Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week(s) In Review

2/21 through 2/27:
35 miles
6 runs
1 day off
0 soft surface runs
4 days in Chicago

2/14 through 2/20:
60 miles
8 runs
0 days off
3 soft surface runs
3 days in ATL

So, what have I been doing in the weeks since the marathon? As you can see, not a whole lot of running.

Actually, that's not entirely true. The week immediately following the race I covered a fairly ambitious 60 miles, which initially might seem a bit too high but in reality was one of the most enjoyable weeks of running I've experienced in quite some time. Don't misunderstand me: the first two days after the race were rough. My calves were tight as clenched fists after enduring 26 miles in racing flats, and my first two runs post-marathon probably averaged nine minute pace. That said, the rest of my body felt surprisingly fresh and not nearly as beaten down as I'd anticipated. It also helped that I took advantage of the opportunity to run with friends who were willing to both meet me at soft surface locations and accomodate my recovery pace, so that by Friday I was feeling more or less normal. I even logged a 95-minute long run along the trails of the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta on Sunday and felt that I could've easily run farther, but ultimately I decided to call it a day before Jordan and Jennie and Leo ate all the muffin tops that we'd snagged at Whole Foods the night before.

After a 60 mile week immediately following the marathon, I was faced with a decision. Should I back off and take a true down week (including--gasp--a day off??) or should I jump right back into normal mileage? After all, my body felt fine. And my motivation, buoyed by the excitement of my Trials qualifier and my eagerness to embrace a spring track season, was higher than ever. The temptation to return to business as usual was almost irresistable. Fortunately, I chose to heed advice from Jordan and Leo and instead took another week of almost total rest. It helped that I would be spending the majority of the week in cold, blustery, slushy Chicago, which would ensure that I was mostly too busy and too sensible to brave the elements. Whenever I felt myself getting antsy, I reminded myself that, barring injury, this would be by far my lowest mileage week until after next January's Olympic Trials. I might as well enjoy it.

As I'm typing this on Sunday afternoon, I am ecstatic to report that I feel fresh and well-rested and 100% healthy, with no aches or pains and no burgeoning illnesses despite being surrounded by sick people for most of the week. (At this point, allow me to issue a hearty "knock on wood" in the direction of the previous statement.) Tomorrow will be the first day of my return to "normal" training, which will include a week of moderately high mileage and a half marathon race in Miami Beach on Sunday. Since I will already be there to work the event, the race will double as my first workout and first long run since the marathon, and should serve as a reliable gauge of both my fitness and my marathon recovery. If all goes well, I will move straight into some speedier training with my eye set on qualifying for outdoor track nationals in the 10k. I'll need to improve at least 45 seconds on my PR from last year, but with marathon strength under my legs and several months to train I believe it is possible.

But enough talk. It's almost time to get back to work! In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy this gorgeous early spring afternoon and the remaining hours of my down week. See you on the roads and trails again soon.


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