Sunday, April 21, 2013

Catch Up

A lot of blog-worthy material has fallen between the cracks in the last few weeks, as our attention was focused on Boston, and before that my attention was devoted to reading the many, many contributions to our roast of blog product-placement.  I spent the evening time that I would normally devote to tossing up a blog post to reading and replying to all of your contributions, which in turn made me realize how HARD it must be to blog full time.  Not.

Also, there were many, many words in defense of having a running coach.  It sounds like it is purely a personality thing.  Some personalities love or need that extra push.  For others, the joy of running is lost when you are following orders.

Ever since my dreadful Oakland half marathon performance, I have listened to my coach (me) and got my bad self on the treadmill for various workouts, all of which I really enjoyed, all of which I feel do help me as a runner.

I know there is a lot of debate about the laziness of choosing the treadmill over the open roads.  I would say 24 out of 25 of my runs are normally outside, the remaining one on the treadmill, and usually because of rain or darkness.

However, right now I have been choosing the treadmill once or twice a week, despite the gorgeous California weather, because my coach (...still me) is kind of a pushover, and lets me compromise between my desires to work hard and my desires to "check out" mentally when I am running.  The treadmill lets me work hard and check out.  6:30 pace? Sure, plug that pace it, turn brain off, go.

The famous "is the treadmill easier or harder debate."  Whatever the answer, which for me is often that the treadmill feels harder just because of the freaking hot sweaty smelly factor of the gym (and the headache I get from staring at the news), I always set the treadmill to a 1.0% incline to supposedly level the playing field a little bit.

The following were all done at 1.0% incline, in 60 minutes on the treadmill, in this chronological order, over the last three weeks, all but the last two workouts made up on the fly for the most part.

*(I know I'm about to lose many of you here who do not care about the technicalities of a running workout, or who don't care for treadmills, but many of these would easily translate to the road or track.  Meet you on the other side to those of you who don't care)*

Workout # 1:

Start at 7.0 mph
Bump up 0.1 mph every minute
at 30 minutes (10 mph, or 6:00 minute pace), start bumping down 0.1 mph every minute.

This workout did not go as planned.
I got to the 30th minute, ran my 10.0 mph minute, and then had to take a break.  I finished the remaining 30 minutes by hanging around an 8.8-9.0 mph pace.

Workout # 2

Start at 7.5 mph
Bump up by 0.1 mph every two minutes.
at 40 minutes, (9.5 mph, or 6:18 minute pace), start bumping down by 0.1 every 2-3 minutes.

Workout # 3:

One mile warm up.
6 mile repeats at 9.5 mph (6:18 minute pace) with a quarter mile recovery (7.0 mph) in between each.

This worked for the first 3 repeats; then I started taking a half mile recovery in between each.  Like I said, my coach is a pushover.

Workout # 4: 

Ten 800m repeats
quarter mile recovery in between each
at 2:59 each (10.1 mph speed mixed with 10.0 mph speed).

This worked out fine (for each repeat I started at 10.1 mph (5:56 pace), then after 2 minutes of grunting I would bump it down to 10.0 mph (6:00 pace) and figured that made for a 2:59 repeat).  After the first 6 or 7 repeats, I started giving myself a longer recovery (0.30-0.40 mile recovery).

Workout # 5:

A lactate threshold wave tempo workout that I learned by following a coach's Facebook tips.

5 mile tempo where each mile is divided in half by 9.1 mph (6:35 pace) for the first half mile, 9.8 mph (6:07 pace) for the second half mile.  I picked these paces based on a 6:20ish "threshold" pace.

This went well, except I did have to stretch out my leg-lock issue a couple times, but at least waited until the 6:35 pace portion to do that and tried to keep the stretch to 10 seconds.  Finished the hour at 8.8 to 9.2 mph paces.

Workout # 6

Full hour aerobic wave tempo workout, also found by the Facebook coach.
Hour tempo run alternating one mile at 8.5 mph (7:03 pace) with the next mile at 9.3 mph (6:27 pace).

This one also went well, except for some leg-lock stretching.

Leg-lock: I could use your help.

I've often associated this feeling with the buttcrease pain, but lately, I haven't really had buttcrease pain at all.  Just the leg-lock.  While trying to really pay attention to the source of the locking sensation (it is very hard to even recall the pain/sensation when it is not happening, making it hard for physical therapists to help me out), I have noted that it now feels like the locking happens around my knee.  The outer knee, inner knee, upper knee--like the whole thing kind of seizes up, and that sensation sometimes spasms down to my calf, making my calf cramp.

