March 7, 2011

AR 50 Week Nine


With a pretty busy week at work (a bit unexpectedly so), I welcomed a drop down week with enthusiasm. I needed some extra rest and my legs and body were starting to feel the mileage. Even my mind needed a little break from running. I still got in some quality runs, including a standout tempo and a rainy run to work. Plus, I'm starting a mini taper since my first ultra is coming up this Saturday!

Rest. After a long week with my highest mileage yet, I needed a rest day. Only problem was it would mean 2 rest days in a row since I wouldn't be able to run Tuesday. Thought about squeezing in a short one, but hit snooze instead, and I didn't feel the least bit guilty. Ended up having a long and frustrating day at work anyway and came home exhausted.

Rest. Another looooong day at work. Had my usual Tuesday morning volunteer shift from 8:30-12:30 then went straight to work til 9pm. Running was just not gonna happen.

6 miles (4 tempo), 8:44 avg pace. Before my run I had my first appointment with a physical therapist specializing in sports care. I was referred to them from work and had been meaning to go for a while, but I just never made an appointment. But I've noticed that on my trail runs in particular my hip flexors have been really tight. And for the past several months I've had problems off and on with my hips. Anyway, after a chat and brief exam, the doc declared that I wasn't injured (knock on wood!), but confirmed my self-diagnosis of tight hip flexors and added that it was caused by weak glutes. Not necessarily weak in strength, but weak in functionality. Basically the muscles don't execute properly when I'm running which forces other things to compensate and thus end up sore. So I was given some exercises to do and then he worked on my legs a bit, employing Active Release Techniques that hurt like hell. He also let me know that my quads and hamstrings are a tight mess, but I kind of guessed that from the eye-watering pain as he worked on them. I felt noticeably better afterword and will be back in a couple weeks to see if things are any better.

I wasn't sure if I should run after my appointment, but I had just had two rest days in a row so I needed to get out there. I wanted to do 6 miles, and I had been toying with the idea of doing a tempo run. I haven't done one in a while, mainly because I don't like to run that fast in the morning, which is when I usually run. In the end the idea won out and I headed out with some ominous clouds off in the distance.
I started out with an easy mile to warm-up then kicked things up for the next 4 miles. Here's how it went: 
mile 1 - 9:34
mile 2 - 8:35
mile 3 - 8:21
mile 4 - 8:11
mile 5 - 8:07
mile 6 - 9:33 

I was aiming for an 8:30-8:40 tempo pace but was surprised when my legs wanted to go a bit faster. I even got faster with each mile! I always find it funny how after doing tempo miles or intervals the cool-down feels so much slower than it actually is : ) I finished feeling pretty good and managed to just miss the rain! Will definitely be adding tempos back in regularly.

10 miles, 9:19 avg pace. Another midweek medium-long run on my usual route along the river. Slept in and didn't start til late afternoon, but finished just before losing the sun. Kept the pace a little faster than usual and even finished with my fastest mile in 8:50!

Rest. Thought about meeting up with my coworkers for our weekly run, but after two hard runs in a row my legs needed a break.

7 miles, 9:18 avg pace. With no one to run the trails with this weekend I was on my own and stuck to the parkway. I ran the opposite direction than usual and found myself among tons of other runners and cyclists. Lots of training groups (including Fleet Feet Sac!) do their long runs along the parkway on the weekends which makes for great people watching : ) Finished with no time to spare and raced to get to work on time for a hectic Saturday shift.

10 miles, 9:11 avg pace. I used the same trick as a couple weeks ago and left my stuff at work Saturday night with the intent to run there the next morning. A straight shot is about 6 miles, but I wanted to do 10 so I followed the same route as last time to add on a few more. I overslept a bit and rushed out the door, only to be met with a drizzly rain. Probably due to the weather, I only spotted a handful of people along the parkway (in complete contrast to the flocks I saw the day before) and I'll admit I felt a bit like a badass getting my run in despite the rain. It picked up a bit as the miles ticked by and I got pretty wet, but luckily it wasn't very cold.

The night before I had uploaded a couple new pop hits to my Ipod and they were so catchy that I listened to only these two songs the entire run!! I don't love J.Lo or think of her as being particularly talented, but her song is fun and catchy, and Britney will always have a spot in my heart (after all, I was a fad-loving teen when she became a pop icon). They had the perfect beat to keep me going at a good pace and after just a few listens I was singing along to both. Music and running is definitely one of the best combos out there.

I finished my 10 miles at the Peet's a few blocks from work with no time to spare so I grabbed some coffee and a snack then hurried to work. I got ready in record time and was happy just to finally be dry. Running to work was yet another success!

Total: 33.1 miles


  1. Good luck with the race this weekend! I can't wait to hear about it. Hopefully the step back week will leave your legs ready to race. :)

  2. running to work i the rain! Nice work!

  3. Good luck on your first Ultra! Look forward to reading all about it :)

  4. See you on Saturday!!

    All the best,