After my first track session was extremely tough (week 16) and the second ended up my best run of the week (week 15), I went into track with a bag of mixed feelings. I struggle with longer intervals, despite the slower pace. With the FIRST training plan, you don’t run 400s at the same pace as 1600s. Rule of thumb: the shorter the interval, the lower the pace and the higher the number of repeats. But at the end of the day, a sprint is still a sprint. Those 3x1600s felt undoable. The 4x800s made me feel unstoppable. When my training plan called for a downward ladder, starting at 1200m (then 1000m, 800m, 600m and 400m) with only 200m recovery in between, I certainly had a ton of respect for the workout.
I set my alarm for early in the day with the goal to run in the morning, so that I could take a CrossFit class at night and then join my friend Jule for the Germany – Brazil game. The box is close to Jule’s home and the class would finish just in time for me to shower and head over to her place for kickoff. I had a hard time getting up in the morning, but eventually I remembered my plans for the evening and how inconvenient it would be to shift things around. I was super proud when I managed to head out eventually and complete my workout as scheduled. Turns out that doing intervals in the morning is favorable because the running path is fairly empty. I don’t have access to a proper track, but there’s a canal nearby with a path around it that makes for a nice loop of mostly straight road:
In the evening it’s been busy with pedestrians. I’ll have to remember next time I’m about to skip my workout.
My run itself was great. My legs felt a little heavy still from Sunday’s long run, but nothing hurt. After a 15 minute warm-up, I ran the first interval and fairly easily met my target pace. I was a bit surprised. It wasn’t easy per se, but not as soul-crushing hard as I had expected it to be. I walked the 200m recovery interval extremely slowly. I was still surprised when I also hit the 1000m fairly ok. I was glad by the time that RI came around, but I didn’t feel like I was coming close to my limits yet. I was only reaching that point some time during the third interval of 800m. And at that point, I had already done over half of the distance. I was certainly allowed to be exhausted! The worst of the intervals was the 600m. I think it’s that Not-quite-done feeling and the tiredness that are settling in. Whereas if you run your last interval, you know it’s just this one. Suck it up. Finish strong and be done quicker. I missed the pace for the 600m, but then ran the final 400m faster than goal. Overall, I managed to mostly hit the target paces down to the second. The few times that I was a few seconds too slow were made up by the intervals where I was a few seconds too fast. I felt really exhausted after the workout and had to run my cool down very, very slow.
I was actually thinking after the run that I’m starting to enjoy track. Just a little bit. Not too much. But a bit. My hatred for it is slowly fading away. What is happening to me?!
Next on the list. The Tempo. Oh, the Tempo. I was a little scared of this one because it was such a big challenge last week. I was scheduled to repeat the same workout, only even faster. My original plan was to run on Thursday, after I’d taken a rest day the day before due to traveling for business. But on Thursday something unexpected happened and I’m hoping there will never be a repetition. I was hit by a severe depressive episode; one that was so bad like it hadn’t been in months.
If you’ve never been depressed – really depressed – it’s hard to explain what it feels like. That indescribable sadness. That heaviness like a 300 lbs person is sitting on your chest. That feeling when even getting up, putting on pants and making yourself a cup of coffee is way more than you can handle. I was already feeling bad on Wednesday evening, but upon getting up on Thursday, that feeling had been multiplied by a gazillion.
I had registered for a CrossFit class in the morning and barely managed to schlepp myself to class. I have never since I’ve started crossfitting been tempted to not go to class. Never! Usually, CrossFit is the highlight of my day. But on Thursday, I seriously considered calling and canceling – even though I technically couldn’t do that [We have a 4 hour before class cancelation freeze, so that if you have to cancel, somebody from the wait list has a realistic chance of taking over your spot.]. I only went because I know that moving makes me feel better and helps elevate some of my depression. I eventually had a good workout and momentarily felt better. I even went to work. But not even an hour into work, my depressive episode resurfaced with a vengeance. I was lucky that I had an appointment with my psychiatrist that day anyway. I called my team assistant to let her know that I wouldn’t come back to the office after the doctor’s appointment and took the rest of the day as a sick day. Seeing my therapist helped some and so did the leisure bike ride along Munich’s beautiful Isar river and through the Englischer Garten. But still. Running that day was out of the question.
