This week marked another turning point in my fitness. All of a sudden – out of nowhere – I feel fast. I have an image in my mind of what a strong runner looks like when he or she runs (probably based on Adam), but I never thought I looked like that. Until this week.
Tuesday morning I went to Montebello with Adam to help him train for an upcoming triathlon. He wanted to bike 20k then make a quick transition to a 5k run, so I offered to run while he biked then grab the bike from him so he didn’t need to rack it on the car before starting his run. The weather was chilly – below 40 degrees – so I bundled up with running tights, Underarmour, a fleece, and gloves. I began my 5k and Adam took off on the bike. The coarse was flat, the weather was beautiful, and I was feeling good. After one lap (1.3 miles) I had warmed up enough to drop off my fleece and gloves at the car. During the second lap I “found my legs” and I felt like I was flying. It felt great. I finished the 5k in 26:54 which is a new PR for me (by over a minute!). The timing worked out perfectly, too, since Adam finished his bike only minutes later.
My heart rate data looked good, too. It shows that I wasn’t really pushing it for most of the workout. Below 170 is generally comfortable for me, and my max is close to 185 (which I didn’t see here). Overall, this run felt amazing.
Wednesday was another day at the gym with my standard lifting and abs workouts. I think the low weight and high number of reps has been a good fit for me so far: I’m building muscle without having to worry so much about injuring myself. Lifting has also been a nice counterpoint to my running – not only because it strengthens muscles that aren’t taxed much during running, but also because it gets me out of the house in the morning. I feel good when I work out, but if I tried to run five or six days a week I’d certainly burn out – mentally and physically.
Thursday morning I went for another 5k run, this time from the apartment on one of my usual routes. I never intend to go out hard on a run – I just go out and do what feels right. From the beginning of this run I felt strong, so I kept a fast pace. Again, I felt like I was flying. Unlike Tuesday’s run, this course had hills and most of the first half was uphill. It was also 73 degrees (ah Baltimore weather!). I had to stop at a couple lights and watch for cars on side streets (again, unlike Tuesday’s run) which slowed me down a bit. My heart rate was pushing high 180s at points, but it felt so good to run fast. I was amazed that my body could move like that. Ah, it was amazing. Overall, I managed to run the 5k in 28:08.
Friday morning I was back at the gym for 20 minutes on the recumbent bike, lifting, and abs.
Saturday was scheduled to be my long run day since Adam had a race on Sunday morning, but my calves were really sore so I opted to swim instead. Well, more specifically, I opted to swim-kick 1000m using a kickboard. I believe it took me a little less than a half hour. Adam and I arrived at Meadowbrook around 7am and used the outdoor lanes to swim. The weather was beautiful and it felt good to get an early start to the day.
Sunday was Adam’s first triathlon of the season, so we were up before 4am. Needless to say, my free time later in the day was spent napping rather than working out.
So what contributed to this turning point in my running? It’s probably impossible to say, but there are a couple things I did differently this week. First of all, I drank a ton of water all week – by my estimates, 85oz per day. I also cut out nearly all the dairy in my diet, though this was mostly unintentional. I don’t know what caused me to feel so good this week, but hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up. My first race is coming up in a week and I would love to feel strong on race day!