Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where is the speed coming from?

On Tuesday night at Rice University track I cranked out the first of three mile repeats at a pace of 6:29 which is about as fast as I've run a mile in many years. It was nearly 95F so conditions were not ideal, not that it matters that much just for one mile.  The other two were considerably slower at 6:38 and 6:51 - clearly by then fatigue was setting in.

Even so, I am thrilled with just one fast mile: something is working.  Clearly the weight loss is a major factor but it is not the only one. Strength workouts with the personal trainer is another, as are the Airrosti treatments which include some significant stretching of amongst other the quads.  I'm also starting to suspect that the daily 45-minute walks with Daisy (at a very very brisk pace of 15 minutes per mile) is strengthening my upper legs which also boosts running speed. Pure guess on that one, but having run for 40 years I can definitely feel the difference.  Of course I'm also in the middle of a marathon training cycle so overall fitness & endurance is much higher than it has been for months.

Almost halfway into Week 11 of the Hal Higdon Intermediate II marathon training program.  This will be the first of three 50-mile weeks (week 11, 13 and 15) before the taper starts on week 16.  Somehow or other - mostly with the help of running friends who are graciously supplying SAG support on Sundays for the long runs - a few of us are actually training trough this streak of 100F weather which has now reached 17 (probably 18 by the end of today) days in a row, and a few in July as well.

Weight is the same this week as last - 161 - but body fat percentage is down to 15%. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Airrosti treatment for plantar fasciitis

Had my first 1-hour long session of Airrosti treatment yesterday.  In addition to some diagnostics - I already knew what the issue was so the doc pretty much just confirmed it - it consisted of a very intensive massaging/manipulation of the fascia on the bottom of the foot and also the left calf. Extremely painful in both instances. I was given a small 'stress relief' squeeze ball to hold and I practically poked holes in that thing. 

The good thing about Airrosti treatment?  You do not have to cut down or quit running or whatever type of exercise you are doing.  So I went out and ran mile repeats at Rice:  on a very hot afternoon (around 90F) knocked off 4 miles at 6:48, 6:50, 6:51 and 6:42.  Heart rate in the 150's for each of them, the last two occasionally into the 160's.  On a 1-mile time trial I ought be able to get pretty close to 6:20 or so, need to do that one of these days or enter a 5-K.  Will definitely do that as soon as the worst of the heat is behind us!

By this morning the foot is definitely much improved. Considerably less pain upon waking up and taking that dreaded first step. Considering the stress I put on it last night with the track workout, that is pretty remarkable.  I have to do a few stretches and some icing every day, will go back for a second treatment next Monday. 

Weigh-in Wednesday:  Down to 161lbs this morning.  Total loss since April now 14 lbs, 11 to go to 150.  Considering the heavy mileage weeks ahead - several around 50 miles per week - I probably won't quite make it to 150 by Oct 9.  If I can be at around 155 lining up at the start of the race that morning, it will be fine.   

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Week 9 is in the books

Exactly half way there with Hal Higdon's Intermediate II marathon training program, in preparation for the Oct 9 Mohawk-Hudson Marathon.  So far so good:  on Saturday the 9 mile pace run went pretty well, and despite awful conditions I managed an 8:35 minute/mile average pace.  The first 5 miles ended up being just over 8:20 average due to running with a much faster group of runners, Mark Coleman's KatyFit ATP runners.  I will run with them again next Saturday, but will try to keep the mile pace a little more consistent. 

Today's 'long' run was only 12 miles but it was hardly easy.  Our small group of 4 runners took off at just after 0630A and by then it was already in the 80's, with - of course - high humidity.  Fortunately the route was quite shady and we had a sag wagon with cold drinks, grapes, bananas and pretzels every 2 miles.  One worrying note: my left heel is starting to act up with more pronounced plantar fasciitis symptoms.  More icing and stretching ahead and I will be making an appointment with a podiatrist on Monday

The last few days have been rough on the 'diet' front:  too many fun calories, several restaurant meals and a few too many temptations around the house including some really nice peanut butter cookies.  I'm thinking my next weigh-in may not be the best; will really have to suck it up on Monday and Tuesday to mitigate the damage. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Weigh in Tuesday

Body fat percentage is slowly coming down, now at 18% (approximately), which is definitely an improvement on the 25% or so in April.  Quite a way to go to single digits but the long 45-minute walks with Daisy, running 30+ miles per week and working out for almost an hour 3 X per week - not to mention the calorie counting - are having the desired effect. Weight today is no different than last week, still 163.  Hitting a bit of a plateau but some of it is residual water retention from last Sunday's 17 miler. For some weird reason I 'gain' about 4 pounds after any very long run, especially when it is hot.  Just the body's mechanism to protect the bruised/injured muscle cells, I suppose. It takes me a good 4 days or so to get back to normal. 

We are now just about halfway into the 16-week Hal Higdon 'Intermediate II' marathon training schedule.  8 weeks done, 8 to go.  The heavy hauling is right up ahead.  A 9 mile pace run on Saturday followed by a relatively easy 12 miler on Sunday.  From then on I will have to complete 4 more very long runs (one of 19 miles and three 20-mile runs) and three 12-mile long runs, as well as five fairly long mid-week runs (10 miles) and several 9 to 10 mile pace runs on Saturdays.

So far, the best thing has been no serious injuries.  Still some nagging issues with plantar fasciitis in my left foot but keeping it under control with icing.  The worst thing?  Definitely the heat!  It has been relentless.  This evening's mile repeats at Rice will be run with temperatures in the low to mid 90's.

Another great boon has been the support of running friends in our Happy Runners group.  There is no way I would have been able to do some of the long runs without some company and a sag station every couple of miles or so with cold drinks, snacks and a smile!  Thank you!!