Things have been going pretty well over the past few weeks; so well that I got the green light to sport the Oiselle kit for the first time in a Thanksgiving race here in The Woodlands. Although it is still a month away, it's nice to have a bright spot to have a race to treat as a "scrimmage", so to speak. Besides, the decorations at that time of year in suburbia are outstanding to run through! Perhaps it's just experience, but my goal for this event is to just work on pacing. If I have the chance to crack the top 5 or so, I'll do it, but it's really all about enjoying the morning in and getting a solid run in with minimal frills or fuss. The mindset I am maintaining is one of staying in the present and focusing on maximizing what's right in front of me.
On the training end of things, the miles are slowly increasing on land, intensity remains the same on the Alter-G and in the pool, and the training I do at Athletic Republic is already starting to be noticeable in terms of my overall strength and stability. Here's a snapshot of where the NB 890s and Adidas Boston Boost have taken me lately:
Base Mileage: Maybe 24ish is done on the granite, grass, and astroturf. My easy runs are done mostly at the local park and soccer fields where HS cross-country meets are held. Oddly enough, I am not getting bored with it. I still look forward to just going and running a short 4-miler solo in the mornings. It's a good time to think, or not to think-whatever mood I am in that day. These set the tone for the rest of the day. Like I always like to say when people ask me how I can run so early in the morning: "Either I run the day or the day runs me". Boom.
While my newly-strengthened body feels ready for more miles, I agree with Coach Doug's plan of "increasing each week by 10% until I say 'calf rope'!" (That's not a Texas saying at all!)
Alter-G/Pace Work: The past two Tuesdays have brought a fair challenge : 8 x 2 min at 6:00/1:00 recovery + 4 min at 6:15 pace before cooling down. Both these workout take just shy of an hour to complete and are 8 miles in length. My first foray with the crazy turnover on the machine at 85% was pretty challenging; so much I had an effort headache that afternoon and almost liked it! My second go-around I brought extra fluids with me and finished it with relative ease, all things considered. I even took the body weight all the way up to 90% for part of the intervals.
Pool Running: I am doing pool runs less frequently, but they still are of importance. After my Monday runs I have been getting in the water to supplement for the shorter land miles. Each time I'm in there it has a certain purpose and is focused on form and quality. And it's great for shaking the legs out.
Strength Training: Besides my twice-weekly sessions in the gym, the training I have been doing at Athletic Rep. have already been paying dividends. While I was at my grandparent's ranch in the Texas Hill Country (aka Heaven on Earth) I had an awesome hilly run that caught me by surprise-the extensive hip and dynamic core exercises made uphill running feel much more efficient and controlled. In fact, I was having so much fun I spent all my daily allowance for running time and then some out there!
As you can see, my overall assessment of the past couple weeks is largely positive. While I am still getting sore after certain workouts, it's a productive feeling and not a scary thing. I am just hoping to have some fun and run fast in the upcoming months. Emphasis on having fun-then the times will take care of themselves.
Speaking of fun, below are a couple pics I've snapped from my running venues. The first one is the start of the trail at the ranch I ran at last weekend, and the second is from a comical moment after a recovery run at Bear Branch Park. If you look closely, you will see a herd of deer trying to graze the astroturf. Only in The Woodlands!
|Absolutely beautiful day in Medina, TX for a trail run!|
|Finding humor in your everyday run. Something's wrong with this picture! LOL|
Stay the course, even if the surface is not natural!