Tag Archives: quick thoughts

Checking In 9/27/2021 after a 0.8 Mile Weekend

I took what was basically a complete rest weekend, and though it ultimately was a good idea it happened somewhat by accident.

Saturday I meant to be a full rest day, and while I did sneak to the gym and ride the spin bike for an hour while reading I did take it easy.

However, Sunday I had intended a full workout day, quality time on the treadmill and then some extra cross training. It was possibly a dubious idea because I planned to train hard Monday (today) and Tuesday, plus I felt like I needed more rest going in.

In a stroke of reverse-luck, I got to the gym around noon and realized I wasn’t wearing my Garmin watch! I had taken it off to charge and forgotten to put it back on. That rarely ever happens… in fact, I don’t think that’s happened before in Vegas.

I did go a couple minutes on the treadmill, tested some faster running which felt fine, then improvised a light strength workout that incorporated some exercises and weights I knew were hard to track on Garmin. I considered this sort-of-session a chance to work easy on some stuff I wouldn’t have generally done, plus I didn’t worry at all about the length of breaks (which I usually do when the clock’s ticking on a 20 minute workout). The light and easy workout left me feeling a bit energized, and I went home after that and relaxed for the day.

I realized in hindsight that I probably needed an easy weekend like that, after weeks and weeks of long workouts, traveling, and cramming that kind of effort into what should be a period of rest. I do feel a bit lax this morning, but in the taper sense of having had a bout of inactivity more than that I’m too tired.

Incidentally I set myself up well for some tougher workouts this week, today and tomorrow and then Thursday. Had I gone hard today, I would have had to be careful with intensity today, maybe tomorrow as well.

Now I’m thinking of finally venturing outside after work and going for some easy intervals at the park. It’ll still be hot, but not like during the summer, and worst case scenario I just need to slow down and run easy in the heat. But going 7 miles today between work break runs and easy intervals after work sounds like a good idea.

I also ate a bunch of ice cream this weekend for the first time in a long while, so maybe I should burn that off.

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Checking In 9/24/2021

After quite a bit of productive running and cross training through Wednesday, I made sure not to run Thursday and won’t run today either.

No, I’m fine. No pain, no injuries, and sure I’m a bit tired from short sleep. The real issue is that Vegas is getting more wildfire smoke, this time from the Sequoias, and the haze is supposed to stick around through today. It’s probably best not to go outside and breathe that in while running. Walking, probably okay, but not running.

I took it easy in the gym last night because of the short sleep, only going about 20 minutes and going out to eat instead. Today I’ll probably go longer in the gym, more like my usual workload, with a scheduled rest day tomorrow. Since I plan to run a 10K trial on Sunday, I’m making a point to take it easy Saturday. I might go ride the spin bike easy tomorrow afternoon if I’m bored or antsy.

My birthday is next month on a Saturday, and coincides perfectly with the end of peak training for Indy. I weighed this for a little while and have decided to take a long weekend trip to Vancouver on that weekend. Everything is booked, flight, hotel. I’d fly in midday that Friday, have two full days there, and fly out midday that Monday.

Stanley Park in Vancouver BC

Canada has re-opened to US visitors that are vaccinated for Covid (and yes: I’m vaccinated). I haven’t been to Vancouver, one of my favorite cities in the world, in over two years. And I didn’t want to wait until next May for a Vancouver Marathon that we’re still not totally sure is going to happen, nor until 2023.

This is a good time to go as well. The city won’t be crazy busy since summer is over. With Canada still partially restricted to visitors, it’s not going to be as busy and crowded. It’s also cool but not yet cold enough for BC snow, so misty rain is probably the only adverse weather I might see that weekend.

Also, relevant to my training, Vancouver’s marine climate provides a lot of humidity, which makes a long run there great training stimulus for Indy since Indy will likely be cool and humid on race day.

I’ve wanted to do a long run on the Vancouver Seawall, around Stanley Park and all the way around False Creek to Granville Island. One way it’s about 11-12 miles, and if inclined I could turn around and double back to make it longer. I’ve ridden this route on a rental bike before, but I want to run it.

