Monday, December 22, 2014

Training Log: Surf City Half - Week 6

The highlight of training this week occurred Monday night/Tuesday morning. I'm going to be totally honest and say that there have been plenty of times when I have pushed workouts to another day that I probably could have fit in because (1) tired, (2) warm bed, (3) don't make me be active when I'm tired and in a warm bed.

When I left the office at midnight Monday night after a fifteen hour day, I was already dreading my alarm. I could see an image of myself with perfect clarity getting home and deciding "welllll rest is important so maybe I'll just do the workout in the evening?" Only I had Tuesday night plans and knew that wasn't likely to happen. So I told the partner I was working with that I'd call the East Coast printer (we were working on SEC/investor materials that had to be printed) at 9 a.m. EST to check in then email him an update. Yes, I promised to call someone at 6 a.m. PST so that I'd be forced to haul my ass out of bed, knowing that once I'm up I have no issues getting to the gym. It's that whole rousing myself from bed part that's hard.

And it worked! I called the printer (and had to have him repeat what he was saying because morning brain) then headed to the gym and started the repeats. Oh god, they hurt. We were dropping the pace by 5 seconds per half-mile from the previous time I ran 800m repeats, but this time, I was running off 5 hours of sleep max. By the fourth repeat I seriously questioned my ability to do two more. I had excuses running through my head ("maybe you should get to work early? maybe you don't have enough time? hey, four repeats is pretty good, right?"). But this is what I love about the treadmill. I just hopped on and told myself I wasn't allowed to get off. I didn't have to motivate my body, I just had to turn off my mind. Boom, 6x800m repeats complete. That cool-down mile felt fantastic.

Part of the reason I had such an early wake-up was to fit in strength. As I mentioned, my trainer wants me to focus on pairing strength with hard workouts so that I'm lifting on fatigued muscles. This works out fine on the weekends but it's tougher on weekdays since I have to find a 90-110 minute chunk to dedicate to running/lifting. If I can leave the office at 6 p.m. it's doable, but much later than that and I'm dedicating my entire evening to the gym.

We went to two strength days a week in large part because it's difficult for me to fit three lift/run workouts in a week and my trainer wants me to fit in two rest days. However, I'm going to make three lifting sessions the goal and see how close I can get. Rest really is very important, but if I can manage to get at least seven hours the night before, I think it's worth it to get in that extra lifting day. I've seen such great results from lifting so far and really don't want to lose that. #gainzzzzz

(Just kidding, if I ever actually, seriously discuss my "gains" then you have my permission to find me in real life and slap me.)

Sunset at Corona del Mar -- not the best sunset, but every sunset at the beach makes me happy

Training Log: Surf City Half - Week 6

Monday: Rest day.

By which I mean spending 15 hours in the office. Lots of sitting, not so much foam rolling.

Tuesday: 6x800m repeats on treadmill (5 miles) + strength.
These were rough, as noted above, but damn I was happy when I finished.
  • Two sets of 15 reps of five total body exercises: squat to presses with 40# bar, seated cable pulls, single leg deadlifts, weighted hip raises, and chest presses
  • Two sets of 15 reps of two core exercises: exercise ball toes-to-fingers and supermans
Legs were pretty fatigued by the end of this set of exercises, but in that fantastic oh-so-tired-from-working-hard way.

The San Gabriel Mountains are currently capped with snow, which makes for a gorgeous view from the office.

Wednesday: 3 easy miles around North Lake.

Great run in the dark around North Lake in the Woodbridge area of Orange County. Sourabh walked Mason while I ran around the lake. There are a ton of houses and lots of other walkers/runners out, so it's one of my favorite places to walk Mason after dark. Felt surprisingly great after Tuesday's strength and 800 repeats.

