Tag Archives: strength training

Running with the wind and the driving rain

At 5:30 this morning it was pouring rain and windy in Victoria. Why would that stop me from running? They don’t postpone races until the weather is better, so why postpone a training run because the weather’s bad?

It was “only” a recovery run – 45 minutes easy. Except – the rain seemed to drive me along. My pace hovered around 6:00/km the entire time (usual recovery pace 6:30/km).

In short: I LOVED IT!

Raindrops stinging my face, windbreaker soaking through within 5 minutes, unavoidable puddles leading to squishy toes. And the sea — I love the ocean when it froths up into the shore. The tide was in, and the foam reached up to the walkway near Clover Point.

It reminded me of the song: Wild is the Wind. I’ll try to embed the Bowie version here:
Bowie does Wild is the Wind – YouTube


My dumbest running mistakes

I realized a year ago when I started training for my third Half Marathon that I’m really no newbie when it comes to running. Despite my lack of prowess or natural talent, I’ve been doing it a long time.

I’ve learned a few things along the way. The hard way. In the spirit of “if you can’t be a role model, then serve as a warning” here are the less-than-stellar moments of my running career:

  • Starting out too fast. Everyone says they won’t start out too fast, everyone does it. Everyone. At least once. Possibly every race. I don’t – not anymore. I’m joyously starting at the back of the pack, running negative splits (first half slower than the last) and passing people eventually. I still have to resist the urge to surge at the start line though. Having a Garmin GPS-enabled sport watch to tell your pace helps stick with my race strategy, I’m so grateful I got one for Christmas last month!
  • Undertraining. You’ve found Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon training plan on the Runner’s World web site? Go for it. Do. Not. Miss. Workouts. Leading up to my first and second Halfs, I only “half”-assed followed the plan I was on. Speed workouts? “Meh, that’s hard, I’ll do it next week.” Mid-week tempo runs? “Oh too bad I didn’t get up early enough, I’ll just do a 40-minute run then get to work.” Come race day I felt it. During my first Half Marathon, my SI joint seized after the first 5K. When people asked me how the run felt, I laughed it off: “Only the last 10 miles were painful.” They needn’t have been.
  • Underfueling. During my second Half Marathon, I carried nothing with me. I took some water at the stations, that was it. No gatorade, no energy gels. The first 10-15 K were fine, but the last part of the race was pure hell: I had simply run out of gas. I watched my friends down gummy bears and gels, and refused their offers to share. Then I watched them pull away from me at the 15K mark while I struggled to keep the pace. You simply can’t run for more than 2 hours without refueling along the way.
  • Changing your diet the night before a race. The day before I ran a 15K – my first – I decided I needed more fibre in my diet and ate two or three kiwi fruit with rye crackers for a before-bed snack. This was in the days before race directors’ S.O.P. was to rent port-a-potties and place them along the route. The “runner’s trots” threatened that whole race, most of which was through parkways and along a highway (believe me if I’d run past a house I would have knocked on a door and asked to use the bathroom). I actually finished (dead last) – dogged stubborn determination not to be humiliated by a DNF (Did Not Finish) got me there. I must have looked hilarious: running while trying to hold in a bowel movement.
  • Wearing brand-new shoe inserts for a 2+ hour run. OK I didn’t do this; my friend did while we were training for the marathon last year. She was excited when she showed up for our Saturday morning run through Vic West, across the Esquimalt Lagoon, up to Royal Roads University, winding our way back again to Spinnakers on the waterfront. “Look at these new inserts, I think they’ll help with my hip pain,” she said. “Um – have you tried them out yet on a shorter run?” I asked. “No, not yet,” she said as she slipped them into her shoes straight out of the package. “Are you sure that’s a good idea? We’re running an awfully long way today if they don’t work out.” I said. “I’ll be fine,” she said: famous last words. I saw the blister afterward and I can’t believe she finished the run. Dogged stubborn determination, right?

The Curious Case of Non-Stiffness

When the rain comes (3)

Originally uploaded by VeNiVi

My long slow run yesterday was 19 kilometres in 2 hours and 10 minutes. It rained the entire time, by the first five km I was thoroughly soaked. At the 1:40 mark, in the middle of our second 30-minute tempo pick-up, my left hip and calf started to twinge with tightness.

Afterwards I had a bath, ate, went out to get groceries, ate again, and slept for an hour and a half, then cleaned my place and hosted friends for dinner. I finally got the kitchen clean and went to bed at 1 am. In all that time – no hobbling with stiffness. No sore feet. No blisters.

I woke up this morning – a little dehydrated from the wine, but feeling great otherwise. No lactic-acid-drenched legs, feet perfectly fine.

What?? After last week’s run of just over an hour I stiffened up by dinnertime! I must replicate this non-stiffness in the future. What did I do right?

I think I did four things to help my recovery – long hot soak, lots of hot tea, restorative nap and light activity.

When I got home I threw off the soaked clothes and ran a hot bath. My skin was red where my soaked running clothes had touched. The hot water actually felt cold until I started to warm up. My daughter boiled a kettle of water and slowly added it until it was the temperature of a hot tub. Ahhhh. It was hard to get out of there.

Rehydrating is essential – I drank two big mugs of tea.

After I shopped for the evening’s meal, I crawled back into bed and was blissfully napping until it was time to get up, clean up and start prepping for my dinner – halibut fillets in an orange teriyaki sauce, new steamed potatoes, asparagus, salad, olives, whole-grain baguette. My dear friends brought pie – PIE! for dessert. Yum…

I made sure to drink a big glass of water as I was washing up after they left. I think the fact I didn’t just lay on the couch and watch movies and eat cereal had a lot to do with it – I kept moving — cooking and eating well and laughing with my friends.

It was absolutely lovely to wake up feeling great with supple, not wooden, legs. I felt like a kid I was so happy! Get ready for more dinner parties thrown by yours truly.