Well folks, I survived my first week at altitude. There was a little bit of everything too…good running, bad running, swimming, spinning. In retrospect, it’s all kind of blurring together, and I’m actually a little surprised I was able to get it in. Not a humble-brag, but in hindsight I was super thrown off all week (an hour time change + daylight savings + moving + so many life changes), and it’s really no wonder I felt so tired and not myself all week. Not to mention the fact that we were up super late every night due to various unpacking and social reasons. I credit the fact that Boston is starting to nip at my heels pretty rapidly for my continued training, however not pretty it may have been.
Here’s a look:
I really wanted to do something on Monday after several days of moving madness and general blerchness, but I had zero energy whatsoever.
Tuesday: 2 mile swim
First trip to our new gym! It’s infinitely better than our old gym, although the pool is only three lanes. Also, as far as I can tell so far, people are way fitter here than they are in Seattle, and it’s both inspiring and intimidating. Case in point: I arrived at the gym at 5:15 am for my swim, and not only was it packed – people had obviously been there for a while.
Wednesday: 7.7 miles
This run. My energy and lungs and legs all felt so much better than they did on Sunday’s first at-altitude run, however I’m pretty sure it’s because I was so distracted by how terribly cold it was. It was 18 degrees, with a 13 degree real-feel, and I thought I had dressed appropriately. So, so wrong. I was frigid the entire time, and cursing myself for forgetting just what those temperatures can feel like. Such a rookie mistake. I tend to silently mock people for overdressing, however my under-dressing this time around bit me right in the frozen butt. So much respect for those of you who have been battling colder temperatures than this all winter.
Thursday: 6 miles
I had such good intentions of going to a BodyPump class and sandwiching it with some miles. However, my aforementioned fatigue took over, and my bed won the morning battle. Instead, I went for a 6 mile run at lunchtime in the sun. Did I mention the sun here? It’s…wondrous.
Friday: spin + stair-stepper + core
I’m always intimidated to go to a new spin class. There’s always the (strong) possibility that it will be harder than expected, and I don’t like not knowing one way or the other. It makes it hard to mentally prepare. Nevertheless, while the class was indeed tough, it was do-able and a really good class in fact. Despite my general lethargy, I did enjoy it and the instructor was good too. High fives 24-Hour Fitness.
Saturday: 4 miles + 5k race
Surprise, I ran a 5k this weekend. It was just a fun run with my family, which is really the only reason I agreed to do it. I’m too out of shape to race anything right now, and as we all know…I have a hard time not gutting it out if the opportunity is there. However, running a St. Patty’s 5k alongside family members sounded perfectly fun, so that’s what we did. The best part of the day (and actually of the week) was when I was instructed to “take off” during the last quarter mile or so of the 5k and finished with a 6:20 pace. It may have been short lived, but it lit me on fire for the rest of the day. After Boston, it’s time to rekindle that dormant speed.
Sunday: 16 miles
That’s a lie. I thought my long run was 16 miles (I had mapped it out so accurately!) but after re-mapping this morning (OCD much?) I discovered it was actually 15.86 miles. It’s a cutback week so it doesn’t really matter, but it irks my round-number-loving brain. And completely unsurprisingly, this was probably the worst I’ve felt on a long run this training cycle. Sure, altitude and fatigue were a factor, but I also need to stop being such a huge a-hole about nutrition and hydration. There is no excuse to not be hydrated, and not only did I go into the run completely dehydrated – I spent the majority of last week skimping on my water consumption. So lame, so needs to change the week. Also, no more Thai food the night before long runs. I’ve learned this before, and apparently forgot that lesson. Fool me twice, shame on me. I felt decent up until mile 10 or so, but then I just kind of imploded with fatigue and dehydration. Scarily, mile 15 felt like mile 23 of a marathon, which is not encouraging. Oh well. Live and learn (and let’s hope acclimation speeds up).
I spent the rest of Sunday on my feet (at Ikea nonetheless) and completing a variety of moving/unpacking tasks. By the time I hit the pillow at 11:30 last night, I was toasted. However, I think the extra time of my feet helped my legs recover from that dreadful long run, as they’re feeling just fine this morning.
Total= 36.6 miles
For a cutback week, I’d call this pretty successful. As stated at the beginning, I’m really starting to feel the pressure of Boston, which is coming up frighteningly fast. I’m a little in-my-head right now regarding preparedness and (admittedly) speed.
All along I’ve declared this training session to be about just getting to the start line and enjoying the race, which is still true. However, I really can’t help but get frustrated about how slowly my speed is returning (or not returning). It’s actually less about the race than it is about running in general. My average pace right now is slower than the pace I did for easy recovery runs 6 months ago, and I’m having a really hard time pushing beyond it. I know these things take time, however it has never taken me this long to regain fitness post-injury. I need to let it go a little, but it’s hard to not play the comparison game.
Nevertheless, this will almost definitely be my slowest marathon, and I need to be okay with that. As much as I like the progression of each marathon I’ve run being faster than the one before, I have to accept that this race isn’t going to be about the clock. And that’s okay. This mental preparation is all a part of the training.
And for the record…I am not sandbagging in any way whatsoever. I might do a little better than expected, but I’m truly preparing for a much slower marathon than I’ve run before.
Ultimately though, I’m just happy to be running. Every day I get to run I’m thankful for a working body, and while it might not be apparent amid my altitude and long-run whining, I am grateful for every day I get to run.
This week is 1 of 2 peak weeks, and I’m hoping for more of a positive attitude. Also, I should probably consider lifting a weight.
Have a great week everyone!
Did you get your bib number and Wave/Corral? 5 weeks! Great job on the runs. Enjoy Boston. Please let me know if you want any recommendations.
You are such a badass. Seriously, stop being an a-hole about hydration. Do it. It makes your life WAY better! Aren’t you supposed to drink more water at altitude anyways? Not that I’m speedy, but when I was training for my ultra, I would spend the day before making sure I downed 2-3 bottles of Nuun. Finally, just have some fun! 🙂
I thought it would be nice for you to be back to the sun! I really think that the altitude adjustment seems to happen relatively quickly, in my opinion!