Sunday, February 26, 2012

There Is Nothing Left, There Is Nothing Lost

I changed radically my way of training. Reason is that Big Sur is a hard course, hilly and windy, so I decided to add more mileage to my week, meaning I need to run more (duh). My races routine continues being the same, and honestly, I don’t think I will ever abandon it unless I am physically forced to. But, my week routine is very different. 

I am doing David Holt’s plan. He has 4 phases for a marathon, and each phase has a key work out. Instead of working a 7-day plan, the key work out is done every 4-5 days. Hills, for example, are the key work-out for phase I. So if I did Hills on Monday, I should do it again, on Fri or Sat. Then I rotate my days accordingly. This have added a lot of variety to my training and had diminished the boredom that I have had week after week, year after year: Tue: Speed, Thu: Tempo, Weekend: Long run.

I am also running at odd hours, rains, snows, or hails (never shines) an additional couple of 5-milers per week with Michelle, a new running partner. Michelle and I met 4 years ago through the blogging world, and though both of us live in Western WA, we never had the opportunity to meet in a race. We lived one hour far from each other, and she was more of an ultra runner and a well-deserved Marathon Maniac, so, there was not much of a common ground. But now she moved 3 miles from my home and she is not “ultra-ing” for now, so we have found that running together is an enjoyable thing, to the point, that waking up so early, and running in the rainy, cold, and windy darkness is pretty much unnoticeable. The only thing we notice in every run is that we are seizing the moment, thanking for the moon reflection over the sound, the smell of bark, or the salty smell that comes from the water. At the end, of the run, I only feel that sense of happiness for having done so.

As part of last week’s training, I did an anaerobic threshold workout in a 5K. It was a fantastic Saturday in Magnuson Park, at 39F/7C, felt like 31F/-1C with the windchill factor, and gusts of 40 mph. Lake Washington was very choppy, the cold was into our bones, but nothing deterred 400 Washingtonian runners. I ran very well with wind and all. My time was 26:32 for an 8:33 min/mile (My current PR is 26:19).

With this race I set my legs for a couple of back-to-back Half Marathons. Sunday at Birch Bay and Monday at Bothell for First Call President’s Day. Per David Holt you don’t need fresh legs for an easy long run, so an AT or VO2 max run could be done the day before, but not the other way around. The purpose of this back-to-back-to-back races was to tire my legs. I would run the Half slower than my regular pace, as I am not planning on getting injured. For those that follow Furman (Run Faster, Run Less), it is not recommended to back to back a speed workout with a long run. Reason is that Furman’s long runs are done at a hard pace. That’s why he has always a rest day between these workouts. Holt’s long runs are at easier pace.

I carpooled with Mike, a former boss. He and I have run several 5K together including Fremont Briefcase Relay. Mike is a great overall athlete: very good swimmer, biker, and runner. He’s done several sprint and Olympic triathlons and is currently training for Ironman Canada (Aug 2012). This was his first marathon ever. We drove very early and the 1h 45 min-drive passed by without much notice as we were catching up. Our races would start at the same time, and I would wait for him (his goal was 3:30). We wished each other well, and at 8 am we went into our adventure. I had a good run, letting my HR to dictate the pace. I certainly felt my legs, especially going down the long hill (mile 8ish), where my quads were pounding. It was cold and windy. At mile 10 my arms and hands were two pieces of ice stalactites. I clocked 2:17:11 for a 10:28 pace. My splits:

1-     10:16 – 143
2-     10:18 – 139
3-     10:31 – 148
4-     10:20 – 141
5-     9:53 – 142
6-     10:23 – 153
7-     10:40 – 160 (long uphill)
8-     10:28 – 155 (my quads couldn’t collaborate)
9-     10:33 – 143
10- 10:34 – 148
11- 10:51 – 146
12- 10:45 – 153
13-  9:37 – 166

I changed my upper clothes, dressed very warm, wool hat and all, and soaked my legs in coldy 46F/7C Birch Bay for 10 min. I don’t know how I could do it, but obediently I did. I was advised to do that to feel good for another Half the following day. After the soak I felt good already. Dried and changed, I talked to some volunteers while waiting for Mike. At 3:25 I was camera in hand to catch his first marathon finish. He crossed it in 3:29:02, and I was SO lucky (or good) that caught the image of Mike crossing the line with the clock and his official finish time.

He followed my advice of soaking his legs, though he didn’t feel like doing it for 10 min. We ate stuff we had for our trip and drove back to close Sunday with another fantastic race in our pockets.

I was very nervous when I woke up on Monday. I had never ran a Half Marathon two days in a row and I didn’t know what could happen. After socializing a bit, I started my new adventure, and let again my heart rate to dictate the pace. Guess what? Smart heart. It didn’t go to 80% as it always goes at the start of a 13.1 race. It settled in 70%, like telling me, you know what, there is no much power here, so let’s take it really easy. It was fantastic. I went along, and felt good. I wasn’t tired, or sore, or in pain. I just felt like in low gear. True that my HR couldn’t even go beyond 90% at the end when I always have some energy, but I never had that feeling “I want to end this”. I indeed felt good. I clocked 2:24:04 for an 11 min/mile. 

The song that played last on my iPod before finishing this run said it all: There Is Nothing Left, [but] There Is Nothing Lost".

1-     10:21 – 131
2-     10:43 – 132
3-     11:05 – 132
4-     10:53 – 135
5-     10:56 – 141
6-     10:56 - 139
7-     11:12 – 139
8-     10:54 – 145
9-     10:55 – 144
10- 10:48 – 151
11- 10:45 – 152
12- 11:07 – 162
13- 10:46 – 166
02/18/12 - 5K Magnuson Park - Presidents' Day
Soaking my legs in Birch Bay cold waters
Mike crossing the finish line.
Mike's turn to soak his legs

02/19/12 Mike and I with our corresponding bling

02/20/12 - First Call President's Day Half Marathon 02/20/12
With Stephanie at First Call - Presidents' Day


Linda Benefiel said...

Lizzie, you are doing a fine job! Keep up the good work...See you at St Patrick's Day Dash? How'd your run go yesterday in the wind? benny..

lizzie lee said...

It went fantastic, actually the wind didn't bother at all. I had better pace than Monday. Clocked 2:29 for a 15-miler, and I felt great.

Angie Brionez said...

Wow - fantastic time!!

Linda Benefiel said...


Ginger said...

You are an amazing woman, Lizzie!! Those ice water baths are not fun but really can help with recovery. Can't wait to see you again.