If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Monday, February 11, 2013

A week of training and a day of life.

This past week a lot of things fell in together. This past week had happened to be also a "peak" training in my first cycle of the season. Sometimes folks ask what exactly do I do when I train, and I figured since last week was just a solid example of how I lay out the plan for myself (and for Larry) and how I manage to make it happen, I'll take this week through. That, and the idea that as a runner we're supposed to get into our desired "race season weight" at least a couple of months ahead of a goal race - what for this Spring (a.k.a. my 2013 season #1, with #2 from September to December) is a Kansas 100k on April 20th. As I mentioned in previous post, Larry and I are both completed the Whole30 eating elimination plan, which is basically more or less same as Paleo with a few more strict rules to make sure the mind addictions break alongside with digestion of simple sugars/carbs, diary and legumes (for example, Paleo is fine with baking from Almond or Cocoa flour, yet Whole30 considers it giving in to cravings of a cookie and focuses on breaking habits). We actually are not only pleased with results in sheer numbers, but in how it makes us feel mentally and health-wise and how our running is feeling better in recovery and progress. So, we're more or less sticking with it indefinitely - Paleo that is. We tried a couple of things (like a piece of cookie, some cheese on eggs, Larry had oatmeal, I am enjoying my dark chocolate at a square a day) - and besides said 85% chocolate, nothing really moved us back to those things. My stomach certainly disagreed with cheese (at least the American version of it, because I hope I still can consume once in a blue moon a real good ol' Euro cheese), Larry's - with oatmeal, and we both smirked on that little cookie we split. And so that it's clear, while we love and enjoy the results of this new eating plan/way, we don't intend to stay strict for the rest of our lives. We will eat Paleo for the most part, but will allow ourselves to indulge from time to time, go out for a drink, have a slice of something. What this plan did teach us to look at the food's labels, figure out where addiction is versus hunger, what we need versus what we "like" And if we really actually like it, and how to make our lives healthier in the long run.

Anyway, training, yes. The very important thing I preach when work on schedules of runs for folks I am helping out to is the idea of easy/hard days. However, myself, I often find I push a tad more on easy days (at least towards second part of the run, once warmed up), and then on hard days that pushing gets tougher. Having just gone through overtraining syndrome, I vowed to be really careful. That Garmin 310 I bought (thank to a good friend who rid of his old one for upgrade and it allowed me to divulge myself for all of $125!) is a great tool when used smart! Now my easy runs are that - easy. And when I need to push, I am able to see the number and be either satisfied, or not so much and put more effort.

That said, this is how my week planned out.

Monday - recovery run on roads in early morning, 5M, something in tune of 10:30 pace. Post-lunch time - gym, upper body weights and abs, 45min.

Tuesday - morning: hills repeats, 5x0.4M, total of 6M with WU and CD. Felt strong! Every next repeat a touch faster, all on perfect time. Post-lunch: gym, lower body (lots of heavy squats, lunges, plyometrics, etc.), abs, 45min. Evening - Bikram yoga 90 min.

Wednesday - easy run on roads in the dark on rolling hills at moderate pace (about 10:00 average). Post-lunch - gym: back/shoulders/chest 30 min. Evening - Bikram yoga 90 min.

Thursday - morning roads 9M run with 4M tempo inside. Tempo miles went: 9:08, 8:53, 8:48, 8:13. Not quite even, but I was thrilled with the numbers not only in the last mile but each of those! This was a break-through for me, I am not a flat runner, and in the last 6 months or so I wasn't clicking anything below 9's. Was supposed to go to the gym for some leg presses and quad/hamstring machines, but work was busy, and I couldn't stay late either. Missed it.

Friday - an official off day when, since I am "streaking" this year, I ran 2 miles at some whatever pace without a watch (I could walk faster if I wanted to) - to ensure I am resting!

Saturday - THE most perfect long trail run I had ever had while living in Austin. Georgetown lake trail loop, 26.5 miles. It starts with almost 2M of dam/road running, then goes onto gnarly rock trail (no serious hills, small hops and rolls, very tiny, but the rock is really treacherous), that lasts about 8 miles or so, then it mellows out - right into a sweet double track intermittent with single track, all smooth and pretty flat at all for about 6 miles or so, and then it hits some good hills - and those are with the same gnarl rock and roots!
Whatever...they move a lot too. Keep your eyes down, don't let your mind drift.

Where is the trail?

Obviously, not the worse sections - those you can't take photos of.

The Gnarl up close and personal.

Just for reference, I ran there 6:20, 6:00, 5:40, 5:25, and 5:30. Last weekend I was planning to try sub-5:30 if all goes well. Larry went as well, he asked if he could stay with me, but we both know we run better separately - we have completely different paces and styles and strength, so "together" only works on "runcations". Otherwise he'd have to slow down (I am slower as is, and start even more turtle-like) and it is very uncomfortable for him and believe it or not makes him more tired towards the end (when I find another gear). And all the while I'd be feeling guilty and trying to speed up to make his life easier - and ruin my own run because I am simply not fast enough and can't handle it for long and absolutely need to start very slow.

