Monday, February 13, 2012

Napa Valley Marathon Training Week 4

Week #4
Monday Power + 3.19 mi recovery
Tuesday 6 mi
Wednesday 8x800s Yassos 7x 800s 7.44 mi
Thursday 6 miles 2mi recovery pm + 4.09 mi evening run
Friday Rest
Saturday 10 mi pace 10.30 mi
Sunday 20 mi

Total miles 53
% Change from previous week was 89%

Tuesday was a 6-miler at Cal Poly for a late afternoon run. The day almost got away from me. I almost nixed the run, but I was glad I pushed on through. It is so easy to cancel a run because of excuses like it's too late, or I'm too tired to go out. But once out there, I felt like I won the battle of "should I" or "should I not".

Wednesday was my last night for Yasso this training cycle. I was so bummed. I accidentally pushed the stop button on my Garmin and had to re-start.  In so doing, I screwed up. I don't know why, but lately, I've been bungling over my watch. Long story short, I miscounted and was short one Yasso. My average turned out to be 3:54 which was identical to the Yassos I ran three weeks ago. I guess I should be happy that it was no slower than the previous. However I was a little disappointed that I didn't have the slightest improvement. My splits were: 3:49/ 3:53/ 3:53/ 3:55/ 3:57/ 3:51/ 3:58.

Thursday was brutal. I had to wake up early to get to Santa Barbara for training for work. That meant that there was no room for an early morning run. The killer was the two hours of sitting in the car and five hours of sitting in class, then sitting in the car for two more to get home. Needless to say that my hip flexor got so stiff and tight. As soon as I got home I switched into running clothes and was out the door. Didn't know what it was but had to cut the run short because of some terrible side stitch again. It was similar to the same pain I suffered from in the Heritage Oaks 10K in September 2011. That side stitch was so painful that there was nothing I could do but slow down my pace considerably. I can only surmise that this was probably due to the sitting posture that I've had to endure.
This is the first time I've caught a glimpse of these minis.

'Lil Sebastian--from Parks and Recreation? Any fans of the show?

Saturday was cloudy, windy and cool. I thought this was the perfect day for running. I love running in this weather. But when I got out there, it was humid. I had to run against the wind on the way back and it was hard. The night before I was awaken in the middle of the night by a sore lower back. Probably from sitting in the car on Thursday and sitting all day at the office on Friday. I was a bit perplexed about the soreness. This worried me because I had to do a major 10 mile pace run. As it turned out the sore back rolled to my hip flexor. All that region is connected so it was hard to pinpoint and localise the area of problem.  I knew I have to be careful and take it easy. This slightly worried me for I only have 3 weeks before the marathon. In the end, I was okay with a 9:20 pace overall. My first 5 miles were 9:30 pace and the last five miles took me 9:12 pace.
I was only faster by 18 seconds per mile in the last half--a far cry from last week's 55 seconds per mile improvement in the second half of the run. It was a night of foam rolling.

Sunday I woke up with a huge improvement on my back. Whew! I had no soreness at all.  I made sure I did my gentle leg stretches before the run and after one mile into the run.  I made a pact with myself that I would be okay with a 10:17 pace considering the back scare the night before.  The name of the game was to stay healthy for the marathon. However, after I got a good warm up, I was able to pick up the pace. Since I felt great, I thought I would pursue my plan of running a progressive long run, but paying careful attention to the slightest twinge of any muscle ache anywhere on my body. I ran on Turri Road and turned around at the 10th mile mark at the Jr. High School where I refilled my water bottles. I got a chance to run the backside of the rolling hills. Running it clockwise, was challenging. I ran a long uphill which would have been otherwise a long downhill coming from the other direction. It was a good change of pace and the scenery looked different.
Turri Road, a shot from the opposite direction...

Me stopping and smelling the roses--whoa, is she a donkey or a horse?

With the progressive long run, I picked up the pace every five miles just like I did for New York last October.  My five mile paces turned out to be: 9:48 / 9:36 / 9:45 / 9:08. In my last 20 miler for NY, my five mile progressive splits were: 10:13 / 9:50 / 9:26 / 9:09 for the exact same route today. Average pace was 9:39 and today was 9:34.  I've dropped the average pace by 5 seconds per mile. (Five seconds basically translates to 2 minutes and 11 seconds. In case you're wondering.  That's a huge improvement if I can bring it on March 4th.)  I am particularly proud of the last five miles today, for I was able to pick it up to my marathon goal pace on fatigued legs.  This is what I wanted my body to get accustomed to so when it comes time on March 4th, it will remember this feeling I'm hoping.  Reaching back to my earlier 20 mile long runs, I remember finishing in 3:45 and now a 3:11 seems so far out.  I've come a long way and the great thing about it is, there's more room for improvement. Napa---Bah-rrring it!

How often do you give in to excuses when you just don't feel like running?

How do you handle botched Garmin re-starts/re-sets?

How do you handle stiffness from sitting down all day at your job?

Have you ever had a weird pain/soreness that woke you up in the middle of the night where you thought you might have to cancel your next day's training?

How fast/slow do you perform your super long runs, 20+ miles or more?

Happy Trails!

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