearly) to Plochman's Island + back. Even though it was a few hrs after my run, my body soaked it up + got a nice little recharge. Relaxed in the late afternoon sun on the dock reading the July/Aug issue of Running Times (all about trng in the heat), eating grapes, rehydrating, chatting with a neighbor that dropped by + chilling w/my kitty kid for company -- and basically feeling blessed by the gods to have been given such a prize of a day. Drinking some nice red + going to catch up a little on what *you've* all been up to. I know I'm going to sleep like a baby tonight...

July 3 (Day 35 :: 4.5 mi run + resistance)
Ice Age Trail (circle loop) 4.63 mi 01:04 13:50 pace - Afternoon recovery run (temp 80F, 40% hum, 6mph winds) on the Ice Age Trail's Circle Loop. Trng plan calls for my rec runs to target the 13:11-11:51 pace range,often hard to run that slow when I'm on a flat course. But considering the fancy footwork needed on this one, it was a pleasure to shuffle along today Actually, due to the length of the run; the heat; and the protruding roots + rocks and all of the hills, I had no qualms about going even slower to give my legs a break. Walked up the bigger hills, esp during the last miles.

It's a nice warm summer day, less humid than yesterday. Even so, since I set out at the hottest time of the day, loved the shady forest's canopy + cool breeze that worked its way through the tree leaves. Dappled sunlight kept it bright enough to see where I was going, but that didn't keep me from misjudging a few times + tripping along the way a number of times.

Stayed upright every time...until I came upon a couple of wild turkeys. I looked up at them as one flew off + the other ran after it as fast as it could...and then I stumbled on a rock or root, and tumbled. Lucky that the spot that I landed on was just dirt (but it was the dry hard kind; small sections of the single-track trail were covered w/soft moss or damp dirt or piles of pine needles or fallen leaves, which would have been nicer to tumble onto). Walked away w/just a few scrapes on a knee...and thinking about how yummy that Thanksgiving dinner's going to be going down this year. ;-)

Only passed one couple (complaining about the bugs, which I didn't have a problem w/because I sprayed down really well), so it was nice to have it mostly to myself. Eating a salad + then going to take a dip in the lake.

Splits: 13:45, 12:57, 13:23, 14:05, 15:46. Elev gain: 294 ft.

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