Sunday, January 16, 2011

1st week back at school in 2011

AM- 6 miles- some guesswork there, but I'll lowball it. Ran the 2 miles to the Rec for Military Fitness class, It happened to be cardio day, so I was able to avoid making a fool of myself on the first day. Warmed up on the indoor track, then ran stairs in the fieldhouse followed by some squats, corework, and a cooldown. The ROTC were easing back into PT after a long break, and I was assured that it would get harder. The class is a WMU gym class, but its basically me and a few other civilians doing training with the ROTC program. Ate no breakfast, but downed a butter pecan Ensure shake after running home. Im not sure why, but I neglected to think about my appearance for the class. I showed up with long hair, a beard, a tye-died shirt, and orange shoes on. I was the ONLY person not wearing black shoes, black shorts, and a grey shirt. At least I know now.
PM- 4 miles- Met up with Alex for a mid day run following some delicious Taco Bell(quesadilla, soft taco, side nachos, large mellow yellow). We both took it easy as we have each sustained some sort of lower limb strain over break. Al least he has an excuse-he logged 90miles a week for three weeks! Im just a bum who took a false step on an icy trail. Either way, we did an easy 4 downtown, but the pace wasn't terribly slow. Went home and made a portobello burger(grilled portobello mushroom cap, kaiser roll, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato)
PM workout- Swim with the club for the first day of practice. Became absolutely wrecked after 30 minutes of swimming. 3 hours of sleep and two workouts finally caught up to me. Felt hot, dizzy, and tired. I knew I had blasted the warmup and was essentially screwed. Bailed and hitched a ride to the Chinese restaurant with Megan, Erik, and Heidi. The workout was a mess from jump street, but I also hadn't taken into account that I hadn't done an actual swim workout in almost 1 year.
After 1 day of slightly below average mileage, it already seems apparent that a few more calories may be in order to sustain the energy levels I need.

breakfast-leftover Chinese food(rice, chicken, egg roll)
8 miles- Headed to Al Sabo to see if hardpack trails would bother my lame foot. With a little protection for the lateral part of my midfoot, it wasn't too bad. Im not sure if its a lack of traction, fitness, or both, but running on trails has been very laborious. May try to pick up some sort of traction aid to see if it improves things. I got a little turned around in the trails and snow filled my tracks before I could return to follow them out of the lesser-explored areas. I could get lost in a sleeping bag, I swear. Ate Burger King for dinner. Seeing this in print is downright depressing.

AM - 5 miles- Less running today at Military Fitness, as it was upper body day. Pushups, followed by more pushups. Some situps and jumping jacks in there, but mostly different variations of pushups. Oh, and there were also some pushups. My foot was aching pretty badly today. I'm convinced that its a soft tissue injury and will heal-if only I could stay off of it. If I were one to heed my own advice, I would take 2-3 days off, and may just end up doing so. The problem is that it starts to feel better after sitting, so I: start to get all fidgety and excited to run again. It will probably reach critical mass this weekend, resulting in a couple days off and a spoiled week. such is life, I suppose.
PM - 10 miles - against my better judgement, I hauled myself down to Gazelle for the Wednesday night run. Ran with Shawn and Steve for a nice 10. The road pace was just barely out of my comfort zone, so it was a perfect tempo-ish effort as usual. We all run about the same pace, so it wasn't a race by any means, but pretty quick(quicker than I've been running lately anyway) jaunt around Kalamazoo/WMU campus. The leg felt fine for the entire run, but ached terribly after getting home and going up stairs. I think its a combination of stressors. My bruised tissues on the lateral arch are causing me to compensate, then the lower limb muscles are straining. Couple that with a more substantial shoe than I'm used to(the MT100), and Its no wonder I'm sore on my injured leg. If it doesn't feel better tomorrow, its time for a day off.

