Monday, September 1, 2014

Philadelphia Half Marathon Training: Week 7

August has thrown me some curve balls. Two weeks ago I came down with what I can only describe as food poisoning. This week, I struggled to overcome a cold that gradually progressed from a three-day sore throat to an all-out summer sniffler. I have a high tolerance for pain, but no tolerance for discomfort. This was discomfort at its most uncomfortable. I spent the week as a whining, complaining, snotty mess. Without the kind of cold medications meth addicts use, I couldn't sleep but the drugs made my heart race and that kept me up too. At press time, the cold appears to be on its last legs after seven long days. All that is left is a wad of mucus that refuses to dislodge from my throat and a bit of lingering fatigue from a week of poor-quality sleep. With three weeks left until the race, I can't afford any more obstacles.

Monday -- 8.3 miles with Josh in Central Park. This was the first day I could tell I was on the brink of an illness. I met Josh on the West Side Drive to run together for the first time since the beginning of the summer. 30 minutes of core while watching Seinfeld on my DVR before work.

Tuesday -- 10.3 miles with Josh in Central Park. My throat felt like sandpaper when I woke up this morning, but other than that, I was OK. It was very humid out and I ended up taking the train home to the dismay of the straphangers who had to share a car with me. After getting home, I remembered I was supposed to do strides today. I need to start tying a string around my finger to remind me to actually do them.

Wednesday -- Workout Fail. I had 4x2 miles on my calendar and failed to complete it for a number of factors; 50% of which were my fault. Here's what I did wrong: Moved the workout from the flat track or the West Side Highway to the lower loop of Central Park. I was under the false belief that the downhills would make up for the uphills and failed to adjust goal times to account for aforementioned hills and oppressive humidity. Terry later mentioned that I could have easily started the intervals 10 seconds slower (Five seconds for the hills and five for the humidity) and would have likely completed the workout as opposed to bailing on the first mile of the third repeat. The mounting effects of a cold on my breathing were also a slight factor. I was fortunate to have Jason and Josh's company for this effort. Sticking with Jason who is faster than me for the first repeat should have been an immediate indication that I was pushing too hard too soon. The end result ended up being 10:56 for the first set, 10:46 for the second, a 5:25 mile and then an afternoon of regret and self-doubt.

Thursday -- 13.5 miles on the West Side Highway. I took a sick day from work today to make sure I didn't have strep throat. I spent most of the day in bed alternating between reading and sleeping. I did numerous Google searches on running with a cold only to find the same information I find every other time I have had a cold. The general rule is "above the neck go ahead, below the neck stay in bed." Historically, running has sped up my recovery from colds. Late in the evening, I ended up getting in a fairly brisk medium long run along the Hudson and feeling much better after breathing in fresh air.

Friday -- 8.5 miles in Central Park. Somehow I woke up feeling worse this morning and slogged through a run on the Bridle Path through a haze of cold medication. I kept the pace and effort laughably easy as I couldn't afford to have another soul-crushing workout tomorrow. Oh, and I remembered to do strides!

Saturday -- 18 mile run with a 10 mile Marathon Pace Run on the West Side Highway. Oh, how far gone are the days of being able to wake up with the sunrise and set out for a run before the city awakes. After working the night shift for more than a year, a 6:30am workout is synonymous with "all-nighter". But today I had no choice. The guys were coming into town in the mid-morning for a weekend-long bachelor party and I wanted to have the tough workout well out of the way by then. Also, Sarah and I had similar workouts and were able to link up for the first time in who knows how long. When I rolled out of bed from six hours of staring at the ceiling and cursing my cold, I skipped the pre-run stretching and replaced it with pre-run netty pot, zicam and intense nose blowing. I shoveled a Picky Bar down my throat and guzzled a cup of coffee as I waited for the elevator. This would end up being a bad idea. I felt surprisingly decent as I ran to meet Sarah in Riverside Park. As we settled into the prescribed pace, 5:50 came easy. Too easy actually. We were a little quick through the first mile before dialing it back. Around 3 miles into the tempo, I was reminded of my late breakfast. I hoped it would be a brief reminder; a nudge maybe, but it was not. A half-mile later, I had to make a pit stop in a conveniently-located bus terminal. With the precision of a NASCAR pit crew, I took care of what needed to be taken care of and then sped back down pit road settling right back into the pace. It was discouraging to have to stop mid-workout, but as Sarah said when we met back up, it's good practice for the unexpected. All things considered, the workout was a success with the splits being: 5:45, 5:52, 5:53, 5:47 (pit stop), 5:46, 5:50 (back w/ Sarah), 5:52, 5:47, 5:45, 5:42.  I have been questioning my decision not to do an extra two miles for a total of 12. I think I could have handled it, but I ran out of real estate on the West Side Highway and I thought it might be a good idea to remain conservative while using so much energy to fight the cold. 

Sunday -- 6 miles with Jesse in Central Park. I'll be honest. Most of my "hydrating" yesterday was with beer. I know it was the wrong thing to do, but it was after all, a bachelor party. While the pace of the consumption was slow and steady, the day was long and despite never being overly intoxicated and chasing every drink with water, I woke up with a pretty wicked hangover. Oddly, this six mile run on the Bridle Path was the best I felt all day. That's probably because it was oppressively humid and I sweat out the worst of the toxins. I had the option to take today off, but I always enjoy getting in some miles with Jesse and logistically, it will probably be better to take tomorrow off. The hangover stuck around for the rest of the day and I did all I could to stay hydrated.  My cold however, seems to be dissipating and perhaps tomorrow's day off will be its death knoll.

Total Weekly Mileage: 78.4 (most since February)

Beer of the Week:
Empire White Aphro

I have fond memories of times spent at the Empire Brewing Company in Syracuse, NY. So, when I see its beers on taps, I jump at the chance to go back in time to my early-20s. White Aphro was on tap at the Headless Horseman near Union Square. It's a Wit Ale only available on tap in New York State. The lemon and ginger flavors are pretty pronounced and it drinks a little heavier than its color would lead you to believe, but still very good and a selection you should try if you find it at your local watering hole.

Next Week:  Hold-off on those PSLs!  We're in for the hottest, most humid days of the summer!  

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