Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sweet, sweet summer... oh, and a race

Most teachers live for summer. I am definitely one of them!  Things I love about summer include: no rushing around getting my kids places (well, even though they all have activities, I don't have to rush to get dinner fixed after work), no grading or lesson planning, no getting dressed if the kid and I don't feel like it, no making sure kids are bathed before school the next day, no stressing about getting everyone to bed on time, no stress for the kids to get homework assignments done... and, of course, with the lack of all of these things, there is finally time to do what I want--all of the workouts!  I love being able to have more than enough time in the mornings to get my swims/bikes/runs done.  Usually during the school year, I have to start no later than 5 AM to finish up even a short 5 mile run.  There's never the chance to swim, as the rec center isn't even open until 6 AM.  If I want to run longer, I have to get up even earlier.  I really do hate setting my alarm clock in the 4's, but that's how I have to do it when school is in session.

Summer, though... it's when I get to sleep in until 5:00, or 5:30, or even 6:00, and still get a great workout in!  This schedule is perfect for triathlon training, as I'm able to get long bike rides or bricks finished before I have to be home by 7:45 to get my daughter up for swim team practice.  Here are how my weeks have been shaping up:

Mondays: long walk (4 miles), which now has morphed into run/walk intervals
Tuesdays: was a sunrise yoga class... now is bike (or swim/bike brick this week)
Wednesdays: short walk, which now has morphed into run/walk intervals (this week with a short bike beforehand)
Thursdays: shorter swim/bike brick with Heather (and anyone else who joins us that week) at Alum (.75 mile swim/12 mile bike)
Fridays: was a rest day, now is run/walk intervals
Saturdays: longer swim/bike brick (more like 1.5 mile swim/30-40 mile bike)
Sundays: rest day

Obviously there is flexibility.  This week, for example, Saturday is my rest day.  That's because Sunday is a race.  Yep, a triathlon.  I'll get back to that in a bit, though.

The question my followers are probably asking is, HOW IS RUNNING?  So I started on June 23 using the plan that I mentioned previously.  I had already finished Phase 1, which involved being able to walk fast pain-free.  I attempted Phase 2, the plyometric (jumping/hopping) phase on June 20 and was able to complete it, so after being released from Dr. Dick on June 22, I began Phase 3.  This phase has five stages to it:
Stage 1: 5 min walk/1 min jog x 6 for 30 minutes

Stage 2: 4 min walk/2 min jog x 6 for 30 minutes
Stage 3: 3 min walk/3 min jog x 6 for 30 minutes
Stage 4: 2 min walk/4 min jog x 6 for 30 minutes

Stage 5: jog every other day with a goal of reaching 30 minutes (starting each run with a 5 min walk, gradually increasing the pace)

Over the past 2 weeks I have progressed through the first 4 stages. I did stage 1 twice, stage 2 once, stage 3 twice, and I've done stage 4 once so far.  I will do it again on Friday.  The program really doesn't say much about repeating stages.  My friend Tamara said that she'd repeat each one as needed, based on how I felt.  So if I had any discomfort at all either during the run itself or later on in the day (or even the next day), I would repeat the phase.  By "discomfort", I am not talking about pain.  Rather, just the feeling of muscles being used again, enough that I could feel "something".  Dr. Dick said to expect this, so I am working on listening to my body, not freaking out over minor discomfort, and taking things nice and slow.  I've found that if I keep my jog at around a 9:30-9:45 min/mile, I feel better than if I push it to 9:00-9:15 min/mile, so that is something else I've been working on.

I'm not sure how long stage 5 will take me. I plan on starting it next week, barring any unforeseen circumstances.  I think I will throw in walking periodically, continuing to work on building my muscles back up again.  Phase 4 is an actual running schedule (running every other day), with the first two weeks being 30-35 minute runs, moving up by week 12 to 45 minute runs.  I love the very gradual progression of this plan.  It's pointedly, almost painfully slow, and that's exactly what I think I need right now. 

So... now you're all probably wondering exactly why I'm racing in a few days, if I'm taking this whole recovery thing so sloooowly.  I actually transferred my bib for this race (Mingoman) a month ago, as I'd registered for it back in November during a sale.  Then, a few days later, I learned that there was a sprint distance (not just the Olympic distance I'd registered for).  A sprint tri finishes with a 5K run (3.1 miles).  Last month, I knew that I could walk 3.1 miles; I was doing it a few times a week at that point.  I was feeling great on the swim and bike.  I spoke to my doctor and she had no problem with me signing up, under the condition that I would be either walking or walk/running the 5K at the end.  Not a problem!  So I had another friend's bib transferred to me and signed up for the sprint.  A typical sprint is around a half-mile swim, around 12-14 miles bike, and a 5K run.  This race is longer on the bike (22 miles), but the swim (0.45 miles) and run (5K) are normal.  I don't mind the longer bike ride since I rode 47 miles last weekend, and I know I can handle 22!

I have zip, zero, zilch goals for this race.  Yeah, right... I can't NOT have any goals.  I should be able to do the swim in about 14 minutes.  I should be able to do the bike in about 1 hour 20-25 minutes.  I did a 5K walk/run at stage 4 today in 35 minutes.  So, adding those times together gives me 2 hours 9-14 minutes, plus transitions. So.... C goal is to finish uninjured and happy.  B goal is 2 hours 20 minutes.  A goal is under 2 hours 15 minutes.  

My friends are concerned that I will push the run... that I won't do my intervals.  Oh they know me so well!  Yes, I am competitive.  Yes, it will be hard for me to watch people pass me on the run, which will definitely happen.  But my goals are bigger than this triathlon.  I am super excited to compete in it, and I will give it my best shot.  But I won't be doing anything more than my 4 min jog/2 min walk intervals.  Because that's where I am at right now, and it's a good place.  A very, very good place.  

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