Monday, July 25, 2011

Train: Brain training for runners-week 8

Heatwave fare: Nuked burrito, fresh salsa + lemonadeThis week was a planned drilled-back milage/recovery week, thankfully. Record-setting string of intense heat advisory days and I was without access to A/C for them. But, boy was it hot out there. Little cooking from scratch; lots of salads, microwave action. And barrels of homemade lemonade swigging, for sure.

Week eight of 20-week training program:

July 18 (Day 50 :: stretch + strengthen)
Pine Lake (plochman's island) 910 yd 00:28 53:11 pace - Afternoon freestyle swim (mixed crawl, breast, back + side strokes) was just the wake-up my body + mind needed. Was a very busy -- but fun -- weekend. Drove over 5 1/2 hours yesterday (to IN + back) after waking early (5am after only 5 hrs of sleep) for my run + final hostessing duties for a visiting family member. Wanted to pack for my return to the cabin when I got home, but was spent. Planned to wake early again (about 5am); but, instead, after about 3 1/2 hrs of sleep, I woke up at 2:30am w/my mind turning over everything I needed to do before I left. I couldn't fall back asleep, so a little before 3am I rose + got started.

Fortunately, my neighbor is on vacation; otherwise, she might have seen me in my garden at 4am w/a flashlight cutting herbs + harvesting summer squash, zucchini, a cucumber and my first (grape) tomatoes of the year. Popped a few of those puppies in my mouth on the drive up...yum. Fortunately, no delays on the road; and, after another 4 1/2 hours of driving, I'm back in paradise.

This time of year is always 'iffy' here. We have no A/C + when you have a string of hot + humid days like we're slated to have here this week, there's only so much protection the forest can offer from it. Luckily, jumping in the lake + walking around in a wet suit afterward is one sure antidote. Sticking my head in the freezer is another one (putting groceries away takes on a whole new meaning ;-).

After my swim (chatted a bit as I paddled to island + back w/others visiting the lake a few cottages down), I sat on the dock w/my kitty + the tiniest of storms passed by. About 30 mins. worth of cooler winds + even a few raindrops fell. Such a nice treat. That's passed now + it's back to stagnant air, sun, humidity + haze...but, my wet suit is still keeping me cool and I'm plenty comfortable.

Today is a sched rest day on my trng plan, but I usually do some yoga. Haven't had time for that yet; but may do it before heading to bed. Hoping it's not too hot so that I can catch up on some zzzzzzz's.

July 19 (Day 51 :: 4 mi run)
Pine Lake Ln (ferndale) 4 mi 00:42 10:26 pace - Early morning base run (temp 76F, 93% hum, 1mph winds)...just me, the humidity + my travelling merry entourage of deer flies. Entering my 8th week of trng. Soooooo glad this one happens to be a step-back/recovery week, since the humidity, stagnant air + heat are just making it pretty miserable out there. Glad I got this slow run in early + out of the way. Plenty of cloud cover kept it a lot cooler than it might have been without it. Focused on this week's proprioceptive cue: Floppy Feet, but forgot to do my drills. Will get those in on another run this week.

Came upon a wild turkey on the side of the road on my run. A couple of wks ago on the Ice Age Trail I literally stumbled upon two of them (took my eyes off the trail to see them fleeing away from me + tripped on a protruding rock or root). This time I stayed on my feet...what an improvement! ;-)

Tried to time this when a little rain storm was forecast to pass through. I really wanted to feel that on my skin; but, didn't get a drop on me. But then, I got back + jumped in the lake for a 5-min dip to cool off...and wouldn't you know it? As soon as I got out, dripping wet, it started to sprinkle. Pocketed that cool sensation + will remember how sweet it was when I'm sweating my arse off later this afternoon.

Splits: 11:04, 9:55, 10:06, 10:41. Elev gain: 117ft.


Pine Lake (plochman tip) 968 yd 00:31 56:21 pace - Early evening freestyle swim (mixed crawl, breast, back + side strokes) just before severe storm arrives (half dollar size hail + 60 mph winds predicted). Dark clouds to the north + rolling thunder in the distance, I spotted the loon pair feeding their babies on the other side of the island + then turned back. White caps on the lake now, unlike earlier today when I took some artsy still water raindrop shots.

July 20 (Day 52 :: cross)
Pine Lake (shoreline) 1.18 mi 00:31 26:38 pace - Early evening walk to the other side of the lake + back. This was slow + meandering, just to stretch my legs + take pics. This part of the lake is literally hopping w/little frogs right now, so many of them jumping (some just past me) into the lake as I walked by. Silly things. I hopped into the lake myself after getting back, but that was just a dip + a short float.

Swapped my trng around because of the heat + because I didn't get enough sleep due to the storm last night (going on about 4 nights of fewer hrs of shut-eye than I need). Tomorrow was supposed to be 20-30 mins cross training, so I did that w/this walk. Will run tomorrow morning when it's a lot cooler + hopefully with a good night's rest under my belt.

