Today is a Rest Day, and after the past week, I had hoped to be able to sleep in and get up just before the first football game. You see, this past week I forced myself to get back to early morning running. I used to be that person who was up at 5 am without an alarm and out the door on the run by 6 am. Then summer came and I took advantage of the long days of sunlight and ran in the evenings, or even at lunchtime on some days.
Now that I'm 8 weeks out from the NY Marathon, I decided it's time to get back into the habit of early morning runs.
Since I work from home for the most part these days, I can get out the door by 7-7:30 am and be back at my laptop by 8:30-9 am (and yes, I usually work till lunch without a shower -- TMI?).
I ran 3 days this past mid-week -- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. If you include the 7:00 am Weight Training Workout on Friday, and yesterday's long run, that's 5 consecutive days of early AM workouts. Here's a quick rundown of the past week, followed by thoughts on yesterday's long run:
1700 meter Swim in 40-minutes at 8 am. It was Labor Day and I thought the pool would be crowded with the usual 6 am crowd who decided to sleep in on the holiday and show up a couple of hours later. I was wrong; the pool was empty and I had a lane to myself for the entire workout. It's funny how swimming seems so much easier when you have the black line all to yourself.
7.48-mile Run in 1:20 and done by 8:30 am. The first early morning run of the week had me feeling like a zombie on the first few miles. Not for long though because after a 15-minute warm up, I was running 10 3-min pick ups with 2-min recovery; i.e., walking. As terrible as I felt at the beginning of the run, I felt really good by the end.
5-mile Run. Since it was an easy run, I left the Garmin at home and took my time trying to wake up on the first few miles yet again.
Later that afternoon I had a training session with Trainer Dave at Seal Point. As usual, we went through a TRX circuit, but this time it was shorter simply because he changed the angles of the exercises which vastly increased it's difficulty.
6.78-mile Run in 1:08 and again, done by 8:30 am. The workout was to run 6 miles at 9:45 pace with a 60-sec walk break after each mile. To make sure I got the actual 6-miles of running, I stretched it out and then added a 1/2-mile cool down. I wore my Zoot compression tights, which felt fantastic. My legs didn't even feel taxed at all.
My intention was to go to a 6 am Spin class, 7 am Vinyasa Yoga class, then my PT appointment at 8 am. They're all in the same building in the City, which meant that I would have to leave my house by 5:30 am. Well, I overslept by an hour and didn't get to the gym until 7:15 am, missing both classes. So I did PT exercises on some of the weight machines before my PT visit, then decided to take it easy for the rest of the day.
15.04-miles in 2:37:51
Tidbits from the Long Run
The 'Hood I went to bed on Friday night with the intention of running the same route along the Embarcadero that I've run for the past 3 weeks. But I woke up and decided to just run my regular 5-mile loop in my neighborhood 3 times. I've done this before, especially for runs that start with a "2."
I stretched the first loop out to just over 6-miles, then ran 5-miles on the second loop, leaving just under 4-miles for the last loop. It worked out well except for the fact that my neighborhood is infested with (mean) geese that fully believe that they own the roads. I kid you not, there was a moment where a flock of them parked themselves in the middle of the path and neither I, nor the other runners and walkers could pass. We had to stand there and cautiously shoo them aside.
Oh, a Rottweiler also chased me. If you're keeping score, that's the 3rd one in the past year in my 'hood. At least this time there was no physical contact, just some chasing and barking (and me yelling at the owner).
Compression and Chafing Since the compression tights worked so well on Thursday, I decided to use them for this long run. I used to have a pair of CW-X compression tights, but the quality wasn't very good so I got another pair from Zoot this past Spring.
I've used the Zoot Recovery Tights for a few years now and knew it was a good brand. Well, if you recall, I got injured in May so I haven't used the new pair very much. In fact, maybe just once or twice before, and not for a run as long as 15-miles.
The fabric texture is a little different than your traditional running tights. I wasn't even sure if it was supposed to be worn as an undergarment. I even called them to ask. They said it was up to me, and since nothing "showed", I used it by itself.
Now if you've ever worn compression anything, you will know that it's a workout in and of itself just to get it on. But once on, it's fantastic to run in. I swear, my legs felt great the entire time (well most of the time). So great that I ran my fastest miles at the end when I felt dead tired. My legs found this strength that just propelled them forward. I think the compression had something to do with it. BUT...
When I got home and got in the shower I screamed. I suffered. I chafed badly in those areas where the fabric bunches up and it's difficult to smooth out. Like behind the knees. And in the hip flexors. Oh, and not to mention the waistband -- we're talking a raw, red ring around my entire waist. Ow. While I'm tired, I really don't have much muscle soreness from the run, just a lot of soreness from the chafing. So it's a toss-up as to whether the compression tights are worth it or not.
Final Thoughts Considering the fact that I took a 60-sec walk break after every mile, I'm pretty happy with this 10:24 min/mi pace. (And yet, at the same time I'm not sure if I ran it too fast.)
To put things in perspective, this was my longest run since the 22-miler I did on May 5th (and this week was the highest mileage since then too).
It was hard. At the end of the run I couldn't imagine running another mile longer. Then again I thought the same thing after I ran 13.04 miles just 7 days prior. But I know I will. During this long run I was able to find a long-lost focus and was able to dig down deep inside and find the gumption get it done. This was something that I had lost a long time ago; it was nice to find it again.