Sunday is my off day. Saturday is my long effort day. I do a lot of thinking during my long efforts, which is why I want to make a habit of a weekly recap… as I lounge on the couch, sipping a home-made cafe au lait, and watching Premier League Football on NBCSN.
Week 14 of training for the Wings for Life World Run is complete. Don’t know anything about this race? Check out their main site, or my blog post from their Denver event 3-years ago. Basically, it’s a race that makes every participant feel like a rock-star. There is no finish line, and all the race proceeds go to spinal cord research.
Wanna learn about my motivation and goal for the race? Read this post.
Monday: Run-commute to work. You may have noticed a lot more Strava entries from me lately. Sorry, and please do not go out of your way to “like” my boring commute runs. They range from 3-5-miles, are slow & steady, and quite delightful as I avoid streets with traffic and catch up on my podcasts.
Tuesday: We had an early week edition of PlayGldn and our first attempt at Track Tuesday. Not sure if this is not going to be a thing in the future. Tuesdays make sense for a track day for me. However, limiting speed work to a track is limiting your potential to push yourself on different surfaces and different terrain. The benefit of the track, is that friends can also do work, and you don’t necessarily have to be running together. Case in point, Julia ran 2 x 2-miles and Meaghan ran 600s. Oh and music helps occupy the mind during the effort, thanks Braven and Macklemore. My workout was 6 x 3-minutes. We all felt the dirt track took a lot out of us mentally and physically. It was dark when we started, so the sighting and footing made sprinting extra challenging.
Wednesday: Had a solid, shorts weather workout for November Project Denver… as we climbed the mountain at Capitol Building. Complete with stair climbing, toe-touch push-ups, windshield wipers, and imastars.It had been on my radar to donate blood at the Bonfils mobile donation center since the first newsletter came out at work. I wasn’t able to make a reservation, so I visited the bus during my lunch break. I hadn’t donated blood in a number of years, and I was roped into this new donation procedure called: Alyx blood donation. Basically, they centrifuge your blood in the bus, so that they can capture more red blood cells than traditional donation. They do 3-cycles of blood transaction, and actually pump your centrifuged blood mixed with a saline solution back into your veins! It took a bit longer than traditional pint donation, but they made me feel like a rock star for going with the Alyx procedure.
Oh here’s the best part: as I was hooked up draining blood, the nurse told me that I’ll feel pretty weak for the next few WEEKS! She basically said, I should expect to feel lethargic and fatigued if I go on a hike next week. I really didn’t believe her, however, I told her a bit more about being a “runner”, and took solace that I wasn’t signed up for a race in the next week or two.
Since I missed my lunch break, hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and feared that’d I’d be depleted or nauseous during my run home, I took one of each snack offered as I exited the bus, and proceeded in gorging all of the food I could find in my office for the rest of the afternoon. I had hydrated and fueled well enough that I didn’t notice any difference on my run-commute home.
Thursday: Twas cold. We cancelled PlayGldn for the 1st… ehh probably 4th time in it’s yearlong history. The roads were glazed over with ice, so just getting to the Dino Ridge location would have put all of us in grave danger. I shuffle-stepped my way to work, and enjoyed a few mobility exercises in the NREL gym.
My Achilles seizes up in the cold weather, so I became a bit down on my running prowess. But as fate intercedes at the most opportune time, a podcast from the Gait Guys came on and provided me with the light bulb that I needed. The episode was on Cadence, and immediately they told a story of an Ironman client whose glutes weren’t firing. The analysis was that when his cadence was 180, his glues were firing. When his cadence dropped around 170 or so, no glute activation. It became so clear to me, what I needed to do to feel better. I was hung up thinking I needed a fresh pair of shoes to bring me back to strength.
It’s not the shoe, it’s the stride
My Achilles felt better on my run-commute home. I meandered on my way home over slick roads, and snow covered path. I was listening to a HIBT podcast from NPR and became entranced by the story of how Zumba was created and franchised. When I got home I couldn’t even recall my route to Julia. I blame the 15F temp, my focus on stride cadence, and the storytelling from Guy Raz.
In other podcast news, I received a nugget from NPR’s Planet Money: #748 Undoing Obama:
Nothing is worth fighting for, if losing isn’t inevitable.
I paraphrased this poorly, but it really resonated with my feelings of present-day American culture – instant gratification, lazy, taking the easy path. And with racing, we often set low-hanging goals that are achievable in our minds, ensuring that we will attain them, and receive the positive-reinforcement from our support system that we seek. There’s no goal worth setting, that doesn’t scare the shit out of you.
Friday: Another simple work commute 6-miles. I was leaving work early, and thought it would warm up, so I was considering a long effort in the afternoon. The combo of my recent Achilles pain, and fatigue from blood donation, and getting in the groove at work, made me trust my gut. I went home and watched It’s Called Football.
Saturday: Commence photojournalism for Saturday long run in Fort Collins, CO:‘Take me home country roads’ was the vibe that we were seeking for this run. Julia picked a road just north of FoCo, and after turning away from the road to find a spot to park, we came upon this beautiful stretch of running splendor: My goal for this run was to simulate race pace for the WFL World run. That’s 6:30/mile pace for perpetuity. My last few Fast Saturdays have been hour long efforts seeking 6-minute or sub-6 pace. That hasn’t quite come to fruition, but that was January, race is in May. I’ve got time to work like a dog toward my goal.
So the first 4-miles on Route 56 where phenomenal, both Julia and I were floating over the dirt, feeling way too comfortable at our respective paces. Then we turned around. If you looked at any ones’ Strava in Colorado on Saturday, there was one unifying factor: WIND.
We took it, we battled it, we persevered. I hadn’t really run through the wind before, so it was a good challenge, that though relentless, provided mental fitness that we couldn’t have conjured any other way.
Here’s the deets: Bob Segering. Hard work through the head wind. I didn’t hit my desired paces, but the workout left me brimming with pride. I’ve really enjoyed Fast Saturdays as they fill the void of racing less frequently. Putting myself out there once a week or every two weeks is so fulfilling and satisfying.
Fill your training with purpose.
I used my metronome app during the run. It was programmed at 180 steps per minute. This is the preferred cadence for distance runners. I executed 16+ miles with an average of 175spm, which is way better than my normal 170-ish. Thinking about cadence is a super way to remain engaged in your run. As you become sluggish, focus on increasing your cadence, and the speed and form will follow.
Now for the best part of running: Treating your self.Stop 1: Little Bird Bakeshop.
After a long walk through downtown FoCO, we got sandwiches to-go from Stop 2: Choice City Butcher & Deli.
I am so lucky that Julia likes to plan and research the best eats around town, regardless of where we travel. We always have exciting destinations to look forward to.
Stop 3: We ate our lunch and split a flight of beers at Odell Brewery.
Stop 4: My parents house in Broomfield for a chocolate chip dunker 😉