Marathon training – week 7 of 14 – the halfway point

Week7trainingpeaksThis was always going to be one of those weeks where the wheels might fall off. Usually when I fly to a different country, my running goes completely to pieces, so though I was only clocking about half the intended load, I’m still fairly content with the outcome.

First, let’s talk about all that red.

On Tuesday, I did a hard run (5 miles at tempo pace) first thing in the morning before anyone else woke up, and then in the middle of the day I went off to the airport, took two planes across 8 time zones, and then still got out of the motel and went for a run that evening.  I was a little demotivated (partly because I’d just eaten an enormous burger with fries, and partly because I’d left my headphones and my power meter back home after the morning run) so getting even ten minutes (with a Garmin that decided to randomly crash every five minutes and delete a minute’s worth of running) feels like it wasn’t so bad.

Likewise, I didn’t manage to do the requested evening runs, but that was because every day I’d been at the office being busy, and I was hardly ready to put myself through two sessions each day. I explored a bit, ran around a soccer field a few times, mistakenly walked a bloody long way to the office shuttle, etc.

Then on Thursday I got up early(ish) and went for broke – two hours running around Stanford’s campus (including getting happily lost and finding my way to the golf course and some boggy, claggy mud, and then later having a few frightening experiences when the sidewalk next to the main road dematerialised) which culminated in a mile around Stanford’s track, allowing me to claim some extra token of athleticism.  I felt really good after that, and the feeling lasted all the way to the office, at which point I stopped moving and immediately felt all the light wash out of the day.  That was a tough one to follow.

Friday, I ran on a treadmill.  Afterwards, as I walked across the carpark in the driving rain, I saw two guys looking up at the sky.  I turned to see a beautiful rainbow (just as good as the one over Stanford on Thursday, where the only other witness was a white-haired geezer with lots of facial tattoos).  They were apologetic about looking up at the sky, but why not?  A thing of beauty is a joy forever, etc.  I walked through into the main campus, and the rain stopped.  Pathetic fallacy is great sometimes.

On Saturday, I should have done more than two hours, but frankly, after the stress of not being able to get into my friends’ house for the night (I later realised I could have just sauntered down to the local strip club, the only time that excuse would carry any weight) it was only right and fair to take the day off.  Plus I wanted to be fresh for the race on Sunday.

Oh yeah – instead of another two hour plod through cold and rain, I had a 5k on a steep, muddy hill.  Which was just what I wanted, even if I forgot to turn the GPS back on my Garmin after the treadmill on Friday, meaning I have nothing to show (off) for it.  I started at the very back, and when the race started everyone began to jog off very slowly.  There’s great psychological merit to overtaking (almost) the entire field – when I checked the results that evening, I was overjoyed to find that not only was I fourth overall, I’d taken first place in the over 40s male category.  Never done that in a 5k before.

Now, after the trials and tribulations of last night (I ended up sleeping on the floor of SeaTac for about 20 minutes in total) it’s fortunate that today is a rest day.  As restful as finding that your rebooked flight has been cancelled and you’ve got to wait another 3 hours to get going toward somewhere that’s still 2 hours from your final destination… but I can’t really complain.  I got to look out of the window at the snow and work through some of the statistical training I would never make time for otherwise.

My power data and my distance data and my training stress data are all a bit wonky this week. I’ll just put my heart rate splits up and leave that here:
That’s a whole lot of taking things easy (76% in zones 1 & 2) and when I looked at the Stanford two hour attempt, most of that was actually in the easy zone, but I was still hitting goal pace (no more than 10% in the ‘tempo’ heart rate zone, even though I was kicking out the required speed). (Thanks to California not having the same climate as Singapore, I suppose.) Sunday I did 68% of my run above threshold – maybe that means I should have actually tried harder. There’s always next week. And next week, I assume I’ll have less parentheses when I write it up.

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