Thursday, May 28, 2015

Speed Training. Hopefully the last of weird health. New commutes.

I'm typing this in the dark while M gets some sleep.  I'm using an app called Flux to dim the screen and prevent blue light from disrupting my circadian rhythm.  I realized about an hour ago that a certain someone had not sent me something they had promised earlier this month, and it leaves me angry, anxious, and frustrated.  It is actually all going to be OK.  But right now, I'm pretty upset that a simple task didn't get done.

Meanwhile...  In preparation for this half-marathon, I decided I wanted to shoot for a speed goal... 9:15 minute miles or better.  This is about what I can hold on a very good day for a 5K.  So I'd have some serious training to do.

Part of it is that, frankly, I slowed WAY down while struggling with e.Coli.  At my best, before Leadman, I was holding easy low 8 minute miles, with a few 7:40somethings thrown in during a hard effort.  I think I can regain that.

So I've started doing a speed work program.  Bascially, I grabbed the old Couch to 5K app... and quickly realized that weeks 1-3 were boring as hell.  So I skipped to week 4, and eliminated the walking in favor of a jog.  So it's jog and run instead of walk and jog.  We shall see.  Mostly, I need to reestablish both a habit of training and a slow-fast pattern.

I'd been chugging away at one speed for so long that I've forgotten how to do the old speed work.  I miss my "garbage runs", when I used to sprint garbage can to garbage can for intervals, and my old hill workouts, which were "run up the hill until you are about to die and then turn around and jog down until you catch your breath, then run up the hill again".  It was tough, but I had the size 8 butt and quads of steel that proved that I was a pretty damn good middle-of-the-pack-works-more-than-she-works-out-and-is-friends-with-a-chef athlete.

Aspirations, right?

Anyway, weird health.  Ultimately, I wonder if someday I will look back on the whole e.Coli episode and be thankful it happened.  I ended up with a really good doctor who understands my body.  It seems that- even after everything else is back to normal- my thyroid is just barely symptomatic as a misbehaving body part.  While I don't blame my thyroid for all my ills, I won't deny that since adding a tiny dose of medicine to my morning, my anxiety has plummeted, my energy has rebounded, and my joint pain has been melting away.  (Also melting... some poundage.  And occasionally, me.  I'm actually experiencing sweating these days, as if I were a person with a metabolism.)

From what I read, sometimes after a major illness, a person's endocrine system can get messed up and need some support to recover.  Some people need that support for the rest of their lives.  Some people only need that support for a short time.  But I think the e.Coli either accelerated or unveiled a problem that could have lived in the shadows for a long time.  So perhaps I should be grateful that this one big illness might have shown light on a problem that could have very negatively affected me over the course of the next decade of my life.

Finally, new commutes.  I started my new job at a new parish, and it is 2.6 miles away.  So this month has been all about trying the various ways to get to work.  Ideally, it is inexpensive, saves the planet, and preserves my sanity.  (And is fairly reliable... meaning that if I walk out the door at 8:15 on a Monday and get to work by 9, I want that to happen on Tuesday and Wednesday as well!)   Ironically, driving my personal vehicle might be the cheapest solution on the surface.  But it means isolating myself in a tin can and driving through some pretty clogged traffic and dealing with a series of forbidden left turns, which is tremendously frustrating.  And I swear, a lot.  Way more than a priest ought to.  Metro is OK, but not my ideal.  In the last month, I was on an escalator when it broke down in Bethesda.  I found out later that they closed the station due to over crowding after that, so if I had been 10 minutes later, I'd have been toast.  I also was lucky to miss the station fire.  It seems the bus might be the most relaxing route.

Luckily (ha ha) I also won an auction that included an adorable satchel and a year long membership to Capital Bikeshare.  So Bikesharing is now mine.  I'm actually really excited to try that.  There are stations everywhere near me, and near work. I'm thinking I might take the bus to Friendship Heights (past the worst of the Wisconsin traffic), snag a bike there, and ride the remaining mile to the nearest station across the street from my job.  Since trips of 30 minutes and under are free, my only cost will be for the bus.  And thus I get to keep my personal vehicle off the road, get outside and breathe (polluted humid city) fresh air, and get some exercise while commuting.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Half Marathon- Goal Set!

I signed up for the Hartford Half Marathon in October!

You might remember I had a goal of completing a half marathon this year.  Well, here I go.  Goal set.

I know I can do 13.1, as I've already done it in an Ironman.  I want to be able to do the entire half at a strong pace and finish well.  I'm shooting for a 9:15 pace.  Yes, it's "slow" for me, the fastest I've ever held a 10K was an 8:45, so this will be a good goal.

I have a training plan I like, so I will start following that.  And yes, I have already put an app on both my iPad and on my phone that are counting down the days.

My friend K the Powerful Blonde will be pacing me.  She's become quite the badass runner, and is doing the Marine Corp Marathon, and this race falls on a day in her taper when she should be doing a 13 mile run.  Boom.  My goal pace is her take it easy pace- perfect!  My sister is also doing the MCM, so she may run as well.  But her pace is way faster than mine.

For extra bonus points, it's also my cousin's wedding weekend, so we opted to take the train to avoid any holiday nonsense on the roads.  We get that Monday off for Columbus Day (the worst federal holiday due to the guy being honored, but hey, I'll take the day off for what it's worth).  So running that half means I get to eat all the wedding food.  And we're a Portuguese family, so you know there'll be great food.

Now that my health seems to be pretty stable, I'm looking forward to a good year of training... the first consistently good year since the year I did Leadman.  (Which was the year before I got e.Coli and all the stuff hit the fan.)

I am still going to be swimming and biking.  Because I like to, and because they are free since I have all the gear.

I do need to replace my shoes (I'll be sticking with On because I like them), and probably invest in some more socks, and possibly a pair of running shorts or two.  I only have one skort right now, so I really do need some more shorts so I can rotate stuff faster.