“When the sun gets hot and the moon gets hazy
good girls go bad… and it gets crazy!” – Rachel Thompson
Day 9*: Easy 5k - 5.18 km, 00:40, 07:48 pace
First day of the year, and of course I had overslept after staying up all night. I knew that my run would have to be relegated to the afternoon, but what I had not quite expected was the lasting power of that day’s heat and the fact that I had to take my toddler along. So my first run of the year turned into a super slow run in my Vibram Five Fingers, while pushing the pram, fighting heat and minding a cranky toddler. I had to pick up toys, her hat and shoes as I was running loops around the nearby wetlands. Oh and to top that, I had to fight gut distress – for some reason I was suffering from some weird bloating, which made for a very uncomfortable and slightly painful run!
*Day 8 was part of Week 1 due to me taking an extra rest day that week.
Day 10: Hills 10k - 10 km, 01:15, 07:30 pace
Got out there this morning despite my head telling me not to. It’s first day back and work and my brain kept telling me that I would not have enough time to get ready (I woke up 6.30am instead of the planned 5am, damn snooze button). Laced up nevertheless. Managed a slow but even pace uphill, and worked my quads hard running down. Ran with kangaroos and came home to warm sunshine. The most awesome feeling. Although there is a bit of pain in my right knee and I seemed to have pulled a muscle in my right hip.
Day 11: Rest
Woke up with a head cold. Fantastic. That quickly went away after I decided to work from home. Coincidence? Anyway, my head kept telling me to move. Maybe I should have planned some cross training? Cross training has its benefits, but given that this was going to be a 6 runs week, I decided in the end it would be wiser to just rest up. My body was felling lethargic anyway. In the evening I found out why I was feeling crappy and bloated this morning! My monthly guest arrived. This is going to be fun…NOT. Also, we were starting to feel the onset a big heatwave that would stay with us for the rest of the week.
Day 12: Easy turned into Tempo 10k, 10.02 km, 01:05, 06:26 pace
I wanted to stay in bed. I really did. My back was aching, my head throbbing. But I have made plans to run with my mate Bridget, and I couldn’t let her down. And I couldn’t let myself down. After all, I had laid out my clothes and gear at the feet of my bed, and they were staring right at my mind battled raged. Took me half hour to get from bed to bathroom, but that was the hardest part anyway! The rest was easy. We did a tempo run instead of the prescribed 10k. Bridget is faster than I am, so she paced me. Thanks to her, I pushed a good pace for most of the run but slowed down towards the end, thanks to the heat. It was going to be a hot day, with temperature peaking at 39 degrees. So glad I got my run out of the way before the heat was fully unleashed, and despite of feeling crappy at first, I finished the run feeling strong and invincible!
Day 13: Easy 5k, 5.2 km, 00:38, 07:18 pace
Woke up earlier than yesterday for my run, but what do you know… the first thing that greeted me that morning was dry hotness, it was 23 degrees already when I finished and that day saw the temperature peaking at 40 degrees (and the day ended in a summer storm, too). Needless to say it was very slow run, but again, glad to have done it neverthless. In another news: I discovered the miracle of the humble tennis ball! I use it to do a bit of self-massaging and release tension in areas known as trigger points or, in other words, to release muscle knots. Of course, the professionals prefer the term “self myofascial release” but that calls all sorts of wrong interpretation to mind (more on that in another blog post!).
Day 14: LSD 14k. 14.5 km, 01:41, 06:58 pace
I did it again: I overslept. I started running one hour later than planned (at 7am instead of 6am). Of course, it was already very warm and my legs were feeling crappy, which may have been due to the fact that I was pulling so many more kilometres this week with only one rest day. Plus I made the mistake of listening to Björk during the first few kilometres. Love Björk, but her music always makes me feel all gloomy and melancholic, not quite what I needed. Felt much better on the second half of the run and was able to squeeze in a few strides in the end. I could really feel the tightness coming back in my right hip, so will have to do the tennis ball routine again later today. I went faster than on my last long run, but I must say I finished feeling better then.
It must have been the heat. Not only has it directly affected my run: My pace invariably slows down, heart rate is mildly enhanced and my perception of thirst (and, subsequently, fear of dehydration) is so much more exaggerated. You do battle more demons in your head in extreme conditions, which explained my increased need for music this week (next time will make wiser choice, though). The heat has also affected my overall sleep pattern (I don’t sleep very weel when it’s too warm) and eating as it killed my appetite (I have skipped dinner for two days in a row and survived on fruits only). The fact that I didn’t have enough rest and nutrition might have also affected my performance and overall feeling during and after each run, particularly those later that week.
Here were the biggest lessons drawn from Week 2:
1. Hit the sheets early: This is a repeat lesson from last week. I still have not mastered the art of rising early. My biggest problem: I stay up till late. I spend too much time browsing, reading, prepping for the next day (lunch boxes need to be packed!), then take another couple hours to unwind before I finally creep into bed. I just need to be more organized and maybe skip that unwind time and just MAKE myself sleep. I need to wake up at 4.30am if I want to be out by dawn and have enough time for my hard workouts.
This will become increasingly important as crank up my miles. Not only is this a question of time (if I wake up earlier I will have more time to train), now it has become a question of bearable running condition – an early rise means cooler mornings and thus better running condition. Also, it is better to train in circumstances that closely resembles those of race day, which meant cooler temperature in the 15-20 degrees range.
2. Running buddy: My experience in Week 2 shows that running with a buddy will give you an extra incentive to be out at the agreed time. A running buddy also gave me a much-needed boost and is a nice variation to my otherwise lonely solo training. I have yet to join a running group – I really don’t know what is holding me back, maybe my lack of confidence? Logistics? It is certainly something I have to attempt for the coming weeks. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I will continue running at least once a week with Bridget.
Final word on Week 2: All in all, I was really glad that I was able to stick to my training plan (how good does it feel striking your planned workouts off your list?) and this run served as a decent closing to a productive week. Bring on Week 3!