Since I’ve only gone to run the Vancouver Marathon, doing a long Seawall run like this for fun right before or after the marathon was highly impractical. The only way I was ever going to do it (aside from the highly unlikely scenario of moving there) is if I made a separate trip with no racing plans. While that’s not the reason I’m making this trip, it’s certainly a contributing factor. And it helps it’s the end of my peak week, where I need to take my longest run and have a use for it.

Now, there are obvious caveats to this trip. You have to pass Covid testing within 72 hours of any travel into or out of Canada regardless of vax status (though with vax no quarantine is required). If either test comes back positive then there’s a problem. And of course, a sudden development in the Corona situation for either the US or Canada prior to the trip could nix any travel there.

I’ve paid for and insured the trip, so I’m not worried about the cost. If a bad test before the trip derails it, I just stay home and do something different. The only significant worry is if I test [+] IN Canada, and now I’m stuck in Canada and can’t fly back. (The insurance apparently covers lodging and per diem if I have to stay in Canada for that, though my situation at work would be the biggest issue)

Still, I’m in good health, have been vaccinated, and the dim possibility of a [+] test trapping me in Canada for at least a couple weeks (which probably would likely be more of a funny story than a bad experience) is a risk I’m willing to take for a trip that’s probably been a long time coming.

There are other things I want to do while I’m there. Vancouver’s sushi choices are excellent, and I will probably eat a lot of sushi. I haven’t been to a BC Lions CFL game in forever, and they are playing that weekend so I may go. And as mentioned, it’s been a while since I’ve been there for a reason other than running the Marathon, so it’ll be great to relax without having to plan around that.

More to come as it gets closer, but I’m looking forward to the trip.

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Checking In 9/22/2021

With nearly 9 miles in the books since Monday and feeling good through all of them (… well, other than fatigue, obviously!), I now feel more like myself again. And, other than the spin bike Monday, I have not been able to cross train in evenings due to various errands. I do plan to get back in the gym tonight, and all permitting try to run outside after work on Thursday and/or Friday.

Yesterday afternoon on a work break, finding that the afternoon runs once again feel rather weary, I decided set my Garmin watch to do a 45-30 run/walk split. The 45’s started easy and I consistently accelerated as much as I comfortably could before I slowed to a walk for 30.

The walks allowed some recovery but weren’t long enough for me to fully recover. They weren’t totally a VO2max interval workout but certainly felt to some degree like one. And none of these run segments were paced in any way. I just started running easy and then made a point to accelerate and push however much I wanted to, so long as I kept pushing faster or harder until the Garmin signaled to walk.

The end result was decidedly faster than my previous afternoon work break runs, without leaving me as gassed as they had before. So for now I think I will stick to the 45-30 accelerate/walk split. I won’t hold myself to any given intensity on the runs, just running them by feel, and see if this split helps me snap back into form.

Garmin says my VO2max has fallen quite a bit since returning to running, even though my training load has held steady. A lot of that is that my running obviously has been slow. I can run fast, but I’ve made a point not to, and doing so (especially on work breaks in full work clothes) is still somewhat hard. I think the subtext of all the data is clear: Run fast in brief spurts when you can, and take it easy otherwise.

Typically, Garmin scores my Training Effect on the break runs aerobically in the 1.5-2.5 range, with no discernible anaerobic activity. But this work break run scored 2.4 aerobic and 0.8 anaerobic. And it didn’t feel worse than those afternoon slogs. In fact, I felt a little better. So perhaps this is a better way to do those as long as I feel up to doing them.

I still plan to cross train in evenings, which is where I’ll mostly work on aerobic fitness, without investing needlessly in slow running. The only slow running I plan on doing right now is, obviously, my long runs… though I may extend the run walk split to fit those as well (maybe without accelerating as much, of course). I’ll mess with this split and approach going forward on breaks, and see what progress I made.

Today instead of running outside after work (it is a bit warm still) I’ll get back in the gym and cross train some more. I will see if I can run outside after work Thursday and Friday, but may go with the gym for those as well. Saturday will be a scheduled full day off, and then I want to run a steady 10K test outdoors on Sunday morning (plus I’ll cross and strength train that afternoon).

I am feeling a lot better about where I’m at than I did last week.

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Checking In 9/21/2021

Yesterday I went on runs on all my work breaks. They were more like easy jogs, sure. But even with residual soreness from Saturday they all felt fine… other than feeling heavy and slow all the way on all three of them. But I’ll gladly take that over injuries slowing me down. I also rode the spin bike easy last night at the gym without any trouble.