My next attempt to run the tempo was on Friday, but after a cardio-heavy workout at CrossFit in the morning (20 Min AMRAP: 300m row, 200m run), I didn’t feel like running in the afternoon/evening. I know that the wise thing after Thursday would have been to cancel the Friday CF session and run in the morning, but I’ve craving CF a lot during this week, so I was quite frankly unwilling to make the sacrifice. At this point, I knew it was going to be a modified run on Saturday.
And that’s exactly what I did. After I didn’t manage to run before my yoga class, I ran after, some errands in between. It was 6PM on Saturday by the time I headed out. Oops.
The plan was to do my warm-up, then run longish intervals at tempo pace with walk breaks in between to get used to running at tempo pace, then cool it down. My alternative would’ve been to run the 11k as an easy recovery run, but I wasn’t quite willing to do that. So instead of running the whole tempo part at tempo pace nonstop, I thought I had found a nice middle ground that would still allow me to run long the next day. Only my stomach hadn’t gotten that memo. About 500ms into the tempo portion, I started cramping so badly that I thought I was going to die. I ran a little further at tempo pace before I eventually slowed down to a walk. My stomach eased up a little on the walk, so I started a second tempo interval, only to be faced with the same problem. I forced myself through 4 kms of tempo/walk intervals before I slowed it down to an easy jog. And even that felt awful. I ended up run/walking 10.5kms, 500ms short of my 11k goal. I was glad once I was finally home. It was a disaster.
[I had eaten a salad and a sandwich two hours before the run. In the past, I’ve eaten similar foods before a run and never had issues. Usually my stomach is not sensitive at all. I’m hoping this was a one-time thing. I’ll be monitoring food intake a little more.]
Today was long run day. A chance to redeem myself. I was scheduled for 16k and after getting a little sick of the park I usually run in (it’s not that big and I see it a lot), I had decided to run in the Englischer Garten instead. I mapped out a 16k route that would start in the Englischer Garten, take me across the Luitpold Bridge, into the Maximiliansanlagen (park along the Isar river), then along the Isar, all the way up to the weir in Oberföhrring, where’d I’d cross the Isar again and return to the Englischer Garten. From there only a couple more KMs back to my starting point. In theory.
I managed to get lost a handful of times, taking extra turns, cutting short and once almost getting lost entirely. I was occupied a good amount of time checking maps, making sure I was at least running in the right direction, if not running on the exact path I had mapped out. Despite missing my pace goal, I had a lot of fun and the change in scenery was more than welcome. I felt good during the majority of the run. My stomach was at ease and only during the last 3 kms, my back started tightening up, making the final stretch a struggle. I even managed to increase the pace a good deal during the last few kms. Overall, I was really happy with the outcome of this run.
Thankfully, I have a few more LSDs and more time to practice not getting lost in the Englischer Garten. ;o)
Week 14 MUC Marathon training conclusion:
- Track (10 – 20 min warm-up, 1200m, 200m RI, 1000m, 200m RI, 800m, 200m RI, 600m, 200m RI, 400m, 200m RI, 10 minute cool-down): Like last week, probably the best run of the week. Challenging, but great confidence-boosting. Strong finish
- Tempo (1.5k easy, 8k tempo pace, 1.5k easy): By far the worst run of the week. I was not anticipating those stomach cramps. Life interfered with this being a decent run. Proud for getting the miles in and fighting through at the very least
- LSD (16k): This was fun! Brought my Camelbak, so water intake was not an issue (though I did envy the boys jumping into the Eisbach and Isar). Felt strong and confident for the first 13k, the last 3k a bit of a struggle. Finished strong
- Total weekly distance: 35.07 km
- Total weekly time: 4:08:46
- Crosstraining and Rest: 4x CrossFit (I was really in the mood for CrossFit this week), 1x Yoga, 119 km biked; 1 complete rest day
- Feeling: Good, overall. Depression interfered with schedule, but at least the episode is over. Proud of myself for still completing the tempo, albeit not as scheduled. At least I got the miles in. Also proud for accepting it as it is and not being mad at myself.