This week hasn’t been exactly what I wanted, but it was better than it’s been! I finally got over the cold that wouldn’t end, and Wednesday saw amazing 70-degree weather, sunshine, & the entire population of Chicago eating al fresco. Determined to kick this base training (and my body) into high gear, I’ve also been contemplating November Project here in Chicago. Their key meetings are Wednesday and Friday mornings, but they now offer Tues/Thurs evening sessions (courtesy of a partnership with North Face), as well as a track session on Tuesday mornings (and who knows what other secret, hidden workouts I don’t know about), so my desire to integrate some of these workouts into my training is high. I don’t do so well on the strength training front, and letting someone else handle the details of my core/upper body strength works just fine for me. I may like to run solo for the most part, but I’m all about group fitness.
Monday: None, still in sinus heaven.
I did make and eat this burger, though, courtesy of Blue Apron. (Short rib burger on a pretzel bun with hop flower cheese sauce and grainy mustard.) Super easy recipe, found here.
Tuesday: My workout involved a hot shower & eucalyptus bath salts (which open up my sinuses, but also apparently work well as a sore muscle soak? I haven’t tried it for the latter.). Similar product here, although I got mine cheaper at TJ Maxx, of all places. It also may or may not have involved an entire medium, bacon pizza from Papa Johns, which is my newest guilty pleasure that needs to stop ASAP.
Wednesday: 5.5 miles of blisssss @ 9:20-9:30 pace
Ok, confession. I can’t get my Garmin to connect with my computer right now, so I have no idea what the actual data of this run is, but my instant pace started around 10:15 min/mi for the first 1/2 mile, and dropped down to the mid-9’s pretty quickly, where it stayed throughout the run. The last few miles hovering around 9:20min/mi. I was determine to just let my body cruise, not look at my pace or mileage, and let myself just run. I glanced at pace a handful of times, and only looked at distance once I was back to the start of my loop. After years and years of traversing the same running paths, I had a sense as to how far various landmarks are, and by the time I looped back to my starting spot, I still wanted more. I tacked on what I knew to be about a mile worth of path, and headed home happier than I have been in a while.
I generally run with music, and the right song at the right spot at the right time can really just send me soaring. The Darkness’s “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” came on in the last .25mile of my run, and I flew home with the largest grin on my face. Silly? Guilty as charged.
One of the larger takeaways from this run was that I actually haven’t lost all that much speed in my extended time off. High-five for latent fitness? My easy cruise pace of 9:20-9:30 is really only about 30sec off what my long run pace was when I was in the height of my training. My hope is that my body responds well to the increase in mileage, and my speed comes back fairly quickly, too. I’ll be staying away from the track for a while (as much as I want to take advantage of the beautiful, brand new track less than 2 miles from my place – in Chicago, an outdoor track is a serious unicorn).
I was so antsy to absorb more warmth and sunshine that I took an aimless 3-mile walk after I got home. Exploring my hood and re-familiarizing myself with the shops/restaurants – new and old – was really nice. Plus, I bought and ate a frozen Snickers bar along the way, because I refuel like a PRO.
Thursday: Dinner with a friend – no miles. I DID fold and hang all of my clean laundry, though, which was pretty much a strength workout… especially after a few Belgian IPAs.
Friday: None. The weather was a bit nasty. I briefly considered a run, but decided that work and errands were a bit more pressing. I resolved myself to running this weekend.
Saturday: 6 miles @ 9:20-:30 pace The sun was out in full force, and even though it was a little chilly (low 50s) when I headed out, it felt heavenly. As all of these miles will be for the foreseeable future, I intended to just settle into a pace that felt comfortable and sustainable. I’ve been talking a lot about “letting my body dictate the pace” and all of that, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the results. The big smile-inducing moment of this run was learning that some of the key water fountains had been turned on — my favorite time of year! I finished my run with a super hot shower, & an iced coffee. Simultaneously. I highly recommend it. I had the best refueling intentions, but it just didn’t happen. I realized around 5p that I hadn’t really eaten anything all day, so I may or may not have sat down to an entire, medium Papa John’s pizza. [Do as I say, not as I do…]
Sunday: 7.25 miles @ 9:15-9:20 pace Happy Easter! I knew that I wanted to log some miles both weekend days in an attempt to form some sort of habit. It was also beautiful (65 and sunny), and it’s actually against the law in Chicago to stay inside under those conditions. I had only planned on doing 3-4, but once I got outside, I thought that I would just run as far as I felt. I turned around after 3 miles (9:30 pace) and tacked on an additional 4+. The last mile or two was around 9:15 pace, which left my jaw on the floor. I’m consistently hitting negative splits at paces that I shouldn’t be hitting. To say I’m beyond surprised at how well my body has adjusted to random mileage, and the fitness that has been laying (lying?) in wait, would be an understatement. I’m thrilled – my legs felt pretty fresh today, and I had no soreness from yesterday’s mileage – although I have noticed that my arms actually get pretty tired (and my lower back, a bit). It’s clear that I could benefit from basic strength training. I’m hopeful that this trend continues, but I’m mindful of the injuries that can result from ramping up too quickly. I’m trying to reign myself in a bit, and spread out the mileage where I can. My goal in this coming week is to hit 4 days of running, with lower average totals.