AM- 4 miles- Went to Al Sabo to test my new YakTrax XTRs(Review coming soon). Had to cut it short because they broke. I was going to bring them back to my car and keep running, but I figured that it was the only time I had to return them for a few days. Joe at Gazelle exchanged them without issue. I'm assuming it was just a fluke that they broke, as I've heard lots of good things about the company. I tripped on a boardwalk that was covered in snow, and my MT100 shoe blasted right through one of the front chains. My running experience in them was great up to their breaking point.
PM- 6 miles- My first indoor workout of the new semester. Nice and easy, running 6x800 at a 6:00min/mile pace, with an 1/8 mile of rest in between. 6 miles including warmup and cooldown. The workout was a little difficult for me, but I attribute some of it to the horrendously dry air in there. I'll get accustomed to it, though, tomorrow is cardio day at Military Fitness. Hoo Rah.

AM - 6 miles - 4 to/from Military Fitness. Some running on the track, an indian run, suicides, and plenty of pushups. PT was an hour long, so almost two hours of training, one of which was a high intensity. Definitely feeling the effects of an indoor track workout, 3 hours of sleep, and a high-intensity training session in less than 12 hours. Hopefully catch a nap before work.(note- I don't have the ambition to guestimate some sort of mileage conversion for circuit training, nor do I want to log combinations of sit ups and nearly 200 push ups, so I'm just going to document running miles only. It kind of hurts to write down six miles in two hours, but running is running and everything else is everything else)
PM- 7 miles- After work, I figured I was near Fort Custer Recreation Area, so I may as well go run the red loop. I was wrong- I wasn't nearly as close as I thought, but was too stubborn to turn around. I started running just as the sun went down. After swearing at my tweaked ankles in my MT101s for a few miles, I decided to take the shortcuts back to the trailhead. The rocky terrain didn't work well with the new shoes, as they are stiff as boards to run with. I'm hoping that after some more running and lots of flexing of the shoe, they will break in like my old 100s(may they rest in peace). I got lost in the dark for so long that I may as well have just stayed on the red loop. An poor run overall, but at least I got some fresh air and some quiet. To be honest though, I was fighting the urge to go into panic mode.

0 miles - No miles were run Saturday on account of working and travel. I knew I'd be running in the wee hours of Sunday morning, so I was cool with that.

Sunday -
AM- 20 miles - Jason, Brandon, Mark and I decided to do a road run from Allendale to Aman Park near GR. 12 miles of road running, and 2 loops in the park. More road running than we'd like, especially on the side of a divided highway at 3am. A bit of a slower pace but the goal of the run is get accustomed, physiologically and mentally, to running in the dark on little sleep.

Our skeleton crew for the evening(left to right): Mark, a masked ninja hobo(me), Brandon, Jason
Total - 73 miles

This week exemplifies what I would like to be doing for the next two months. The cross training was intense, as were the couple of speedy sessions I had. Lots of trail miles that allowed me to relax and recharge the batteries. I've discussed this to some extent, but the past seven days of running have shown me that I can successfully have a split personality.
a) I truly enjoyed my intense sessions of cross training, sprinting, stair workouts, and trackwork. The headrush of putting forth near-maximal effort and feeling the sweat flow from my pores makes modern day stress disappear as it is replaced by my body doing what nature taught it to do. I've been struggling with a few less than stellar weeks of training, but there has been some assuagement of this melancholy-other than a new pain in my foot(I'm thinking its caused by a couple tight soleii), I'm running higher mileage than last year with a negligible amount of muscle soreness.
b) This new found appreciation for fast running and intense exercise is, contrary to my preconceived notions, had a boosting effect on the quality of my solo trail runs- the runs I'm using to simply be outside and observe. I have no idea the pace at which I'm running them, but it seems as though my ability to comfortably carry myself through the woods while feeling the seasons run their course is increasing. One of my favorite runs of the week involved running at the nature preserve while huge, downy snowflakes fell from the sky onto the wetlands. I would run just long enough to warm up and find a good vantage point, then sit and observe until I started shivering again. By any logical runner's standards, this is "junk miles" defined. My goal for these runs, however, is to assume the role of an observer and not a training athlete.

Instead of choosing one of these paths to follow, I see no reason that I can't pursue a balance.

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