Monday, February 21, 2011

Thoughs on Ultramarathon Training

1. I'm up to almost 10 hours of running a week and compared to 10 hours of triathlon training I would say that just running hurts much more immediately after the workout, 4 hours on the bike doesn't leave me limping, you can believe that 4 hours of running does, but, the next day I feel as fine as possible. No more tired than if I'd been swimming, biking and running. So, I got that going for me.

2. I was starving, ravenous, hunger at a 10 from Friday night until today, Monday, after breakfast. I'm definitely going to be over a bit on my points this week, but, truth be told, I've been over 5 to 33 in the past 7 weeks and I'm losing over a pound a week so I'll be fine with that.

3. You can conjugate "to bonk" in French if you've been running for 3.5 hours and you stop to get some chocolate milk to get you home that last, unexpected half hour. I came out of the convenience store, opening my carton of the nectar of the gods and found myself doing just that. You know, je bonk, tu bonk, nous bonkons, vous bonkez. I then tried it in German, which you would think would work better but French won. I then ran down the road singing "bonk, bonk, bonk" to Deadmau5' "Ghost n Stuff". It works well, try it.

4. I just debated the grammar of making Deadmau5 possessive. I don't remember the rule for the use of a 5 for an S. Mr. Fraser, you taught me the semi-colon but neglected that one.

5. I just have 21 k to run Wednesday night, an hour interval workout Thursday night and then I"m off to run a half marathon Sunday. Then, depending how I feel I might not run again until my long run on the following Saturday.

6. I miss my pool. I made it to the community centre by my office on Friday and found that 20 minutes fixed so much. Alex was flying in early so I didn't want to stay too long but, if he's as late as usual on Friday this week I'll get a full workout in with drills. I never thought I'd like doing drills. I never thought I'd like running on the treadmill. If there is anything you don't think you'd like, try it. Except liver and brussels sprouts. Only freaks like that kind of thing.

7. I'm still at the "doing the race to see if I can" point. The knowing is going to take a couple more months. I'll tell you when I get there.

Let's leave it at lucky 7.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oh sacred Starbucks, supplier of clean, large washrooms and tasty hot tea lattes I sang your praises today on the 26k odyssey of urban delight i.e. no freaking snowy trails of horror, just a long run across the city and back.

Went to start the run from the house today but, Alex, hearing me lament the fact that my sport sunglasses were in my bag at the office, mentioned that he had to swing by the office at some point today so he'd drive me over, I could get the glasses and head out from there.

It started snowing hard on the drive. By the time we got there the promised sunny blue sky day was deteriorating into something decidedly less perky. I considered doing the run, or a portion of it, on the office treadmill.  Freudian slip there, I should have said the office gym treadmill, we all know the office treadmill doesn't exist - no one spends there time bored going nowhere with the view never changing in an office, do they? (bitterness sets in...) Where was I? Oh yeah. I was debating whether to jump on the dreadmill and slog out some or all of the workout. I farted around a bit changing designated pouch pocket assignments of sugar, kleenex, Starbucks' card, TTC token, key, cash, and inhaler. You'd think that I was heading for the steppes of Russia (east Toronto, hmm, not too far off). Well in that time the sun started to come out so I grabbed the gear and headed down to the street.

I exited the building, hit shuffle on the playlist and Bittersweet Symphony came on. The sun was shining, the day was ripe with possibility, and I looked awesome in my running gear. I felt like I was in a freaking Nike commerical.

Off I went. It wasn't too bad, not one of those transcendental runs when you begin to truly believe that the human race was built for running but definitely not an "I hate everyone and everything" run. Chindi was left at home as she just is too anxious running through strange neighbourhoods without the Alpha Male. Chindi doesn't get the whole Helen "I am woman, hear me roar" Reddy thing. Feminism seems to have missed the canine population.

Just as well as I couldn't have been constantly hitting up Starbucks if I had her in tow. My lovely, petite sized running tights from REI in Scottsdale needed constant applications of water to make them stick to my body. I got them last fall and considering my old ones had drawstrings (clearly a 20th century technology vs the new ones that are just supposed to "stick" to you) I was pretty happy for the upgrade. The problem is that I find I have to prime them with water on the waistband before I run, and, if, like today, I'm not particularly warm then there is nothing supplied by my own body for them to stick to. Hence 2 stops at Starbucks and one back at the office to prime the pump. Hmm, Prime the Pump, the new pioneer porno.

I also suspect, given my awesome 6 pound weight loss, that they might be on the large side.

So, loving the Starbucks. The last Buckstop, hahahahaha, was at the one the end of our street for what I have now decided is the perfect tea latte - tall, one pump each vanilla, hazelnut and cinnamon. Trust me. Heaven.