That said, after first 2 road miles at 10:00 (thanks to Garmin) and after Larry pealed off, I was running that gnarl in low 11's for a few miles (4?) and was scared and kept ordering myself to slow down. It didn't feel any effort put out, but I was petrified that I will break down soon. I believe mile 8 was at 11:45 and I actually smiled for the first time. And then it got weirder. I was still on gnarl yet, but speeding up. Then the flats and double track came under my feet - and my pace easily dropped into low 9's...for many miles. That is practically my tempo pace! It was scary, but it felt like I am hardly moving! I was just waiting for the hills...and the bonk. I ran into Tejas campground with 11 miles to go full of energy. That was my only stop - I ran the whole freaking thing, never walked a step. With 13M to go I had 2:20 on the watch (run time) and contemplated if I'd be able to break 5 hrs. Leaving Tejas, there is another mile and half of flat good running - and then the stairs lead you into the last 9+ miles of hilliest part of the trail and yes, all covered with that gnarl rock and roots (there was a couple of times I had to slow down and look around to make sure I am actually on trail and not in the woods). But I kept running. I tripped a number of times, and here I did 2 near-misses so close, that was the only indication of somewhat being on a tired side, but I still didn't "feel" it. My pace slipped into mid-10's. and that's exactly where it should have been - in fact, considering what I was running and when, every mile that biped I couldn't believe my eyes. All I needed was to focus and not fall. Miles were moving past so quickly, I felt the day just started...

I ran into the car in 4:37, for a negative split and a 50 min PR (the extra 2 min I usually simply never timed through the parking lot, it was 4:35 at the exit off the trail). And - I felt great! I never bonked! 10:30 average pace, holy cow! Larry was surprised and thrilled to see me so early - and to share his own 4 hr adventure of awesome running and no bonk either! Each of us had new fueling plan - instead of taking 100 calories every 20 minutes (for 300/hr total), we somehow without talking to each other decided both to take every 30 min (well, I was going every 3 miles, what for the first 9 miles was a touch more, but overall, same). I alternated 1/2 of Larabar (fully Paleo compliant) and 1 Vi gels (per recommendation of Kami Semick who went grain-free some months ago and found these work best/agree best). I also ran with a bladder in my pack - all my last 3 long runs this year were with the bladder, which I haven't used since 2004, the year I finished Umstead and discovered bottles. It worked awesome! At first, the idea behind running with bottles rather than bladder was that I needed to see and control how much to drink (I tend to not drink at all and need force). By now my running thirst sense got perfected, and it was just fine - and I enjoyed free hands. I do hate refilling bladder during a race (for myself or others when volunteer), so I plan to run with a bladder until it empties, and then pick up a bottle in a drop bag and switch drinking. (speaking for "normal" drinking for me, Sunday I drank all of 1 glass of water, half of it during my 4:30 pm class of hot yoga, and half after, 1 cup of coffee and 1 cup of tea. Russians are just not raised on this idea).

Anyway, that was on exciting morning, done by 11 am, and free full day ahead (which we used for some leisure and Les Misearbles).

Sunday - an easy road run 30 min (planned to go for an hour, but had pressing stuff and didn't time wisely). Was somewhat not peppy, but not sore either. Later took Bikram yoga class.

That that was my training week.

Now, as for a day out of my life, I thought yesterday was a great example - as I honestly wasn't sure how I can squeeze it all, but I did.

Wake up, coffee, run. Breakfast, computer, at local trailhead by 9 am for a trail work. Lots of HCTR members showed up! Cleared water bars and walked about 3 miles in a process with a "digging tool", lasted till 11:45 am. Straight to grocery shopping, where I spent 1.5 hrs total (being mindful is more fun than rushing through). Eat lunch, pre-cooked some meals, computer (FB) easy time and a bit of knitting. House cleaning with Larry - it was rather bad by now, I think it's been a month. He vacuumed, I did the floors and dusting and counters and stove. Threw in a laundry load. Worked on running clients' schedules, sent them out. Ran out to drive and take Bikram class. Came home 2:15 later - made dinner, we ate, dishes (I hand-wash). Peeled and separated those pre-cooked meals, marinated chicken for 2 meals. Gave Larry a massage (he deserved one!). A few minutes on FB. Went to pick up my son from work (9 pm). Folded laundry. Watched 30 min of Grammy. Bedtime 10:20 pm.

