Monday, January 20, 2014

21, 20: Adjustment

Mon Jan 6: 10.5 mile bike ride and 1400 yard swim.  I was up bright and early to get a pre-work ride in, and the sky looked awesome.  I rode up to Grizzly Peak and back, keeping an easy pace after the long Saturday run and fast Sunday ride.  After work, I got back in the pool, feeling clunky after two weeks off.  I mixed it up a lot, just letting it be a warm-up swim.

Tuesday Jan 7: rest.  I just wasn't feeling it in the morning.  Or at lunch.  These days are good for rest days.

Wednesday Jan 8, 2850 yard swim and 4.01 mile run.  I've been using the Swim Speed workout series since last summer, in part to improve form and in part to give some structure to my pool workouts.  An unintended side effect is that what I once considered rather long swims have become normal for me.  Kind of like running...  Anyway, I did workout 11-2, which focused on core form.  Following this I hit the treadmill for some mixed hill and speed intervals.  I kicked my speed intervals up a half minute per mile faster.  Looking at my race pace from the flatter parts of the Brazen New Year's races, I was often as fast and sometimes faster than what I've been using for speed intervals.  Hills I kicked up a decent notch too, to 12 degrees.  After the volume of holiday running on hills, 9 degrees didn't seem like much.  

Thursday Jan 9, 6.1 mile run.  I finally had the right combination of waking up early enough and no early meetings to get out for a morning trail run.  Not specifically planned, I went to Redwood and made a spontaneous turn out on the French trail to get some small hills in.  Heading down from the ridge, a dog started chasing me.  I gave it a friendly greeting, which usually placates them, and took off again.  Then the dog chased me again, getting more aggressive when I turned back toward him.  Finally the owner came down the path and I let them run ahead, since I was taking this run very slow after Wednesday evening's speed/hill intervals.  After that it was a calm, peaceful run, mostly through the fog, with the sun peeking through.  I turned uphill to loop back at the Fern trail, which I’ve somehow never been on.  It turns out it’s a pretty decent climb.  I was mentally naming trees as I headed up the Fern trail, since there were a few rather contorted trunks on the way uphill, and I was using them as landmarks for short intervals.  For as tired as my legs were, this was actually the best uphill running I’ve had in weeks.

Friday Jan 10.  12.4 miles on the bike and 4000 yard swim.  Slowly getting into a better sleep schedule, I managed to get out about 7:45 for an easy paced ride along Skyline.  I rode north and tuned back before the Grizzly Peak climb.  Then I turned back and rode to the Chabot Science center, turning back again for a faster finish.  I ended the day with a late long swim.  It was workout 10-3 of the swim speed series.  This one built up to a fast paced fin/paddle set, which I haven't tried before.  That, along with a long kick set, had me feeling a little sore and tired for a while, but each ended in a place where the soreness and tiredness faded away and I just kept going.  This turned out to be by far my fastest 4000 yard workout, around 1:45, even with the long kick set.

Saturday Jan 11.  16 mile run.  I started at Inspiration Point, with the goal of exploring Wildcat Canyon Park, which I've never been in.  It was very foggy and, at the ridge top, very windy.  I headed out on the Nimitz trail and turned uphill at the Conlon Trail.  Everything started getting out-of-this-world mystical at this point, with 7m-9m winds blowing fog across the hilltops.  And visibility was close to nada.

Out of nowhere came a bunch of cows; they apparently graze here all year.  Not the smartest of animals, this group was standing around alone in the windiest, coldest place they could find.  I walked though, not wanting to startle them, especially since there were a few calfs in the group.  Most just kept eating, while a couple stared me down intensely.

The trail went downhill from here, and I then headed north on the Wildcat Creek trail, which changed to pavement.  It runs right next to the creek, which is the lone stretch of dense trees and scrub in a park mostly filled with open grassy hills.  Lots of people here.  I turned uphill on the Belgum trail, coming across a few oddly placed, well groomed palm trees.  There used to be a sanitarium here.  Continuing uphill, but under the fog, I noticed a great view of Richmond and the north bay.  Continuing further uphill on the San Pablo Ridge trail, it got steeper, foggier, and windier.  The GPS data says it was a 38% grade on one hill, which I really trudged though, since my legs were well pre-exhausted on this run.  The only people I saw up here were a slowly hiking older couple--kudos to them for getting out in this weather.

I turned downhill on the Mezue trail, a respite from all the climbing, and refilled my water.  Rounding one corner on this downhill, I startled a couple calfs, who took off running.  I've never seen a cow run.  At this point, I had a lot of energy, but my legs were beat.  I kept going south along a different stretch of the Wildcat Creek trail, and turned uphill at Jewel Lake.  This part, in Tilden Nature area, climbs through Eucalyptus forest, eventually coming to the open top of Wildcat Peak.  It had an awesome, astounding view of nothing but fog in all directions.  Which is perfect for me; these are some of my favorite running conditions.  I ran back to the Nimitz trail, exploring a bit before heading back to Inspiration Point.  A few hours later, I completely crashed; the lack of sleep from readjusting my schedule this week finally caught up with me.    

Sun Jan 12.  2.7 mile hike.  What hit me like a hammer a few hours after Saturday's run turned out to be a cold.  After crashing, I decided to back off for a few days to let it burn itself out.  PL and I went for a hike around Sibley, looking for cows.  I tried out the five fingers shoes I bought, since I want to ease into using them occasionally to help with foot strength.  They were surprisingly comfortable for being minimal.  Then again, the Xero sandals I've been wearing on and off during the day since early fall have made a huge difference in foot strength already.  After buying the same two models of running shoes repeatedly for a few years, I recently picked up a number of different kinds.  In part to experiment, and in part to mix things up in hope up avoiding the muscle tightness I wrestled with early last summer.  Anyway, I also bailed on a planned bike ride to let the immune system work.

Tuesday Jan 13.  13.1 mile bike ride.  After a day off, I rode another double out and back to Fish Ranch Road and the Chabot Science center.  This stretch avoids the biggest hills in my neighborhood, and I'll probably use it more to get in fun training rides when I don't want to beat myself up, since it still has hills, but I can ride most of it at a controllable effort.  The cold was in full swing, but not yet at its worst, so I started easy.  I felt better as I rode, so I picked up the pace and finished quite fast.

Thursday January 15.  5.3 mile run.  After the worst day of the cold on Wednesday, it was finally starting to ease off, so I used the chance to get a final training run in before Saturday's race.  Running Sibley at sunrise is really pretty; the light and shadows make it look a bit like a real volcano.  I explored a bit on a trail I haven't been on that heads out to a pond.  In the continuing shoe experiment, I tried the Altra superiors on this run.  I really like the feel of them, but I'll need some adjustment time for the lack of heel drop.  Otherwise, my sinuses protested quite a but, despite my having better energy than the last four days.

Saturday January 18.  Steep Ravine Trail Marathon.  26.89 miles.  I took another rest day before this, and it turned out to be a great race, despite the lingering cold.  More on this run elsewhere.

Sunday January 19.  Rest/David Hockney exhibit  I planned a ride, but it was a busy day, and the amount of walking and standing brought my legs back to a tired place by the end of the day.  The David Hockney exhibit was amazing, especially the blown up iPad paintings.

I'm calling this two week stretch "Adjustment," since the combination of returning to a regular schedule from the holidays and fighting a cold put a bit of an upheaval on everything.  Lots of lost sleep the first week probably helped cause the cold.  This flipped things upside down the second week, in which I skipped a lot of workouts to get extra rest. But it all ended well, taking on a hard race course at a new trail distance with a consistently string effort.  

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