This was a (mostly) unplanned rest day. I had been planning on working out in Salt Lake City after arriving because my flight got in pretty early. But Rob mentioned he was taking the rest of the day off after picking me up from the airport to spend time with me. I was not going to be the obsessive exerciser who goes to the gym after her sweet boyfriend has taken the afternoon off to spend time together. So I made a plan to get up early (probably around 5:30am) to do a three mile tempo run before leaving. On Sunday, I woke up with a pretty nasty cold—sore throat, achy, stuffy nose, the works. I was still planning on running until I realized that the only thing compelling me to shove in a workout was because I was being weirdly obsessive and hadn’t planned on taking a rest day. So I asked my dad and my older sister (the two most obsessive people I know), and they encouraged me to just take a rest day to get over my cold. Taking time to recover instead of forcing myself to exercise just because I said I would is a big step for me!
Tuesday: 800m, 12 x 400, 800m; 7-minute abs
On Monday, I scouted out the track at a local high school to see what I expected—nothing but a blanket of snow. So I decided to go to my office early and do my workout on the treadmill in the office gym. I got up at 4:30am (which I’ve decided is about 30 minutes earlier than anyone should have to wake up) and made it to the office by 6:00am. I set the treadmill to 9.7 mph (6:11/mile) with a 1% incline and got started. It’s always a little strange doing intervals on the treadmill because I never want to slow or stop the treadmill between reps because of the time it takes to get started again. So I would run a quarter mile (about 400m) then hop to the side of the treadmill and let it run without me for 200m before starting the next rep. Every four 400s, I took a full quarter mile rest. In one sense, running on a treadmill is mentally more difficult than running outside because it’s just so boring. The intervals feel longer (to me) and the workout drags on. In another sense, though, it’s easier mentally because you can’t really fall off your pace (without falling off the treadmill, anyway). When running outside, you sometimes need to stay 100% mentally focused to keep your pace. When running on a treadmill, you can space out and still keep up the pace because the treadmill always lets you know what your pace should be. That’s one reason I try to avoid the treadmill and run outside whenever possible. After finishing my workout, I did my core work. I’ve upped the time to 7-minutes now. And on that note, I noticed some ab definition that definitely wasn’t there a few months ago (partly due to lighting, I’m sure!). So that is encouraging.
Wednesday: Masters swim team (2100 yds)
Wednesday is the day in Masters where we work on something other than freestyle, and thus it is a day I usually avoid. But I wanted to get a swim in with them this week, and due to travel and New Year’s, Wednesday was my only option. Sure enough, we had to do other strokes. I just don’t understand strokes other than freestyle. They are harder and you will never go as fast as with freestyle. It would be like a track race where you must hop around the track. Anyway, this was our workout:
8 x 50 (IM order)
8 x 125 IM (rolling 50 yard stroke)
The order for the IM is butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and then freestyle. Basically, the main set was eight run-throughs of that at 25 yards for every stroke except one, which was 50 yards. That stroke rotated. So, the first 125 was 50 yards of butterfly and 25 of the rest while the second was 50 yards of backstroke and 25 of the rest. The workout was fine. My butterfly sucks, but my breaststroke actually felt okay. And the coach wants me to work on backstroke by spending more time on my back during regular workouts. I hate being on my back. Apparently, I have a hard time committing to the position which is what is causing me to drown be waterboarded not float well. He also assured me that working on other strokes will actually help me in triathlons, so I decided to believe him, being that he’s a coach and I’m definitely not.