July 21 (Day 53 :: 5 m intervals + stretch)
Pine Lake Ln (bible camp) 5.1 mi 00:54 10:33 pace - Morning hilly intervals (temp 75F, 63% hum, 8mph winds): 5 mins dynamic stretches; 1mi warm-up; 5 X 400m @ 3,000m pace (8:52) w/3-minute active recoveries; 1mi cool-down. Would've been better to do this at a track (wish I had access to one here or at home) or on my Long Prairie Trail since that's so flat...but, as in life, we work with what we have. Had luck enough for the first 4 sprints; but, found myself trudging up a hill on the last one + peetered out. Did Tuesday's missed drills (2X20sec High Knees + 2X20sec Bounding) + then took it easy on cool-down, stopping to watch an eagle (doing an interesting whistle call from the tree tops) for about 30 secs.

Cooler temps a real blessing. Did not sleep well (again) last night. It's wonderful to have a breakaway place on a lake; but when you're dealing w/dew points in the 80s during the day + 70s at night, it gets hard to sleep. Last night was one of the those, it was marvelous to wake to a cool cabin + cool temps. Hope I can sleep hard tonight.

Splits: 11:18 (w/u) | 6X400m intervals: 7:37, 7:42, 7:54, 8:09, 9:09 | 12:07 (c/d). Elev gain: 165ft.


Pine Lake Ln 0.69 mi 00:14:57 21:33 pace - Cool-down walk to neighbor's cottage to water potted plants.


Stretch/Breathe 00:38 - Afternoon yoga/qigong set on the screened-in porch. Has it really been a week since my last stretch session?! I really, really *did I mention really* needed this.


Resistance 00:18 - 1-2 sets of 10-15 reps Single Leg Squats; Oblique Bridges; Lying Draw-ins w/Hip Flexion; Forearms to Palms Bridges; Dead Bugs; Broad Jumps. This is part of my brain trng program + I've been slacking on getting these in consistently. Happy to knock this out.

July 22 (Day 54 :: cross)
Afton State Park 3.3 mi 01:13 22:05 pace - Drove across the Wisconsin border and the St. Croix River to Minnesota's Afton State Park today. Wanted to explore it on the first day they were (almost) fully open for visitors + campers following the state govt shutdown. My park visit was 3 hrs; but, I stopped a lot to take things in, play with a butterfly + later a grasshopper...and, of course, take pics. I'll be writing a piece up on my visit for the dailymile blog, so I won't go into much detail right now. Very enjoyable hike (566ft elev gain), though it was hot + humid...but, it is freakin' *everywhere* ;-)

Brought water along + filled up my bottle again mid-way w/some cold water from a pump they had in the middle of a gorgeous prairie restoration area. I walked on sandy beaches (small, but they were the real thing); crushed gravel roadways; paved roads; rocky + rooty dirt trails; cut-out grass lanes; pine-needle strewn paths; stairs + bridges built by the Minnesota Conservation Corps. In all of that time (other than at the beaches + at the very end as I was heading back to my car) I passed four people: one guy walking slowly talking on the phone + a young dad w/his 2 daughters and a dog. Some two hrs elapsed between those two encounters!

July 24 (Day 56 :: 6 mi run)
Pine Lake Ln (round lake) 7.04 mi 01:11 10:03 pace - Chasing the sunset LSD run (temp 75F, 63% hum, 5mph winds) on a cool + clear evening. Very glad I could get this in. Woke yesterday after having left my cabin bedroom windows open due to the heat (one window is literally at the head of the bed, leaving your noggin as if outside and exposed to the elements except for a screen). Overnight, it had gotten cold + drizzled; but, I was so beat after a week of less than stellar sleep that I slept through it. Woke chilled + damp + as the day progressed got a bad sore throat + headache + just felt 'blah'. I spent the day inside, writing a piece for the DM blog (ironically, on how great the outdoors are for your well-being...haha). It was just as well; it was cool + rainy most of the day.

But I'd scrapped my planned 4 mi run on Friday in order to go for a hike at Afton State Park + was thinking I'd make it up yesterday. Wasn't feeling it, so I just took it easy. Bundled up, drank some tea + got a good night's sleep last night. Woke feeling a lot better. Yay squared. Checked the forecast + saw that it was going to be a cool evening + so I was sooooo looking fwd to getting out there tonight. It's been too long since I've been able to run later in the day (which is my preferred time by leaps + bounds).

Fortunately, this was ratchet back week.

My long slow distance run today was only supposed to be 6 miles. Wanted to do 8 to at least get my total mileage for the week closer to where it should have been; but, Kurt was dead + I needed to wait an extra 15 mins. for it to get some juice for the ride. It was 7:40pm by the time I headed out, and you definitely don't want to get caught in the dark running on any of the roads out here.

Felt good to move after sitting + writing the past couple of days.

Air was perfect. Took it easy on first warm-up mile. Lost a little oomph around 3.5 so had another gel. Pushed myself as much as I could on mile 6 (as much as the hills would let me) + then cycled it waaaay down on the last cool-down mile. Just smiling I got this one in!

Splits: 11:04, 9:38, 9:28, 9:58, 9:42, 9:12, 11:29. Elev gain: 188ft.


Pine Lake (dip) 600 yd 00:20 57:56 pace - Post-run dip. Was planning just to jump in + cool off; but, the water was calm + the sky was pretty w/the setting sun. Then I noticed I could see one star...then a few mins later another. I decided I'd stay in (crawling around + tossing in some side strokes for good measure) until I saw 3. That bugger took its time, but I enjoyed waiting for it.

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