Thursday: 10x200m hill repeats at Back Bay (4 miles) + strength.
  • 1 mile warm-up
  • 10x200m hill repeats with 200m recovery jog; splits ranged between 45-51 seconds with most at 47-48 seconds
  • 1 mile cool-down
Just like with the 800s, after the first few I wasn't sure I could actually complete all ten hill repeats. The hill I was running up is extremely steep at the end, which made the second 100m a grueling slog. I've been treating these rough parts of each workout as a chance to really kick up my mental game, so I focused on staying strong mentally and ignoring my legs and lungs.
  • Three sets of 14 reps of four exercises: goblet squats, hamstring curls using an exercise ball, single arm plank rows and lateral pull-downs
  • Two sets of 15 reps of two exercises: planks and BOSU ball toe taps
My arms were surprisingly fatigued during this workout and I'm guessing it was because I focused on pumping my arms to give me momentum uphill during the hill repeats.

Friday: Rest day.

I wish this had been a run day. I had a terrible headache all day that nothing cured. Usually a workout helps when I have a headache.

Saturday: Tempo run on treadmill + strength training with Melanie (Equinox trainer).
  • 1 mile warm-up
  • Dynamic stretching routine
  • 6 mile tempo run with two fast miles at the end: (1) 8:34, (2) 8:27, (3) 8:23, (4) 8:19, (5) 7:53, (6) 7:41
  • 1 mile cool-down
When I got on the treadmill, I thought this would be the worst run ever. The first two miles of the tempo were hard. Looking back, all my workouts had the same theme this week: feeling like everything was the worst in the first part of the workout before settling into the "get comfortable with the uncomfortable" groove and finishing strong. 

Truth: I wasn't sure I could fit in all six of the planned tempo miles because I got ready as slowly as possible that morning. I was clearly dreading this run. But as I settled in, I realized I could get all my miles in before training, so I pushed the pace and got them done. I was shocked by how strong I felt around the fourth mile. It took three miles to really settle in, but for miles 4-6, my legs felt stronger than in miles 1-3.
  • Two sets of 15 reps of two core exercises
  • Three sets of 15 reps of four total body exercises (focused on lower body for maximum fatigued muscle strength work) 
  • Stretching session
Melanie changed things up and we started with core. I know, pretty wild and crazy. Moved on to

Sunday: Rest day.

Total rest, except for a beachside walk after lunch at Carmelita's in Laguna Beach and the previously mentioned sunset walk at Corona del Mar.

Total Mileage: 20 miles
Speed Mileage: 11 miles

No long run this week because of how next week is going to work out due to travel and the holiday. Both this week and next week are lower mileage weeks but with different focuses. This week, three tough strength workouts and quality speed miles, leaving my legs fatigued and in need of extra rest. Next week will be lighter strength workouts and easy miles (with the exception of one hill workout).


  1. You are getting so speedy!!! I am so excited for your half.

    and seriously - what is it about the actual process of getting OUT of bed in the morning that is so hard. I am the same once I am out I am good...but getting out...takes some determination!

    1. I'm so excited, too!! The difference I feel by really dedicating myself to extra protein and warm-up/cool-down is incredible.

      I think I need someone to push me out of bed then hug me and hand me coffee every morning. Do any alarm clocks do that...?

  2. I'm so impressed by your strategy to take that call so you'd have to get up! Nicely done :)

    1. If you approve then I'm really proud, you're the queen of life hacks! ;)

  3. Fact: so much of running (and any sport really) is mental. All we need to do it turn off our brain and just go, but that's easier said than done. I felt the same way during my most recent bike workout. Eleven intervals stared me in the face, and even though I wanted to throw in the towel about halfway through, it *was not* an option. (Mostly because I was on the CompuTrainer, but you know what I mean.) Also, I listened to a podcast the other day, and the guy said most of the time when we're ready to quit, we've only given about 40 percent of what we have. Woah.

    1. WOW 40%? That's an incredible number. I'm reading a book on the science of running right now and it seems like that number is probably roughly accurate -- however if we gave a true 100% we'd be lying on the pavement, not breathing. Apparently full effort (doing things like picking a car off a child) leads to massive muscle/nerve damage, so when we do difficult things, our body tries to tell us to stop very early so we never reach that car-lifting place. It's really fascinating.