Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Backing Off a Bit

First, a not so random observation: What is it with tattoos? What makes a perfectly reasonable person want to permanently implant a large colorful drawing on the lower back, just above the gluts? I guess it looks cool, but will they be thinking the same thing 30 years from now?


This is a slow week for me. The morning temperatures are still at or over 90 F (32 C) and the humidity is rising as we near our “monsoon” season. Since I’ve managed to bang out 45+ miles the last 3 weeks and I have a 5k race this Saturday, I think it would be best to back off a bit and give the body a rest. I realize that for many of you, a 45 mile week is, by definition, low mileage, but for me, it is still remarkable. Since I’ve managed to increase my weekly mileage from roughly 20 to as high as 52 over the past 3 months, I’m in no rush to keep pushing. My plan has me working up to 60+ as the summer heat subsides, but for now, 45 to 50 with a break every 3 or 4 weeks feels right.


That said, like nearly all of you, I’m an obsessive runner. Although my schedule called for a 7 mile run this morning, 8 sounded so much better. Pushing the mileage up to 8 allowed me add a bigger hill in the first 5 mile loop and then add an easy 3 mile loop at the end. As I did on Sunday’s long run, I stashed a water jug along the route so I could fill up on water at the 5 mile mark.


For the first 100 yards this morning, it actually felt cool; although this feeling quickly dissolved as the beads of sweat formed on my forehead. The first few miles were rather sluggish; my body’s natural reaction to getting dragged out of bed and forced outside at 5:00 AM. My pace picked up a bit on mile 3 and I actually enjoyed mile 4. I only had one run-in with a driver turning right onto the main street and not bothering to look to the right. The startled look on their faces as they see me jumping out of their way is priceless.


Mile 5 included a series of 3 small hills over the last ½ mile with a steep down hill at the end. The third raise kicked my butt big time. I kept reminding myself that this was making me stronger, this was making me stronger, this was making me stronger …. Funny, I didn’t feel stronger, just tired.


I loaded up on water at the 5 mile mark and headed off for the final 3 mile loop. Mile 6 and 7 flew by although the traffic increased considerably as it was well past 6 AM by this time. Mile 8 was my familiar straight shot home. One blissful mile; no turns and few intersecting streets. Although my overall run this morning was, at best, slow. I managed to run the last mile in 8:45.


The rest of this week should be uneventful. I have no speed work planned, only 7 or 8 mile easy runs on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is a reserved for light cross training. A 5K on Saturday and whatever I feel like on Sunday, probably a 10 mile recovery run. I think this adds up to something close to 40 miles (by the time you add warm up and cool down on race day).


I appreciate the nice comments I’ve received concerning the upcoming 5k. Although I’ve been very fortunate to improve my 5k PR on the last two races, I don’t have high expectations for this one. First, the temperature will most likely be 90 F (32 C) on Saturday morning and our monsoons are predicted to start this week, which means that the morning humidity will be quite high. And if my average pace on morning runs is any indication, the heat is taking a toll on my speed. I am running further, but I’m running slower, about 30 seconds per mile slower than I was doing when the temperatures were just 10-15 degrees cooler. I’ll have a great time and run the best race possible, but I’m not going to be too upset if I don’t beat my 22:01.




After the brow beating I’ve taken from several non-blogging friends (yes they do really exist) as well as the suggestions from Robin and Dusty, I’ve started a bit of cross training on my rest days. My youngest daughter is trying to stay in shape over the summer so as to be better prepared for soccer (aka football on the rest of the planet) next this fall, so I’ve been taking her to our local LA Fitness for her work out. While there, I’ve started using the recumbent stationary bike, usually getting in 40 minutes at 100 rpm. From what I can tell by the rest of the folks around me, few see the beauty in these machines and slowly peddle along at low resistance levels at 60 rpm. At 100 rpm the machine has a nice bounce to it. This machine will really rock when you push it. I also brought along my MP3 player and cranked up a few tunes including Cream (i.e. Politician, Cross Roads, Born under a bad sign, etc) as well as The Doors, “Morrison Hotel” album; which ensured I kept the temp up and heart rate evaluated to at least 110.


Of course the whole time that I’m on the bike I’m staring at the fancy treadmills. Although I’m not a huge treadmill fan, they seem to be calling to me … “get off the bike”, “step up to a real machine” … I resisted however. I’m here to x-train and x-train I will do.


Have a great week running!


Training for the week:


Mon: X-train (40 minutes on a recumbent stationary bike)

Tue : 8.0 Miles, easy, 9 :22/mi pace


Dusty said...

good run. Glad you are getting to workout with your daughter. I sure loved runs or hikes with my Dad!

Jim said...

Sounds like a good run. You're right. You have to listen to your body and when it says take a break, then take a break. Lots of luck on your 5k.

I was feeling bad about running in the high 90s . . . I'd hate to be running in out there!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

i like your description of the bikes - "they'll get a nice bounce to them" :) almost makes cross training sound fun...

Phil said...

Angie .. .the bike was a reak kick. I don't know if your suppose to use them the way I was, but when you really push hard on every stroke, the front-end comes off the carpet (just a little). At a 100 RPM you're getting 200 bounces per minute. Crank up the tunes on your MP3 real load and you've got a real exercise machine. I promised everyone I'd do something besides running ... this seems to work

Jim .. running in the high 90s is suicidal. Dispite the title of my blog (which made perfect sense this past spring), I take the vampire approach and get in as many miles as I can before sun rise. Of course, I'll be complaining about the cold and the dark in a few months.

Dusty ... I'm finally glad to have something my daughter will do with me. However, I can only imagine the stories she'll be telling her shrink in 20 years. They'll all start with, "... my dad kept trying to get me to run 20 miles a day ...". She thinks I'm nuts, but I'm happy to see her off doing 40 minutes of cardio three times a week at age 14. It's more than I ever did.

Thomas said...

52 miles is pretty good mileage. Up until 2 months ago this would have been around my highest mileage ever, I've only very recently started to push past that.

100 RPM on the bike is good, as it is similar your cadence while running. If you did 60 RPM, your legs would become slower.

carmen said...

we'll have to compare notes next month or so as to how much cross-training has helped our running. My current running schedule has me doing x-training 2 times a week so we'll see what next month brings in terms of rewards.

Phil, I am continually astounded by your commitment to run in this weather and temperature range day after day. You, sir, are a real trooper! I've spent the last week inside the confines of a gym and it's...boring. :(

Oh yeah, I don't know what it is about tattoos. I think they're pretty tacky. It's hard to be considered elegant in an evening gown when some gal has a tattoo on her arms, chest, and *groan* the lower back. Someone outta do a coffee book of tattoos after 40 or 50. haha I'd buy it to get a good laugh.