Starting from scratch in an elite fitness-blog-world full of expensive gear, and Personal Records she couldn't beat with a car.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Technical difficulties - Please run by.

Wednesday's run was not the most awesome time I've ever had, I wouldn't call it bad exactly, but some technical difficulties made the evening noticeably more challenging than usual.

I had a couple of loose goals in mind when I set out and I was surprised to find at the end that I managed to hit them!

I can't think of anyone but Patton Oswalt when I see this kid.

Now that I've finished C25k I don't have any specific goal with running in mind beyond "not kill or embarrass myself overmuch at the upcoming Freaky5K". I am not looking to torture myself particularly and I'm nowhere near what one might consider "competitive" physical condition, so my main aim at this point is to find the point where things are challenging rather than punishing, and to start pushing that point back as far and often as I reasonably can.

I'd like to start doing that with heart rate training, but clearly my calculated heart rate is not appropriate for me or I would be pretty much keeling over from exhaustion every time I run. According to my Garmin I'm consistently averaging just about 100% of my max calculated HR, which should mean I'm completely 100% exhausting myself at the top edge of my output... for 35 minutes at a time? Don't think so.

A max HR test pretty much involves repeatedly pushing yourself as hard as you can and recording the highest HR. Doing that on a grumpy ankle is probably not the best plan, so a more personalized measurement is going to have to wait for happier joints. I figure hill work will probably be a good way to work that out.

The Good:
I decided that my main run goal for Wednesday was to keep as close to 12:00/mile as I could. Since my average pace was apparently 11:55 I appear to have rather soundly nailed that one. My secondary goal was to see if I could get negative splits again, or at least not terribly positive ones (since I was trying to hit a specific overall pace I wasn't too overly concerned about that) and very much to my surprise I managed that too! I averaged 12:08, 12:06, 11:45, and 9:40 (respectively) for each "lap" of the 3.1 miles (broken up by mile).

I can feel that I'm getting more consistent with my breathing and making a point to count footfalls during each breath not only does a LOT toward keeping me aware of how I'm pacing myself but it also satisfies a bit of my minor OCD tendencies. This provides an awfully handy mental distraction from the less pleasant things my body is telling me about what it feels like to breathe that intensely for that long

The Bad:
My attempt to solve the wandering belt problem backfired on me in a couple of ways. I tried out an active Old Navy bra core tank top I've had for a while so I could put the belt on over something smooth. The top is a bit overly long and fits everywhere but on my hips so it had a tendency to crawl up on me (especially when I first started running and it was a bit tighter everywhere), so I usually just go with a sports bra and a large trapeze shaped tank top. I have about five of these tops and I like that they are very open at the top, and loose enough to camouflage any muffin top and/or cans of mace I happen to have strapped to my hips.

I folded up the bottom of the active tank, fitted the belt to my waist, tossed on the rest of my usual gear, and went out. I was going pretty good until about 1.5 miles in, when I realized that there was a stinging pain occurring in the top of my left arm, right up by my armpit. I think the underarm area of the active tank to must come up higher and tighter than my usual bra and so my skin was squished out in what must have been an insanely sexy show of armpit cleavage, which was then rubbing against the flesh that was squishing out above my armband. I was approaching one of the higher traffic areas of my run so I had to wait it out until I was in a place safe enough to loosen my armband. I am noticing more of these little raw spots from various seams and buckles, so I suspect it's time to suck it up and cough over the cash for some Body Glide. Luckily I caught it before I really rubbed the skin off, but it's still a bit raw.

Once I started running the majority of my body was shockingly happy in the cool weather, but I apparently vent heat from the belly like a Care Bear because having something tight around my torso was driving me MAD. This tank (actually I have two, but that's not important right now) might be a good layering piece when it starts getting cold, but for now I'm going stick with my old setup and find another belt fix. At the very worst there's always safety pins.

This is a 100% accurate portrayal of my experience, note especially the expressions of horror.
The Ugly:
My ankle was doing pretty ok, but my left knee got pretty pissed and is still grumping especially on down staircases. It was never bad enough to stop me or change my stride, but I was awfully close a few times. I think I will switch back to wearing a brace for a while, though I'd like to see if a patella strap will do the job. I don't know if I was just under rested - but my legs were definitely tired and kind of fighting me the whole time and that is very unusual for me. Occasional joint tweaks aside my legs are typically among the the last things I notice while running.

Who knows, maybe keeping my pace more reasonable meant I felt "well" enough to notice more about what my legs have been feeling all along? Somehow I doubt it though.Whatever it was I came home and effectively shut down for a while, my brain is usually scrambled for a bit after running, but I think the only thing that kept me awake after my shower was a DIRE need to go to the laundromat and acquire foods (mmmm chicken bacon ranch pizza, I did NOT need to find out how tasty that stuff is). I know I say this constantly, but I really need to sleep more (says the woman typing the blog at one in the morning).

I wish this was a 100% accurate portrayal of the rest of my evening.
We will not even get into why I ended up getting out of bed at one in the morning yesterday to bathe a part of the kitten in the above picture (a good sense of smell can be both a blessing and a curse, and I'll leave it at that) ...and again at three in the morning to chase him away from my suddenly growling other cat, who was attempting to sleep behind my knees. It's a good thing he's both gorgeous and insanely affectionate.

My Wednesday run: a 5K run plus 5 minute warmup and cooldown walks.
Negative splits throughout
3.1 miles at an average of 11:55 per mile -  total time of 37.02 max pace of 8:34

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