Any similar experiences? Cures? Your advice will be useful in the meantime, before I visit a new PT.  I've been trying to meet her but she is in San Francisco, which basically requires I miss a half-day of work to make an appointment (my office is 45 minutes away).  It's not easy to do that.

**Other Stuff That Happened** 

Oakland Runners for Boston

Thursday evening I ran 3 miles to our local See Jane Run running store with the Gentleman, because that was the headquarters for a 3 mile run in honor of the victims of the Boston bombings and in support of Boston.  The lovely and always amazing Oakland police came out to escort us as we took over College ave, and the long trail of runners (I would guess about 300 runners?) got solid attention which was a nice visual reminder to Oakland residents and to myself that runners are indeed so crazy that running is the least they can do to show their support for people hundreds of miles away.

6.6 miles total with this stud, which is the most I have ever seen him do!

Beth was also there, and we ended with a candlelit moment of silence in Snow Park. It was great to see so many local runners for the impromptu event, and thank you to See Jane Run for organizing!

In other news, Oakland has been both beautiful:

Lake Merritt's Dr. Suess pink cottonball trees

Let's get a closer look

Just napping in the park.  But since it is still Oakland...clutching my iphone while I sleep...

And hipster weird to a ridiculous degree:

Drive-by photo of a literal circus in my neighborhood.  Tightrope walking (rope tied between trees) is a daily staple in my neighborhood.  And now, juggling.  Strange.

I've spent some time with family in Napa, dancing and running as always with lil Gemma.

She takes after me, always topless (ahem, when I was that age)

While digging through one of my old jewelry boxes at my parents' home, we found a pile of fake tattoos.  I was really into the whole fake butterfly tattoo on my midriff with the low-slung jeans look in high school.  We went to town with them (and for some reason, there were many that were not butterfly-esque).

Mine--Justin Timberlake circa 1999, with sparkles

The Gentleman went with a ninja turtle on one arm (flexing, nice touch)

Aaaaannnd...Nelly on the other arm.  Definitely hot in herrr

This past weekend included a hot city hike through Alameda, that unintentionally involved falling for a lot of cold, liquid sugar.  I stopped first for a jamba juice smoothie; then a beer; then a push-pop; then a foster-freeze dipped cone.  A little different than our normal GORP hiking food.

In a desolate docking area for retired navy ships.

At the prettiest little front yard of Alameda.  Yeeeeah, I hiked in a dress.

mid-hike pit-stop

Sufficiently caught up. 


  1. My next goal is put away my fear of flying off the treadmill...we will see. As someone who knows barely anything about running workouts, I'm really glad you posted these actually. It's hard for me any way to not turn any treadmill run into a progressive so I think it's easiest to do them there. I don't mind the treadmill either...I hate running in the dark.

    I'm insanely jealous of your weather by the way. Glad you got a nice hike in and looked cute.

  2. I always do my speed training on the treadmill. If I did them outdoors they would never get done! I try to do one day of speed on the treadmill and two outdoor runs each week (supplemented with weight training on other days).

    Also, I love your sunglasses. I have them too and always feel way hip in them. Of course since I think that I'm totally not, but whatever! :)

  3. Treadmill to me is far harder than outside - in fact, I never run on the treadmill. I give up less than a mile in. My coach is a pushover too, it appears ;-)
    If I ever do get brave enough to get on the treadmill, maybe if I'm traveling and my hotel is in a dismal area, I will keep your workouts in mind; a planned workout at least takes the repetitive boredom out of the picture.
    The New Orleans area is doing the run for Boston today, and I believe we are collecting donations as well, but I am not sure for which fund! I suppose I should find that out. I will be going even though I can't run right now; I suppose my coach will also let me walk 2.62 miles!

  4. I have no time to run outside on the weekdays any more, so I run on the treadmill at lunch. I definitely think it's made me faster. I had what should have been a 12 minute half mary PR this weekend (course was short. DAMN IT).

    I'd still rather run outside.

