This weekend was nothing crazy, in a good way. Some good strong training. No major breakthroughs, but no major breakdowns either, and I’ll it where I can get it.
Saturday morning I ran the Seattle Half course. I improvised a bit because I wasn’t about to jaunt through stopped traffic on I-90 to weave my way through the parking lot of cars. That would be dangerous, not to mention illegal. But I tracked the course as closely as I could and dare I say that I think my version was harder and hillier with a cut up and over the Central District.
I’m pretty accustomed to the route from my house to Seattle Center. Running down Fifth Avenue was an exercise in patience more than running while I stopped every 4 blocks and dodged aimless pedestrians. I didn’t feel truly in the run until I hit Judkins Park, and at that point I was sort of almost half way through; that’s when the running really began. It felt sort of out of body to have started at our apartment and end up in Leschi by the lake
by foot; I travel in that direction frequently but only by bike, my long runs are generally more north/northwest in orientation to avoid the major hill factor. Anyway, the newish scenery kept me busy and engaged while I tried to keep my run easy and heart rate down. Heart Rate! Stay down! Legs! Slow yourself!
Just as I got to the stair climb that leads down to the water’s edge I (literally, almost) ran into my coach, cycling and also enjoying the beautiful day. I shouted a quick hello and continued on after some Corpore Sano love. It was perfect timing, because less than ¾ of a mile marked the second half of my run; the second half being the part where my heart rate should be higher, my pace should be faster, and things should be harder. The majority of the second half is also uphill, making the harder part easy to reach but feeling fast and strong not as much.
But I battled through and carried a 7:36 mi pace average for the uphill portion of the route. The second half is a challenge physically but absolutely gorgeous, especially on a perfect day, so I willed myself one block, two blocks, three blocks, 3 miles further, and dreamed about how it will feel and look to actually race through Interlaken Blvd rather than just run
fast. Hopefully on race day I get more cheers than pondering why-is-she-clearly-torturing herself sorts of faces.
Sunday was equally gorgeous and I was happy to have a good ride slated. Instructions said take it easy, mind you, but it’s easier to slow down breathe it in when it’s likely one of the last opportunities to enjoy the explosion of autumn. I rode to and around Mercer
Island, and weaving, winding and climbing through the redish yellowish orangeish trees with occasional peek-a-bo’s of the lake and low pockets of fog. I spent the first half of my ride wondering why I seemed to be the only cyclist on the road on such a spectacular day; I spent the second half of my ride no longer wondering because every cyclist in the state had deemed Mercer Island and Lake Washington Blvd the place(s) to be. It was a very slow ride home, but rather than get frustrated and leapfrog the large groups I tried to enjoy every second in the saddle. I did a pretty good job, much better than usual.
Sunday was also weights day; originally scheduled for today I knew I’d be too slammed with work and wanted to guarantee a good session without compromise. And that, I did! Weights have been notably easier with every session, and I’ve been feeling markedly stronger too, until my session last Thursday. Last Thursday I was tired, my legs were burning, and I felt like I made a small step backward. Yesterday I at least got myself back to par and pumped through the hour without fanfare or torture. Some of the exercises continue to feel challenging (leg extensions and ham curls, why do you hate me so?) but upper body was cake and for the first time in years I can tell my already strong core has made additional headway.
Last but not least, this morning I got to hit the pool. Though today is no longer weekend, at 5am I hadn’t yet been to the office so I’m going to group it in with a solid 4 for 4 weekend of workouts. Today’s session had the one-fin drill assignment (kidding!); not only am I glad I didn’t attempt a single fin swim for embarrassment’s sake, but because the real drill was really a good one. I’m not feeling marked progress during every swim session like I was a few weeks back, but if I isolate certain parts of my stroke I can tell that drills are working and that my hard work is paying off. I’m no fish, but my butt burns less after kickboard drills, I can actually breathe bilaterally (the alternative being rolling my body and gulping water on the weak side), and though I’m not spot on I can feel the difference in each side. It’s starting to even out more.
Now I just want a rinse, wash, and repeat on the weekend so that I can do it all again. I truly don’t mind the 5am alarm clock most mornings, but there is something to be said for a warm cup of coffee and and extra hour or two of sleep before you battle it out. And I especially enjoy my days revolving around my training sessions, rather than fitting them in at the mercy of life.