This week, in training:
Monday - 5 miles, hill repeats (6x: 2 minutes at 4%, 2 minutes at 6%, 2 minutes @ 4% with 4 minutes recovery)
Wednesday: 4 miles, intervals (6 x 400 repeats) + RAW class
Thursday: 4 miles
Sunday: 7.68-mile run (outside!!!!!)
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People say that it's the taper period of any big training cycle that will make you crazy. Doubt yourself. Wonder whether you are even a runner. And while I went through my own manic period before Columbus, nothing has compared to this week.
This week being my first spent almost entirely on the treadmill, in the basement, at 5 a.m.
The weather here has been less than desirable, and a winter storm last weekend covered our street in a sheet of ice that refused to melt or become safely passable by car much less feet. While a previous version of myself might have toughed it out, the idea of traversing the precarious conditions at 5 a.m. in temperatures in the teens didn't sit well with me ... more Mark. So I resigned myself that it would be far safer to stick to the treadmill.
I will whine far and wide about my disdain for the treadmill, with my No. 1 complaint being that my pace suffers incredibly when inside. A 9:30 pace feels easy on the roads but I have to keep the treadmill at 5.5 to feel comfortable and 6.0 (10-minute pace) feels like a tempo effort.
Regardless, I toughed it out in the name of miles. I ran hills as the Lexington course is of the rolling variety, not minding much as it's hard to find good inclines suitable for repeats near my house. I did 400 repeats, feeling good that I was able to "crank it up" to 7.0 at the end.
But come Thursday, when I hit the treadmill after dinner for an easy-ish run, I freaked. It just felt hard, and I hated that my 2013 training log didn't seem to be reflecting my fitness level. I messaged a running mentor, crazed that my now slower pace would somehow become the norm and once I got back outdoors, I'd slip to 10:XX instead of speeding up to 8:XX. Oh so wisely, she explained the mechanics of running on the treadmill versus running outside and advised that as long as you don't rely only on the treadmill, you are fine.
Her assurance did little to assuage my fears, and I was a bit nervous going into my first long run of the cycle. The weather had warmed enough on Saturday that much of the ice had melted and what was left was more slushy, making it safe to head outdoors. Still, what if I couldn't do it?
I took it slow as I headed toward the park as I was sure it was plowed. I focused on form, breathing (tried nose breathing as Scott Jurek suggests in "Eat to Live") and footing. I told myself to not look at the MOTOACTV as pace didn't matter. It's all about time on the feet, covering the distance and feeling good.
And feel good, I did. I was surprised that once I got acclimated to the cool air, just how fantastic it felt. It was nice to look at ice-covered branches instead of peeling paint and see the sun rather than a dim light bulb illuminating my path. There was a god number of runners out, all courteous and smiling as they passed.
I had seven miles on the plan but had that rare, "wish you could bottle it" feeling that I could just keep going and going and going. I ran a bit farther but kept my bonus mileage to three-quarters. Denali was getting lethargic, and I didn't want to worry Mark with a delayed return. Nor did I want to risk injury by increasing my mileage too quickly, too soon.
I came inside, stretched and synced the MOTOACTV. Lo and behold, the average pace was 9:27 with the fourth mile at 8:59. So much for being "slow."