80 k right now seems like an impossiblity but Ironman was too, and look how that turned out. The thing is, I've been to the dark side of fear and anxiety and disbelieve in the power of my own mind and body. My reward for that journey was a finish line that showed me how awesome I truly am. The awesomeness was so thick that night that it's what really brought me in. I left some of my own for those for whom 17 hours and midnight really loomed. I accessed my awesome organ while I was out there (located just below the heart) and managed to actually negative split the out and back.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The super bad, horrible awful run.

Got your attention?

So, (sigh) they can't all be winners and sometimes all you get out of your workout is mental training, as in the training makes you mental.

It was supposed to be 26 km of  fun, with dog, sunny skies, feeling super duper, top of the world, all that good stuff. It happened right after a wonderful swim at a very swanky downtown club courtesy of the wonderful woman who puts needles in me. Now, in hindsight, and truth be told, also at the time, I should have had lunch before the run. Breakfast of champions, Red River cereal and fruit was at 8 am - run started at 12. Too much time and not enough calories. With the WW I'm running about 500 calories short a day (giving me my 1 lb a week loss) and I have to realize that that level of deprivation is going to lay a very thin line in the sand between happy fun run and depleted sad slog.

My best girl (dog Chindi) by my side, I set out with a great play list on the ipod and high expectations. My goal was Victoria Park, 13 km away up a lovely trail beside the Don River. The same trail run last weekend, twice, with happy dog and sunny skies. Chindi is not fond of the initial part of the run, we have to start off from my office on a busy street that smells like dogs she doesn't know, then she has to go down metal stairs that she can see through and she's stuck on leash until we get to the less used part of the trail. But let me tell you, she remained a sullen teenager for the entire run. I let her off leash to frolic only to have her sit down on the trail and refuse to move. Back on the leash until we got to a very wonderful part of the trail, with the river running right beside us. If you're a water dog that's got your name all over but this water dog continued to pout, tail down and more trail sitting.

Now, I felt guilty. I knew she was upset that Alex wasn't with us, she was worried that without the Alpha male we'd get ourselves into trouble and also, since he's been travelling so much, I think she just missed him. I considered turning back to find him on his shorter run and letting him take her home with him but I kept thinking she'd perk up. No perking happened just 25 lbs dragging behind me.

So now I'm getting sad and depressed, the snow is warm enough today to get sloppy with big divots that threatened to twist my ankle. Fast skinny guys kept running past me. I poured all 200 calories of Clif blocks into the stomach but got no sugar love.


But not in a good way - not in the "I'm becoming a better fitter person" way.

I have no watch on today but I'm guessing that if I turn around at about 16 and then add a run home from the office I'll have gotten in 21k today - about 3 hours at the speed I was able to go. I turn us around and Chindi, naturally, gets a second wind and finally starts contributing to the cause by pulling me along the trail. We exit the trail early to get on some snow free city sidewalks and the two of us fly down the road to the office, me dreaming of coke, Chindi dreaming of rancid fish wrapped in mouldy bacon (there, just turned myself off bacon - handy).

The security guard at the office tells me Alex is still around (aside, we work in the same building, it's a small one so everyone is well know, esp as the only married couple there). I call him and catch him for a ride home. I'm stinky, still in workout clothes, and I'm out of control, blood sugar crashing, hungry. An attempt is made to purchase back bacon sandwiches at the farmer's market on the way home but they just take cash. I stagger off to find Alex and further the meltdown. At that point I was the total Zombie runner, can't think, can't run anymore, possibly decomposing, stumbling around just needing brains, tasty tasty brains.

Made do with very tasty egg wrap created by he who is so good at taking care of me in Zombie mode. Tomorrow's another day and perhaps I can get that extra missed 10 km in. No trails unless it's colder and the snow sets up. There is a shovelling by-law and I intend to enjoy the results.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Into week 6 of  both the ultra-marathon training and weight watchers and the two continue to complement each other.

Nitty gritty on the WW - I switched my weigh in day to Fridays because I found that I was hoarding points for the weekend and going too hungry on Mondays. Traditionally training has always left me tired and hungry and grouchy on Monday so I wanted to try and work on that issue. Now, if say, I have a party to attend on a Thursday the only worry is having enough points left for a few drinks and that, if I'm serious about training and making a good weight for races, well, that my friends can be missed.

Last week's volume was about 50k, 35 of it on Saturday and Sunday so having earned the lion's share of my activity points I proceeded to have lion portions of food, including dessert both nights. Result - Monday saw me feeling great, no fatigue, no hunger, I felt like I hardly needed the rest day.

So, I continue to be an ambassador for the program, it's really working with my training and my life. I suspect that by end of March, when things start to really pick up, I might have to add a few more calories/points to make sure I'm recovering from the big weeks but, after the 50 miler, and the 2 week orgy of caloric consumption that results from these events, I'll have another window before Iron training gets crazy in September.

Weight loss has been steady, I should be down about 5 pounds this Friday which brings me back to Iron weight. After that, I'll feel like I'm actually losing something - well, actually gaining something.