Thursday, July 8, 2010

June funk

June was a busy month, with a couple of weekends filled with visits from DC friends, and another taken up with a trip to CA for pacing duties at Western States. It was also a fairly crappy month in terms of training.  The visits from friends were both on weekends where I would normally have run big mileage, but couldn't because of entertaining responsibilities, and a couple of other issues that led to two other low mileage weeks.  The week of WS I caught a cold/flu that had me out for most of the week, and the week after WS I crashed hard on my knee on Leif Erikson in Forest Park and couldn't run for a few days because of the pain and swelling.  I ended up getting x-rays, which showed that nothing was broken, but the doctor is putting me on a strength training program because my knees aren't as pretty as he'd like to see at my age.  He didn't seem overly concerned, just that my knee cartilage is showing signs of degenerative joint disease. I hope to use these knees for many more years, so I'll follow his advice and start doing some strength training.  I've never had any knee issues, other than some creakiness when walking down stairs, so am hopeful that my knees stay healthy once I can get the soreness and swelling in the left one to disappear.

So, what I had hoped would be a string of weeks in the 70-80 mile range, has been a more consistent 60 miles/week.  I've never been one to log my training, until a few months ago, when I started logging it on Daily Mile.  I averaged out the last 15 weeks, and my average is 55 miles/week.  Sounds pretty low, but when I account for some low weeks because of travel, crashing, illness, tapering, etc, I guess it's not bad.  I'll try to bump the running average up to 70 miles/week, hitting some weeks in the 80s and 90s as I get ready for Pine to Palm in September.  The weekly mileage figures also don't take into account cross training, which I've been trying to do on a regular basis, including some road biking, swimming (altho I haven't been in the pool since April) and bikram yoga.  I've really gotten hooked into bikram since about February, and have been going 3 or more times each week.  Each class is 90 minutes, so it is a bit of a time suck, but I think it's been helping with my overall core strength, ankle stability and is great heat training.  And I definitely feel at least a bit leaner since I've been going.  And I love the heat--105 degrees and humid.  I easily sweat out a couple of buckets each class.  It kind of makes up for the heat I'm missing by not living in DC anymore (although it is supposed to reach 100 here in Portland today).  I can't say that I'm getting any more flexible, but at least I'm not getting any less flexible.  And flexibility is definitely not a sign of fitness, as there are some really large out-of-shape people in the class that can bend themselves into pretzels.  I will never be a pretzel.  I've accepted that fact since grade school when I never got a presidential fitness award because of my abysmal performance on the seated toe touch.

One June highlight included climbing Mt. St. Helens.  We somehow lucked out and picked the perfect day, which was cold and cloudy at the bottom, but sunny with fresh snow at the top.  The fresh snow made for good traction, some great views of the surrounding peaks, and lots of snow blindness and sun burn for members of the group.  I ended up with a red neck, which was better than the burning eyeballs experienced by others.   The hike was steep, but not overly difficult, and doing it with a group of non-runners, made for an easy hike with lots of waiting for the group to catch up. I bought my first ice axe, and am looking forward to climbing other OR and WA peaks to justify its purchase.  I'd like to do Mt. Hood, Adams and Jefferson in the coming months.

The last weekend of June I paced for Annette Bednosky at WS.  She was a rock star, placing 8th woman, and really keeping a solid pace during the 38 miles I was with her.  I've never run so much in any of my other pacing experiences.  It was good to see at least part of the course in case I ever run the thing.  I've heard good and bad things about the hype at WS over the past few years.  And during the course of the weekend, I have to admit I was pretty turned off by the entire event and hoopla surrounding it.  But a few days after the event my feelings about it seemed to shift, and I would really like to run it if I ever get the chance, but if not I won't be crushed.  There are many other (and more interesting) hundreds out there.  I'd like to run WS next year, but I'm almost more excited to run San Diego, which could be the plan if I don't get into WS.

This weekend is the Siskiyou Out and Back 50K down near Ashland, OR.  I signed up months ago, and am not really feeling in a good place training-wise to be running a race, but it will be a good long training run for some upcoming races.  I might even try to do a double, and get out on the Pine to Palm course on Sunday.  I've never been to the Ashland area, so it will be nice to see what I've signed up for in September.  SOB will be balmy, and is higher than I had realized (the course profile makes it look like it's all between about 6000 and 7000 feet--what was I thinking??), so it could really suck. But what doesn't kill me makes me stronger, right? Or leads me one step closer to dropping this ultra habit.  I'm just hoping to have fun out there, to remind me again why I keep running these things. 

4 comments:

olga said...

Amy, first of, it was great to meet you in person! I should send you a couple of pictures:) Secondly, 60 mpw is pretty darn good all things considering. Hope your knee gets better soon! I do weight training for a few reasons, one of which to strengthen the weak parts not trained in running. And - I LOVED Bikram and was religious about it when lived in NYC (I even taught it for 2 years), and in my first year in Portland, but sadly now find I can't afford it either in time or money. I wish I could, it surely helps. Glad you're taking advantage of surrounding mountains. I hear you on WS hype - it's too much. But at the same time, it is only one race out of many, so it's kind of justified to have one hyped-up race with superior competition. But as you, I won't cry if I don't get in - of course, I have benefits of having done it 3 times. Not fair, kind of, to speak up:) But SD100 IS a great alternative! Anyhow, you will love SOB course, altho air is thing there. I am looking forward seeing you again, in September, even if for a glimpse at the start:)

ultrarunnergirl said...

Sounds like a good plan and great goals. Hope the knee comes around quickly! Good luck at SOB!

Casseday said...

Congrats on the win Amy. Looks like you're in much better shape than you thought!

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