Phew! I made it to another week! Mile repeats tomorrow, 13 miles on Thursday with first hal on hills and second tempo (kind of a combo), 5k race on Saturday and a "staple pre-race" trail loop Sunday!

p.s. I went for Dexascan, one that measures your body structure. My bone density is off the chart high (as it was 5 years ago), and my fat percentage is lower by 2% than in June of 2008, when a bunch of us did it before Bighorn. I was pleased then - I guess I should be happy now. I am. Getting older is not always getting unfit:)
Paleo work (photo taken October 1st before 1st round, then getting back to bad shape, second photo from 1.5 months of Paleo round 2).

"Professional" work for body figure comp back in summer 2011, also 3 months of work.

Now, it doesn't mean my race goes perfect (in fact, something always goes wrong there). But it doe mean whatever is that we're doing with our eating, and our training, is working, and giving up is not an option quite yet. Keep it up, my friends. We've got a long and fulfilling life to live.

p.p.s. case to point about workouts: Devon's article.



Danni said...

Seems you really have stuff dialed in! That's awesome.

Olga King said...

I wouldn't go as far as calling it "dialing in"...but there is hope. :) There were numerous times I thought I had it made! And yet ultrarunning is exactly the thing we never figure out, so we keep on going...

Carilyn said...

Great post, Olga! Really find the paleo stuff interesting and glad to see your experience with Whole30/paleo is paying off for you. I tend to do a lot of protein simply because I tend to be a little hypoglycemic and too much sugar makes me feel horrible, especially when I race. Sounds like you had a solid week - great job! As always, I'm inspired by you!

Sarah said...

I'm really enjoying reading all about your current successes! Seeing your schedule makes me feel like a slacker. I'm lazy in comparison but nice to see that you aren't also cleaning your house every day. :-)

Funny how most runners I know are either going vegan or paleo. I'm a little of both - cutting way back on dairy and wheat plus a lot let sugars/processed food - and feeling better for it!

Olga King said...

Sarah, I completely agree that it is funny how runners go either vegan or Paleo and it seems opposite, but if you really think about it - it's not. The only thing that changes is the source of protein. Both ideas have a base of cooking from scratch and not eating junk food. I am fine with vegan, my GI just can't stand anything bean-related, so I'd be doomed. I actually contemplated to become frutarian, I know a handful (not one) who did and runs awesome, but it may not work when you cook for a family! :)
And no, we don't clean the house every day, but it's always de-cluttered and organized, and the dishes done and kitchen is looking ok. It's the floors and carpets that take the beating of being last on the list of clean-up...

Sarah said...

Same here...I can't stand dishes not done and we don't have a dishwasher so I do a lot of dishes. Thankfully Marc is the same way about the dishes, kitchen counter, etc....but unfortunately not the clutter (he's a pack rat). So that makes the deep clean painful. He makes up for it by doing most of the cooking. And since he's a health nut and constantly researching he cooks really healthy food - and good tasting too. He's the one that got me off the dairy.

I eat a ton of fruit...just had that thought yesterday that I could probably be happy as a fruitarian. But yes, not practical.

Olga King said...

There is one thing I can't stand and find in all 3 rooms occupied by my male - clothes on the floor. I keep scooping it on the bed. Hate stuff on the floor. And sigh, I cook mostly because I come home earlier and because I do it faster. But Larry grills awesome (I don't even know how to ignite that thing) - and he does it every Wednesday (my Bikram night) and every other weekend (at least). That helps a lot. And it tastes good, and is healthy:)
Tell Marc next visit I am coming over and looking into his closets! :)

Sarah said...

I wish it were confined to just the closets! Mostly gear, weights, books, etc. strewn around the house. I guess there are worse things... :-)

TonyP said...

I loved reading your training week summary! So cool and you seem to be rolling along so well!!!

Anonymous said...

just like tetris! way to get all the pieces in, olga! and yes... i'll be trying vi (kami's rec as well) for my first time in a race setting this weekend... i've been enjoying it with training... and anyone who races near me or crews me knows i've barfed my way through mannnnnny races (or after) so i'm looking fwd to something a bit easier on the GI system. will be interesting to see how it plays out in longer races, etc... given that I usually need some solid calories, too... :)
kristin z (or)

Olga King said...

Tony, Master of 5,000 mile runs!!! You're still out there!!!

Anonymous said...

wow, you keep very busy! Do you find that the hot yoga wears you out? When I was doing Ashtanga I felt like sometimes all that sweating, plus my running was wearing me out. Nice job on your run, although the pictures scare me away from that trail!

Olga King said...

I love my hot yoga, and no, it doesn't wear me out, it invigorates me. But then again, I've been doing this yoga for 13 years...hard to say. My husband gets dehydrated and tired after a class (although in some ways renewed as well).

Thomas Bussiere said...

There you are...welcome back, you had me worried for a minute. Training looks great and smart, and you are sounding stronger then ever. Love those long runs when it all comes together and exceed expectations. Really put a genuine smile on the inside and out. Those are some tech looking trails - Ankle killers.

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