  5. The hotness and increased sweating is definitely why I think the treadmill is harder. But it is nice to have the correct pace forced on you. For the mile/800 m repeats I think it’s okay to take a little extra time between intervals, if that is what it takes to hit the goal pace. I would rather complete the repeats as planned than have to really struggle through the last ones.
    JT & Nelly still get heavy play on my ipod. So much of their stuff makes great running songs!

  6. Love all the pictures! And are those sunglasses Target? I have some just like them from there except black... Miss you!!

  7. The open road is great but a treadmill will always have its place. I live in Seattle where it rains pretty much everyday and if it doesn't rain, the pavement is almost always wet. Running in the rain really makes the running exciting but it also increases the chance of injury. I slipped and sprained an ankle while doing this and now the treadmill is becoming my best friend.

    I went to whatisrightforme and got this as a result:

    Do you have any experiences with the Rebook or Proform?

    The teenage mutant ninja turtle is definitely a nice touch. Does the sword move around when he's flexing? lol

  8. I think running on the treadmill is easier, but I work on a lot harder on it. Outside, I start to enjoy the scenery and slow down.

  9. I do most of my runs on the treadmill, partly because I'm not that into being outside and partly because I have terrible depth perception (and the broken bones to prove it), so dodging wheeled and pedestrian traffic in busy NYC is terrifying.

    One thing that frustrates me, though, about a treadmill is that pace changes (at least on the machines in my apartment building) have to be gradual. That makes it harder to short intervals (less than a minute). I run-walk, and I'd like to do a pace such as run 5/walk 0:30, but shifting speed on the treadmill makes that difficult.

    The only bit of advice I can offer on the leglock issue is that my recent experience with assorted running injuries seems to suggest that relaxing (sometimes by stretching, sometimes by massage) the muscles near (or in opposition) to the part of you that is hurting often seems to help. For example, relaxing the upper calf seems to help the tendon. Relaxing the muscles in the lower part of my hamstring seems to help with the pain at the insertion point closer to the butt crease, etc. So maybe you should be looking for tension/tightness above and below the knee - IT band maybe. I've also been getting more relief from a really good sports massage than I got from the chiro.

  10. awesome on taking over College Ave on that run, that is great. At Coachella I saw Dropkick Murphys, they referenced the bomings a couple times, the crowd went wild for them, I think in some part due to the circumstances. I'll have more about it in my next post.

    lol on that literal circus! And and clutching your phone while you sleep haha. Nice to see some actual pretty pictures of Oakland, seems like all I think about when I think of Oakland is shootings and crime.

  11. I think the leg-lock issue is still a problem with the hamstring. I am not a medical professional by any means, but I struggle with one super tight hamstring. In my mind, when the hamstring is tight it tugs at the attachments either in the "butt-crease" (top attachment) or back of the knee (bottom attachment) spreading into the calf. I feel pain in either or both of these places depending on the day. My advice would be to stretch it diligently and consistently but not too aggressively (you can't fix it overnight!). Maybe try some sort of strengthening once or twice a week - just a few squats, one-legged squats, reverse planks, etc could make a difference.

  12. Nice workouts! I go back and forth on the treadmill deal. I guess I know deep down that I need to be outside when I can but I do go through waves when I get the most out of the TM.

    I just went back and read some of your race recaps. I can relate to your last HM. The last one I ran measured way long too (although yours definitely topped mine) and that is one of my racing pet peeves. I can take a little extra tangent time but there is no call for it to be THAT long!

  13. Screw gels I say; fueling with smoothies & popsicles sounds a lot more tasty.

    When I run on the treadmill I do it for convenience & the check-out factor as well, but I often find those runs to be the hardest ones I do, even at an "easy" pace. Suddenly 6 miles feels like 20.

    I do not have a coach but I've found I have benefited from handing the training planning-writing over to someone else who knows what they're doing (because I definitely don't). If I had lots of time to just run whatever I wanted & figure it out by trial & error, that would be one thing, but as things are I feel like I really want to optimize every minute I put into running & not be guessing about what will make me better. So for me, doing that is kind of a stress-saver -- I get the most running joy when I don't have to think about that part. I think you're right that this is a personality thing that is different for everyone.

  14. I hate the treadmill, but will often do a quick (30 min) lunch time run the same as you with the changing of the speed every certain amount of time. I usually hike it up .5 every 5 minutes, which equates to the same in the end! I never get up to 10 though, usually only 9. I like your Alameda "hike" with beers and Popsicles along the way! That's my kind of hike!


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