Catching up…

It’s been one of those weeks. Staying motivated and getting out and running, but not taking the time to sit down and write about it. The second weeks runs were completed and in the books, and I was getting ready to start week three but due to the wonderful rainy season I needed to postpone the planned runs. During rainy season we often get days of rain without any let up.  24 hours of continuous downpour, the kind of rain where unless you absolutely need to go out, you don’t. This necessitates adjusting schedules, and identifying alternatives to keep active, otherwise breakfast, lunch and dinner go directly to fat. A couple trips up and down the stairs (8 flights), push-ups, sit-ups and dumbbells are my usual choices. I also make use of the 7 minute workout app on the Kindle.

The rain disrupted the plan for week 3 of the 18 week plan that will help me meet my goal of successfully running a 10 miler in mid-November. Not a great way to start considering that I really needed these first three weeks to build a base, since I have already identified that week’s 4, 5, 8 and 9 are going to test my dedication and time management efforts.

The You Can Go the Distance (YCGTD) workout plan only has three running days built in, and for the second week I needed to complete the long and the tempo runs. I was able to get these in before the rains hit. I chose to run the same distance for the long run of 8K, which I had in the first week.

For the Long Run the day was hot and significantly it was quite humid, approaching 75%. It usually takes me a few hundred meters to get comfortable with running, but from the beginning I was not comfortable breathing in spite of a good stride and posture. I decided to keep at it, and just concentrate on posture and deep breathing hoping that everything would fall into place. I arrived at the turnaround for the 5K route and checked the trusty Accusplit 620 only to discover that I must have inadvertently stopped it. Nothing to do, but note the time, hit start and continue running. I finished with a Mystery Time for the 8K.

The final time will be a mystery.

Mystery Time

I estimated that my time was about 46 minutes based on the time and my previous times for the 8K and the 2.5K splits. During the last half of the run, my breathing became more comfortable, but I never really felt good. I believe that a combination of the heat and humidity were the cause, since I was not able to find anything internally to be the cause.

On Sunday (7/10) I decided to brave the track for the 12 agonizing laps of the Tempo Run. I rode my bicycle over to the track, and then jogged a mile to warm up and to see if I was still going to have breathing issues. I did not. The temperature was close to the same, but the humidity was only around 60%. I told myself to be careful with the Start/Stop button on the trusty Accusplit 620, as I hit the start button and started the run.There was a fairly strong head wind on the finishing straight that was all but imperceptible on the back straight when I was hoping for a tailwind (it was there, I just couldn’t feel it).

Picture of stopwatch on the running track surface showing the time of the run

Accusplit 620 on the track!

As suspected, I wasn’t really enjoying running in circles, but I wanted to check my time on an accurately measured course. I did not really pay attention to any splits, just checking each lap to make sure that I had not accidentally stopped the timer! I finished the 3 miles on pace with my expectations at 26m14.59s.

Then the rain came and threw a wrench in my running plans. To get caught up and in the spirit of the Tour de France I wanted to put in some miles on my bicycle beyond just a short ride to the track and back, so I started with two laps around the area which is about 40K, and then a quick change and out for a run. When I was in Sasebo, this was a favorite weekend and summer workout, ride for an hour, and then run. I tried a new route for the run and while it was a bit short of my 5K goal, I think I can make a couple adjustments to get it there.

Until next time: Still Running!

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Tempo Running

Thursday promised rain. All day the forecast indicated that there would be a 50% or greater chance of rain. I was banking on it. I was going to be able to delay my first tempo run, because I am not interested in running in the rain (yet) nor was I really interested in a tempo run. Work was completed, and it hadn’t rained, I walked home and it wasn’t raining, consulted the weather app, and now it was showing that for the next two hours it would be clear. I really didn’t have any choice now. My legs had also been aching in that way where the only “cure” is to go for a run. I wasn’t motivated to do it, but I knew that I needed to get out and get this first week of the training plan in the books because it will either just get easier (or more difficult) in the coming weeks. So I pulled on my trusty running hat and headed out the door.

Pearl Izumi Hat

Trusty Hat

The YCGTD (You Can Go the Distance) plan is designed for a marathon and it shows that the week 1 tempo run should be 3 miles. I am not going to run a marathon (those days are gone), I am looking at a 10 miler. Plus I am building a base and was looking for something attainable and meeting the spirit of the plan. I was contemplating running at the track, but the number of laps (12!) was more than I could (mentally) take, in the end I opted for another 5K. I thought that this distance and the time would give me a good picture of where I need to go with adjusting my goal time, and also give me an idea of how much work I need to do to get comfortable with Yasso’s and tempo runs. Distance, I can do distance (Long Slow Distance all day). I am going to have to take a look this weekend at the plan and modify it for a 10 mile goal. I am also going to have to look seriously at modifying my goal time.

As I hit the road the sky was very overcast and looked like rain was closing in from the North, South, East and West, in spite of the look there was not a strong breeze. Since this was a tempo run the suggested pace per mile was at Race Pace minus 30 (RP-30).  I jumped out to a strong steady cadence. My trusty Accusplit 620 measuring the time, and my internal tach advising me of the pace, I was feeling good and looking forward to the split at the 2.5K mark.

As I approached the turnaround I was moving good and looked at the split and was surprised to see it at 12m:48s. Doing some quick mental math I roughly estimated a 5K time of about 26m. I honestly didn’t think I could maintain the pace and was already feeling it in my legs and lungs, and I’m at sea-level! I just needed to keep working hard to maintain and finish without walking. I was on a data-collection mission, finish. As the course wound its way back to my house I felt like I was just hanging on, and I was not looking at the stopwatch, I just wanted to get close to the 26m, which would still be well within the RP-30 pace. As I crossed the line I clicked stop and was shocked to find the time was 25m22s. This time meant that even though I was not feeling good, I still negative split the return leg. Not too shabby.

So the first week of the plan is down and only 17 to go. I am confident that as long as I continue I can build the endurance needed to complete the 10 miler. It is going to be easier for the next two or three weeks to get the runs in, it will be more difficult as time goes on and the summer draws to a close. At that point and in the Fall it will come down to dedication to the goal.

Next time – Yasso 800’s, and some cross training. Until then, Still Running!