Today like yesterday is a soft day off, probably more so than yesterday’s. I’ll do work break runs if they feel right, but this time no workout tonight. I have errands to attend to tonight and hopefully things will settle down tomorrow and beyond for at least a few days.

I think I need to take one more weekend long run trip, not next week but in early October. Vegas will cool down but only to the mid/high 60’s Fahrenheit, with highs still in the low/mid 90’s. While I’d like to make one more trip to Flagstaff, it might be ideal to go back to Big Bear as the latter is a better location for my longer runs (Flag might require creative routing or some remote routes, the latter not ideal if the long run goes south and I need to stop).

After that, Vegas should cool off enough that any other needed long running can take place here. And the feasibility of Indy will be a lot clearer by then as well. At this point I’m not concerned about injury but whether or not I can capable train to handle the distance before November. Saturday’s 13+ miler was a big step, but I have to get to at least 16 without being wrecked for me to believe I can handle Indy in November.

Still cooking up plans for beyond November, and more on that once I get past Indy. For now, I obviously need to focus on the present goal.

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Checking In 9/20/2021

Hello from Las Vegas. After morning coffee, I gassed up and drove straight back into town. I ran some morning errands, then hit the gym for an hour on the elliptical that was rather comfortable given the hours spent running yesterday. I followed that with a rowing machine session, my first swolework in about a week, and then out to finish more errands before the day was out.

I slept in this morning but feel alarmingly good… energy wise. Physically I’m still feeling beat up from the waist down after Saturday’s running. It’s all fortunately soreness: My left leg feels otherwise normal.

Today was supposed to be a scheduled day off. But I had a planned errand tonight pushed back to Tuesday night, so I’m going to make tomorrow the scheduled day off and do some light training today. Compared to yesterday my soreness feels a lot better, and some easy training will help move things along before resting tomorrow. It’ll be like a soft rest day followed by an actual rest day, helpful after the long workout this weekend.

Vegas has finally cooled off to where afternoons following work should cool to the high 80’s Fahrenheit, and I think attempting some brief post-work running sessions outdoors is worth a shot. Worst case scenario I have one brief, overheated session and I just bring training back inside the next day until further notice. But either way it will have to wait until at least Wednesday or Thursday for an attempt. (I notice there’s also a bit of wildfire haze this morning, so I guess that works out)

If I can resume workouts in the evening, that opens up my options quite a bit. If work break runs beforehand feel okay (and they’ve been feeling good since I’ve resumed them this past week), I could build back up to around 6-8 miles of interspersed easy intervals during training days. As of now I think it makes the most sense to still cross train early in the week, coming off heavier longer weekend workouts, and then work more on outdoor training later in the week as my legs bounce back, with one or two rest days in-between each week.

If I manage 4-5 weeks of consistent training this way or close to it, I think I can still be fairly ready for Indy.

One thing I really liked about this weekend’s long running is that, even though I hadn’t really done it at all in a couple months (outside of the 8+ miler I ran through Flagstaff three weeks ago), going long again was like the old adage of riding a bike: My body remembered how to do it even though I hadn’t trained anywhere close to it in a while. And yes, I stopped a lot in large part out of an abundance of caution.

But as many would tell you to fear, I wasn’t hurting and out of gas 3-6 miles in just because I hadn’t been doing 60 minute runs in a while. It took about a couple hours of running before my body really began struggling, which you’d expect even if you were well trained and had been running regularly for a while. It’s the other old adage: I listened to my body, and my body was able to handle quite a bit cold-turkey.

And it’s another good sign that, the day after, I was easily able to get back in the gym and cross train like before plus a little extra. It looks like overall I’m in good condition given I had to basically shut things down for a while.

Part of that is being patient and willing to pull back on my training, but also focusing on consistently eating good foods that foster recovery rather than inflammation. I’m not going to pretend my diet is anywhere close to perfect (hell, I had chicken fried steak Saturday night after the long run, and yes it was great), but most of the time I’ve been pounding clean protein, fresh fruit, and avoiding anything (else) fried. My supplement stack isn’t anything different other than maybe some extra Omega 3 some mornings. I always try to get Garmin’s recommended amount of water and at least get pretty close. Perhaps I’m getting more consistent sleep lately and that’s helped. But nothing I did during that recovery period was crazy-different outside of leaning heavily on cross training and being touch-and-go patient with my training.

