Monday, September 8, 2014

Philadelphia Half Marathon Training: Week 8

This week was a lesson in adjusting.  If you have never tried to run with a half-head, half-chest cold in the dog days of summer, I hope it's an experience you never have to endure.  This might not have been the worst cold I have ever had, but it was certainly the most stubborn and persistent.  By my count it lasted for 10 days.  During those 10 days breathing, sleeping and therefore running were all exponentially more difficult than they would have been had I been healthy.  Still, I have a tough time accepting these factors are the reasons runs go poorly and wind up getting discouraged after a bad workout blaming my fitness as opposed to poor health and a dew point of 72 degrees (See Tuesday).  The summary for those who don't want to keep reading (and I can't blame you) is that this week picked up where last week left off (terrible) but finished on a high and reassuring note.

Monday: 30 minutes of core.  With friends still in town for a bachelor party and the cold still depleting my energy, I thought it would be better to take the rest day earlier in the week instead of later.

Tuesday: The plan called for 8X800 @ 2:32-2:36 with 300m (90 second) jog rest.  My health and the oppressive conditions at 10am when I set out should have been a signal to adjust expectations significantly and be OK with it, but that is not my strong point.  It was 88 degrees with a dew point of 72 which is downright soupy.  The workout started out tough and steadily slid into misery.  I was hitting the targets for the first set of four, but then the heat combined with cold medication started to mess with my stomach and the second set was disastrous.  I forced myself to finish but by the final interval I was barely moving.  Six-days removed from the workout, it's actually pretty impressive that I didn't drop out or run even slower given all the issues, but that's not what I was thinking last Tuesday.  The combination of this week's effort combined with last week's failed attempted at two mile repeats left me questioning my preparedness and caused me to seriously re-evaluate the remainder of my week in order to expedite recovery from the cold.  In particular, I was signed up for the Autism Speaks 4 Mile race in Central Park Saturday morning.  Terry and I decided that unless weather conditions were perfect, it might not be worth jeopardizing the main objective (Philly Half).  I figured I would decide by Thursday when the forecast would be more reliable.

Wednesday: 9 miles on the Central Park Bridle Path.  This was the first adjustment to the week's schedule.  It was supposed to be a 90-95 minute medium long run, but was scaled back to an abbreviated and very easy effort.

Thursday: 10 miles in Central Park.  Today was the first day since we were in Idaho I felt like my body actually wanted to be running.  Before heading out, I looked at Saturday's forecast and saw it was supposed to be worse than Tuesday.  That was enough to finalize the decision to not race Saturday and add a couple of miles to today's run.

Friday: 7 miles in Central Park, 8x20 second strides.  This was a rare Friday evening run in Central Park as the sun was setting.  Beautiful.

Saturday: 12 mile death march on the West Side Highway.  I woke up to a text from Thomas who said the 4 miler was one of the hardest races he'd ever run.  Other recaps and posts by experienced runners expressed similar sentiments.  It made me pretty satisfied with my decision to sit this one out.  I stayed in bed a little later hoping storms would roll in and burn off the humidity.  They did not.  In fact, when I started running at 10:50 it was comically humid.  I ran as easy as I could for 90 minutes and by the time I was done I looked like I had stood in a car wash for an hour and a half -- minus the soap.  I think the shirt, shorts and shoes I was wearing are still wet.  30 minutes of core in the evening.

Sunday: 16 miles with a 7 mile wave tempo (5:20-5:25/5:50-5:55).  Today was the polar opposite of yesterday.  Anyone could have run fast in this weather.  It was in the high 60s with 0% humidity when I set out on the West Side Highway just before 10am.  There was a Race for the Cure in Central Park, so I knew the highway would be packed with the non-race runners/walkers.  It was.  On the four-mile warmup, I had to dodge bikes and large packs of runners, but fortunately when the workout started the obstacles were limited.  The plan was to alternate between 5:30 and 6:00 for seven miles.  I ended up going a little faster which I attribute to my body's relief after days of running in the humidity.  On the second faster mile, a guy crossed the path with his head buried in his phone.  I started yelling to let him know I was coming.  His response was to stop directly in front of me almost causing me to crash into him.  Of course, he blamed me for his failure to observe his surroundings.  That's the kind of behavior that gets you mowed down by a taxi in this city.  Miles for this workout: 5:21, 5:52, 5:21, 5:51, 5:22, 5:55, 5:23.

Total Weekly Mileage: 66

Beer of the Week:

I really wanted to like the two Harlem beers I tried this week.  Harlem Renaissance Wit had a funky aftertaste.  Sugar Hill Golden Ale was just OK.  As I have in the past, I turned to Oregon for help. I've had my eye on Full Sail's Session Lage for a long time.  I think it's the cute bottles.  I finally picked up a six pack this weekend.  Session is a refreshing summer-time beer without being a summer ale.  It's a true lager with almost a sweet taste, not at all heavy and at 11 ounces a bottle, great if you don't want too much to drink.

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