Thursday: Run—3 miles (20:58); 7-minute abs
I planned to do a cold, lunchtime tempo run, as the high was only 18°. On my way to work, I realized I had forgotten to pack my headband to keep my ears warm. I think I know my ears’ threshold for frostbite due to an, um, unfortunate and rather foolish experience a few years ago, so I figured I’d be fine, if a little uncomfortable and decided to go ahead with my run as scheduled. During my warmup, I deduced that the wind would be (mostly) with me on the way out and (mostly) against me on the way back, so I decided to start a little faster than my planned pace of 7:30/mile. I ended up starting quite a bit faster than that, but I was glad in the end because it gave me a chance to see where I’m at speed-wise. I was fast and feeling great on the way out, but when I turned around, I could really feel the wind. It was a hard stretch of about a mile, but the final half mile felt a little better because the wind was a little more favorable. I finished just below 21 minutes which put me at a 6:59/mile pace overall—the first time I’ve ever done a run with an average pace of under 7:00/mile! It wasn’t a long run, but I was still very pleased with that little milestone.
Friday: Bike—12 miles
It was about 25° when I set out for my ride today. I basically wore the same gear as I did for my last very cold weather ride, with the addition of a beanie over my headband and a neckwarmer. My fingers and toes were the only parts of my body that ended up uncomfortably cold. I went with a friend of mine. I forgot to start my computer until partway through the ride, but when we got back, her computer said we’d been out around 55 minutes. It was the first time I had actually ridden my bike in over a week, and it was great to be back. We took the ride easy and enjoyed the beautiful views of snow covered mountains. I had only been planning on going out for about 30 minutes, but it felt so great to be back on my bike that we extended the ride a bit. We turned around once my toes started to get uncomfortably cold, and we made it back just as they started to hit the pain threshold. The timing was pretty much perfect.
Saturday: Run—18 miles (2:27:10)
It was another cold day in Salt Lake City. I slept in until about 7:30am and spent a lazy morning dreading my run. I ate a bowl of cereal, and after I headed to Rob’s place, I ate some eggs, two small tortillas, and a banana. We just hung out until around 11:00 when I went out and placed my water bottles. When I got back, I did my final preparations and took off. Over the course of the run, I ate a package of ProBar Bolt Organic Energy Chews. (And I’m in no way affiliated with them. They are just super tasty and sit well in my stomach. Plus, they were the brand recommended to me by the local bike shop.) I started off, and the beginning hill was immediately awful. I’m not sure if my legs were a little tired or if I had just forgotten what it was like after a week away, but I was not going all that fast and was still feeling some muscle-burn which was a little worrisome in the first three miles of an eighteen mile run. I hit mile three exactly on an 8:30/mile pace, which I was pleased with considering the first three miles are such a tough climb. For the next few miles, I felt great. My legs started moving, and it was sunny and cold (25°) which actually felt good. There were a lot of people running in the park, considering how cold it was (New Year’s resolutions?), so there were plenty of people-watching opportunities. Mile 11 started to get a little tough, and I knew the section from mile 11 to mile 15 would be a tough one. I kept my pace up well up through mile 12, but after that, I didn’t have any pace checks until mile 15. I tried to keep up my pace, but I could feel my legs dragging a bit, especially on some of the uphill sections. So when I hit mile 15 and saw I had lost quite a bit of time, I was a little surprised, but not shocked. Because I had lost time, I focused on picking up the pace a little, hoping to gain a little time on the downhill portions in the last few miles. Except I misremembered my mile 15 mark. I thought it was two streets farther along than it actually was, so I hit my pace much better than I thought on that stretch. I still pushed it in at a decent (but by no means blazing) pace and finished in an 8:10/mile pace. After a few minutes of sitting down in a warm house, my exercise heat wore off and the two and a half hours I spent in 25° weather caught up to me. I started shaking with cold, and my lips turned an impressive shade of purple. Fortunately, and exceptionally long hot shower did the trick, and I felt fine afterwards. It’s good to remember, though, for future cold runs.
Sunday: Bike—35 minutes; 7-minute abs
I went on a short ride with Rob today, and it felt exactly how you would expect a bike ride to feel after an 18 mile run. I was tired, slow, and in a little bit of pain. But, as usual, it was nice to spend some time on my bike. It wasn’t nearly as cold as it was on Friday, but I think it felt colder because the sun wasn’t out. Still, it was a good way to stretch my legs out. I also did some core work after I got back.