Week 2 done, 16 to go! I feel like it has been longer than 2 weeks, but that is probably because I have spent most of the past few months preparing for marathon training. I hit a few walls this week which I will get into more detail about in a bit.
Sunday I needed to get in 3 easy miles so I headed out the door first thing in the morning. I wasn’t really feeling like running after my long run the day before and after a week of hard training, but I got it done. I ran over to the East River and out onto a walkway that expands over part of it to add some interest to the run. Again, I definitely need to start thinking about new routes so I don’t burnout on the easy miles.
Monday morning I headed out early to Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan for my Exercise Stress Test. It was an, um, interesting experience. I had dressed in what I thought was appropriately for the test: tech tee, sports bra, running tights, running shoes. Little did I know that this test is done TOPLESS. That’s right. I had to strip my top half so they could ultrasound my heart both before and immediately after the treadmill. The pre-treadmill ultrasound was pretty lengthy and intensive. It took about 10-15 minutes for her to get all the shots she wanted. There was lots of shifting of body position, breathing and holding, exhaling and holding, all with the x-ray tech wrapped around me on examining table and my top almost fully exposed. If I were a shy person I think it would have been very uncomfortable.
After the ultrasound, it was time for the treadmill test. The test has 5 stages, each are 3 minutes and increase in intensity via increased incline and pace. You stay on the treadmill until you hit your max heart rate and sustain it long enough to be winded. And of course I was hoping that wouldn’t happen in the 15 minutes because I am just so fit. Haha. So the treadmill gets going and I get to walking. Stage 1 comes and goes as does Stage 2 and Stage 3. I’m thinking the tech is impressed with my fitness based on our convo. The treadmill cranks to Stage 4 and instinctively start to jog, but the tech instructs me to walk. What?! So I try to speed walk the best I can. I can notice my heart rate has elevated to 90-92% of max at this point so I focus on my breathing and manage to control it long enough to hit Stage 5. Okay, Stage 5. Stage 5 felt like I was running up a freaking mountain. Which I have done, but maybe not at that pace for that grade. Stage 5 is 18% grade at 5 mph. Now, I have friends who could probably do this with a 2L hydration vest and at a much faster pace, but for me it was challenging. About a minute in, I hit my max and the nurse asked if I wanted to stop. Of course I said no. So I watched as my heart rate went into the red zone a few times and repeatedly told the nurse no when she asked if I wanted to stop. After 3 minutes, I had completed the stage and the test.
Immediately, I had to lie down on the examining table with my arms over my head for the tech to ultrasound my heart again. I was breathing heavily and sweating like a crazy person. The tech kept telling me to slow my breathing because she couldn’t see anything! After about 10 seconds, I got my breathing under control and we started the ultrasound–breathe in and hold, exhale and hold. This time the ultrasound only took like 5 minutes. Before I knew it, I was putting my top back on and heading out. Since they didn’t look freaked out or send me to the ER, I am assuming all looked good. I should hear from the doc next week. I skipped my circuit training that evening and opted to get in some rest.
Interesting side note on the BRUCE protocol test: You can calculate your Vo2max from this test. They didn’t do this for me, but I was able to find online how to do it. I was pretty impressed by my estimated Vo2max until I compared it to what I am actually racing at. The good news is that my lungs are great. The bad news is that I am not running to their potential!
On Tuesday I woke up and was feeling a bit worn out. I debated whether I should train or not especially since it was a speed day. I had forgotten to pick up my laundry the night before so I had to wait until the laundromat opened which got me to the track later than planned. It was 80 and 80% humidity and I felt like crap, but I told myself that if I got through the first interval after the warm-up and didn’t feel well, I would cut the workout short. The workout was long and complex: 1 mile warm-up then 1 mile at Threshold then a 2 minute recovery. Then it was 2×800 with 3:00 min recovery and 4×200 with 200 recovery followed by a 1 mile cool down. Total distance was 5.5 miles. The 800s were tough, but I was pleased that I got the pacing pretty close to expected. My 200s ended up being about 6 seconds too fast again. I really have to work on getting the paces down!
Wednesday morning I planned to do a 60 minute cross training session on the bike, but discovered that morning that my back tire was flat so I skipped it. That evening I did my circuit training and noticed that my hip was still popping on my crunches. This has been happening for about 2 weeks now and as much as I try to stretch and roll my glutes and hip, I can’t get them to loosen up on my right side. I managed to get in my entire circuit, though.
Thursday morning I just needed 3 miles easy. Again, I was feeling pretty worn out, but since Friday is a complete rest day it was a little easier mentally to get out the door. My Garmin acted up for the first half mile or so which made me seriously consider just turning around and going home. (Yes, I was that fatigued and therefore my brain that fried.) I pushed through and ended up enjoying the last mile. I was super grateful to have a rest day coming, though. That night I went to bed early and slept 10.5 hours. I was still tired when I woke up on Friday morning.
Friday I rested. I met up with a dear friend after work and I indulged in some gluten in the form of a hamburger, a few beers, and some Indian food. I also got to bed much later than planned. Despite my best effort to salvage my Saturday morning long run by heading to bed as quickly as possible when I got home, I was sabotaged by some insomnia. I got about six hours of sleep with the help of a sleep aid.
Saturday morning a good friend ran over from Manhattan to meet me so we could do our long run together. I was scheduled for the lesser of 10 miles or 90 minutes of easy running. We planned to do my 4 bridge crossing route — over the Pulaski and Queensboro bridges and back. It was already hot at 8am when I left and I was tired. Surprisingly though, my body felt pretty okay. We kept a very easy pace, easier than I would usually run and tackled all 4 bridge crossings like champs. My friend was finished with her run before me so I tacked on about 6-7 minutes without her. I ran close to marathon pace which felt very easy even in the heat and after the 4 bridge crossings. After dropping her at the train and heading back to the apartment, I got in a good yoga session and got in a good brunch. I was very surprised at how good I felt all through the afternoon. I didn’t have the usual fatigue and need for a nap until much later in the evening. Around 8pm or so I started to crash, but that could have also been from a long day traveling to Jersey and being at a birthday party (eating less than ideal food) all day.
I ended the second week on a high note which was great. The entire week I felt a little worn out physically and mentally so it was nice to finish strong. I definitely want to try to figure out how to deal with the mid-week blahs of training. Next week I have 7.5+ hours of training on deck. That is all of my runs, post-run yoga, strength training, and cross-training on the bike. I don’t want to burn out early so will need to make a good plan of how to manage this load.
Total weekly mileage: 19.34 miles (20.9 planned if I hit my 10 on Saturday)
Total training time: 5 hours and 39 minutes (Runs, post-run yoga, and strength training)
Long run mileage: 7.57 miles (90 minutes was less than 10 miles)