Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Weekend Breakthrough

This weekend was a great weekend for me! It was super busy with work and dinner parties (Three this week! People love us!) but still managed to sneak in about 60 or so miles again. I think it was only 59 but I'll round up! That's right, I'm up here in the winter squalls fighting off polar bears and smashing out mileage in my snowshoes and parka! Cause that's how Canadians roll. We're a hearty people. And James thinks Tahoe is cold! Ha!
Saturday was a 10 mile Fartlek workout with 5 mile gradual progression then 5 miles of 1' at 6:30 pace followed by 1' easy recoveries. This workout felt amazing. Average pace for the intervals was probably closer to 6:15 and I felt like I could run them all day. One minute at a time, of course. The long warm up was key. It really woke the legs up and got the blood flowing so by the time I had to get moving it was all good. Really, I can't say enough about this workout.
By the time I was done at work on Saturday though, I was totally gassed. I don't know if running faster means I need to switch things up diet wise but I was done by 3 o'clock. People were coming to my office and then just kinda looking at me and walking out. Oh well. Everyone drools on their desk when they're sleeping. Jeeeez.
After work, Saturday night was grass fed fillet steaks, BBQ'd beets, potatoes roasted in sage garlic butter and a couple cold beers before hitting the bed early to ready myself for Sunday's usual long run. This week was an 18 miler: 3 mile w/u then 15 miles within 10% of goal pace. So anything less than 7:50 per mile for the last 15 was acceptable. Tim was pretty specific about running this on a flat course. No need for hills when you are running a pace simulation for a race in Vegas. Brian said he had a good route so we met up early and got going. Turns out that Gunner needed to cut it a little short and sent me off on my own. The course wasn't exactly flat, and Lucho wasn't exactly pumped about that, but it was a beautiful spot to run. Nice rolling trails through a protected area of forest.

We timed it perfectly and got there just as the sun was coming up. Amazing! I really have to get a camera that I can take with me on these runs. So many beautiful things to see when you run early in the morning.
I can break this run into three distinct parts: the beginning, the part where I wanted to quit, and the last 2 miles. Although my eyes could appreciate the beauty, my legs did not feel the same about the hills. It wasn't really all that bad but when I got tired I was looking for any reason to stop. I tried every excuse I could think of to get myself to stop running: too many hills, Garmin doesn't work in the trees, I might trip and fall and get hurt wah wah wah. There were two things that kept me going: Kerrie Wlad's comments to Lucho and the thought that she might own me on this blog with a similar helping of online bitch slapping and something I learned in GQ. Yeah, I read it. I have a subscription. Look for me in Vegas. I'll be the one with a pocket square.
Seriously, though, this month they published an article about a company in California (where else?) that will help train your brain by hooking you up to electrodes and then teaching you to generate certain brainwaves that are associated with the 'zen-like' state of elite athletes. It costs about 5 large and is currently used by a number of Div 1 football players and some NHL hockey teams. The idea is that you can learn to recreate relaxing brainwaves at will that will help calm you down at moments of intense pressure and stress IE: 50 yard field goal, big game etc. Like meditation and visualization but with electrodes stuck to your skull and a TV monitor that gives you feedback when you generate the desired type of waves by moving a little frog across the screen. Relax and chill, the frog hops. Pretty simple.
The thing that stuck with me, and ended up being super helpful, was a story about a stressed out super A type douche bag executive whose wife had made him come for these sessions so he could learn to chill out and not be such an ass. He was trying with no luck to get the frog to hop around the screen. Then, all of a sudden the little frog just starts booking it across the monitor! The science guys jump out of their chairs and ask the guy what he was thinking about and he says "Oh, I was just thinking about sitting at home with my toddler son reading a book" And the science team is jacked because they've figured out what calms this guy down and gets him focused: thinking about his son.
So, being a guy that has a bit of a chatter brain, and who can tend to get into his head a little and lead himself down the wrong mental road, I decided to give this a shot. Well, to say I decided is a little misleading. I'm not sure why I thought of it. Just one of a few thousand things that flicked through my brain that Sunday AM. But it stuck and I found myself working to focus on times that Violet and I had hung out, played or relaxed together. That's Violet at the top of the blog, not my much cuter conjoined twin as has been suggested. Anyways, it worked like a charm! While I was concentrating on vividly imagining Violet and I relaxing on the couch, wrestling around, chasing each other through the house or sitting watching National Geographic videos on YouTube I didn't notice my legs at all.
This is for sure a skill that I am going to work on during all my runs from here on out. Not just the tough ones either. I think that I need to hone this skill on my easy runs when it doesn't hurt so that when I start to bring the pain I'm ready.
Here's the stats from Sunday. Average pace not including the warm up was 7:40/mile.


beth said...

well, i know this gard training is leaving you tired, but keep it up! it's making you much funnier too! i just laughed out loud three times. and its only 5am.
have a nice day, princess!

Violet said...

Glad to help out!

runninggunner said...

Good work homey. You looked strong during the long run. Keep it up.

jameson said...

really... GQ? I am losing faith in canadians. Please don't bring the pocket squares to LV.

kerrie said...

i'm getting caught up on some of my blog reading before we leave the island to return to a much colder colorado(but not nearly as cold as canada...) and i just have to say "toughen up princess" - race day is just around the corner. + gq is for total p*ssies!

if you are in need of a little inspiration when the going gets tough this weekend, you can think of the several signs that i made for big G during his race in kona which said: "run faster, nobody likes a loser". i think it worked!