So. The first month of 2010 is now over. That went fast, didn't it? It seems like it was just Christmas, and now we're pushing up on Valentine's Day and President's Day.
I ran more than 176 miles in January. Really? I had to go back and add up my numbers a couple of times to make sure I wasn't lying. I think the exact total is 176.6. Not bad for base building. Although, I don't expect to run significantly more miles in the coming months, even with marathon training now in full swing. Maybe a few weeks will be higher (most weeks I seem to be hitting around 40 miles), but there's a limit to what I can do, running four days a week. Actually, there is a limit to what I am willing to do!
Last week I was (voluntarily) down to about 33 miles. I ran on Monday (9 miles), Wednesday (11 miles) and Friday (13.1+ a bit), then took the weekend off to go east (Eastern Washington, that is) and ski.
I kicked off February with nine miles again on Monday! Three miles on my own, 4.5 with my secretary's son, and then another 1.5 back to Starbucks to finish.
I also bit the bullet and showed up to Pilates class on Monday night. I am sad to say that I have completely lost core strength in the months that I have been slacking. Things that used to be (sort of) easy for me were difficult, and the hard stuff was downright horrible. I had to rest several times, and I did the "easier" rather than "more challenging" versions of the exercises. (Hangs head in shame....)
I wasn't even sure if I would be sore, because of my resting every time things got extra hard. Yesterday (Tuesday), I just felt a little bit sore, but as the day went on, and into today, I am feeling it more and more! (Pilates soreness always seems to show up more on the second day after. Don't know why.) I am sore in my sides (obliques) and, for some reason, along my ribs under my arms! And my central abdomen, of course. Just about everywhere! It's sore in a kind of good way, though. I just feel like my muscles are tightening up!
Tuesday night was supposed to be my triumphant (ha!) return to yoga...but the class was cancelled. So that will have to wait till Thursday. I wasn't too disappointed! The hardest part about going back to yoga is going to the Y so late in the evening (class is at 7:15), when I would really rather be home fixing dinner, eating, watching TV, etc. But I have DVR, and a huge pot of vegetable curry to eat on all week, so I really have no excuses.
And today was my return to speedwork! I haven't done designated speedwork since CIM. That means about two months! My training schedule had hills x 3 on it for today, so I decided to do the hills (after a warm-up run), then do a few 400's at the track. Just to break the ice.
I ran about four miles at a very easy pace before I arrived at my designated hill. This is actually a hill I run up every day near the beginning of my run. It's about a quarter of a mile uphill from Broadway to Wetmore, where it flattens out.
So from Wetmore I jogged down to Broadway, then started the Garmin and ran up at a hard pace, maybe not the very fastest I can run, but a lot faster than I usually run up this hill! This took 2:05 minutes, which I later determined was a 8:36 pace. I jogged down, up again (2:05, 8:25 pace), down, and up the final time (2:02, 8:17 pace). I decided to take the final downhill fast and did it in 1:54 (7:41 pace).
A word about hill work and pace. I run a lot of hills in my various running paths. Everett and Marysville are naturally hilly, and sometimes I take an extra hilly route (Everett to Mukilteo). Normally though, I take the hills at a comfortable pace relative to the pace I am running. If I am doing about 10-minute miles, the uphills will probably be 10:30. If I manage 9-minute miles, I'll slow to 9:30 on the hills. And so forth. This evens out because I usually take the downhills about 30 seconds faster than my average pace.
"Hill work," though, requires a bit more effort. Hal Higdon tells us to: "Select a hill about a quarter-mile long. . . . Run up hard, as hard as you might during a 400 track repeat. Then turn and jog back down, repeating the uphill sprints until finished." Uphill sprints! I think I did use as much effort on the uphill repeats as I did on the track intervals, but the pace was just naturally slower.
After my "downhill sprint" I headed on over to the middle school track. It was about a third of a mile to the track from Broadway, and when I arrived I stood and looked at it for a moment or two. Old friend (or enemy), we meet again. I had originally planned on four quarter-mile repeats, but thought I might have to cut out one or two if I ran short on time. Once I got past the halfway point, though (two laps), I did one more, then another, and then my four quarter-mile intervals were done. The pace for each was a little slower than my better 400's last fall, but still okay, about 5K pace, I would say. The pace for each was 7:46, 7:36, 7:45, and 7:46, with one to two minutes rest between.
Finally I jogged around the track one more time and then continued onward to Starbucks and home. My total distance this morning was 8.3 miles at an average pace of 9:33.
Although it is only the beginning of February I am happy with the beginning to my Spring Training. Of course, right now the spring training running schedule is not that different than my winter schedule! (Except for the addition of speed work.) Still, psychologically I am in training mode. I also feel good about my ban on sweets and treats. It is actually way easier to just eschew cookies and so forth than to try to moderate my indulgence. I have a kind of "all or nothing" personality, I'm afraid. (This could be how I went from running six miles a day on the treadmill to running half-marathons, and then on to marathon training! At least I'm putting my obsessive tendencies to a positive end.)
I am, though, rather achey right now. In addition to the sore core from Pilates, my hamstrings and glutes are giving me some grief (probably from the hills). Makes me think I need to go get a massage!