So I’ll continue to be patient as I ramp up training, continue to listen to my body and give whatever volume and quality efforts I reasonably can going into October.

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Checking In 9/19/2021 from Big Bear Lake

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Hello from Big Bear Lake. I’ll be driving back to Vegas in a bit and I have some errands to get done, though I feel good enough to cross train in the afternoon once I return.

Incidentally, this is the first trip I’ve taken to Big Bear where I was actually able to stay overnight in Big Bear. Previously I stayed in Barstow and drove up/down each day (and recall that on my last trip I had booked lodging in Big Bear only for the place to screw up the reservation leading me to go back to Barstow anyway). With the summer season ended, lodging was easier to come by this time and I had a nice couple nights at a rustic hotel that’s usually packed and charging $150+ a night.

This also means I got to sleep at altitude (Barstow’s closer to sea level than Vegas at about 2100′) during this Big Bear trip, and my Garmin oximeter showed a difference. Like with Flagstaff, I averaged 88% oxygen overnight each night I’ve been here, even though I slept well and (while slow to get up) felt fairly good in the morning each time.

My legs are decidedly sore this morning. While they can handle an elliptical session this afternoon (I certainly need the low-impact circulation), they can certainly use Monday’s rest day.

Even having spent all summer in the desert, the 40’F outdoor temperature each morning also felt rather good, and I wasn’t wearing long sleeves at all (plus obviously I had on shorts for Saturday’s long run). I actually miss the visceral cold of Chicago and Seattle winters. But that could just be an entire summer of 110 degree days talking.

After Monday, I’ll see what I can do about getting back to morning runs. Logistics make these more complicated than they were in the past, but I usually have enough time that they can be do-able now that Vegas morning temperatures have dropped back to the 70’s and below. We’re still a way from post-work runs being do-able again, but easy intervals in the morning would be a big step forward.

In either case, knowing the hamstring issue emerged two days after a long run, I’m going to take it easy for at least the couple days after this one, and see from there.

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Checking In 9/18/2021 from Big Bear Lake

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Boulder Bay Park in Big Bear Lake

Hello from Big Bear Lake.

This morning I headed out and after over nearly four hours of start-stop running, broken up with a mile 2 pit stop for pastries and espresso, a break in Boulder Bay at 7.5 miles, and a partially bonk-induced steak and egg brunch at Country Kitchen at 10 miles, I staggered back into base at 13.3 miles.

No left anything hurt the entire time! I did have a fatigue-like pain in the right hamstring in the tail end of the run, but I took it slow and stopped for a lot of breaks… so it never got dangerous or hung around long. As I write this, I feel generally sore/tired by mostly good overall. Nothing is bothering me. My left hamstring and groin were never at any point an issue the entire time.

I stayed under shade for most of the workout, and that’s one advantage Big Bear has over Flagstaff: The trees here are taller and take up more of the real estate, so the roads are generally more shaded across the board. Flagstaff is prone to longer stretches of open sun. It also was rather cool in the morning, actually near 40’F, only getting up towards the 70’s once I finished up.

I’ll see how I feel about some extra running tomorrow before I head out of Big Bear, and/or some more cross training after I get back into Vegas. I also have errands I need to run at some point once I’m back in Vegas, so time may be limited. But Monday is a scheduled rest day, and I’ll see how I feel Tuesday in deciding what to do that day and the rest of the week. I know I’ll be running some and cross training some, but what combination and volume remains to be seen. I have a lot penciled in, knowing some of it may likely come off.

This is a good time of year to come into Big Bear, because the summer season ends with the Labor Day holiday, yet it hasn’t gotten cold enough yet for icy temperatures or snow to make coming here unworkable. I may be able to squeeze in another trip here before Indy, but we’ll see. It’s not yet cooled off enough in Vegas that these weekend trips for long runs aren’t necessary anymore.

I don’t plan to run long next weekend, but might do a moderately long workout Sunday. These long workouts will be spaced out a bit, to give the adaptions a chance to show up workout over workout without overdoing it and risking further trouble.

That’s it for the moment. Going to relax before a busy Sunday.

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