Ventura Marathon Training Week 7: Toss Everything

Weekly Summary 8/3/15 to 8/9/15

Was it just a week ago that I boasted about how strong I felt? Oh, the hubris.

I wrote in last week’s recap that I had felt some tightening in my left hamstring. It’s still like 10% there, but I’m doing a steady diet of ice in the morning, Epsom salt baths at night and a more enthusiastic stretching routine, so I’m hoping it’ll work itself out. Regardless, the tight hammy was the least of my problems last week.

If you’ve been following this blog, then you know I’m a reluctant cross-trainer. Well, I decided to get a trainer in the hopes that this would give me more accountability, as well as force me to push myself, because friends, the truth is I generally tend to half-ass it with the non-running stuff. Plus now that I’m not spending anymore money on Beyoncé Food, I can put that money towards a trainer!

My buddy, a fellow middle-aged runner gave me the name of her trainer, and I met with him on Monday morning. It was supposed to be a diagnostic session. You know, see how my balance and coordination and general fitness are. Within ten minutes, sweat was running down my face. We weren’t even doing any cardio or using weights! All I was doing was going up and down about 25 yards performing balancing-type drills. I must have blanked them out because I can’t even really remember what they were, but I remember Trainer was very concentrated on my form. Then we moved onto core exercises. I could only do two crunches at a time because this dude was standing on my damn feet, and there was no cheating. Grrr. My mistake was in representing myself as a marathoner and thus implying that I was in some kind of shape, because at this point, Trainer seemed truly baffled and asked me when was the last time I worked out my core. Me: Yesterday in Pilates.

See, here’s the thing. I have this flip side to my determination/diligent/hard-working side, and it’s a total slacker who just wants to sleep and eat pizza and whose motto is “What is the least amount of work I can do and get away with it?” I’d do this with some classes in college. Like not go to class all semester, borrow someone’s notebook, cram the night before, and then get an A/B in the class. I let that part of me have some leeway because I can’t go A Hundred 100% of the time. I do all my runs, so I kind of…well, you have been witness to my (lack of) cross-training woes.

Even in Pilates class I can cheat. Here’s how you do it: Sign up for a full class (6 plus people), take the corner reformer, keep your eye on the teacher and when she looks your way, make noises that mimic effort. Looking like you’re working hard is really not that hard. Let’s put it this way: The last class I was in, the instructor mentioned she’d been to Belgium, and I persuaded her to convince her boyfriend to come to the studio and bring the class chocolates from her trip. I may have actually gained weight after that workout.

View from the corner reformer. Perfect hideout.

So after my one hour class with Trainer, I went home feeling good but curious to see how my body would react knowing I had a 52-mile week ahead. Yeah, that night my calves became rock hard. It just felt like tightness, not a strain, so I ran eight miles the next morning…and then took the next three days off. What was supposed to be a 52-mile week ended up being a 25-mile week.

I talked to Trainer, and he was surprised that my calves were so jacked-up because, as he noted, we didn’t even do calves. No box jumps, nothing that would make you think I’d get so tight. The type of work he wants to do with me is prehab, like strengthening ligaments and, well, I don’t know what else because I COULD ONLY MAKE IT THROUGH ONE SESSION. One hour of this workout super highlighted my weaknesses, and it was humbling. However, I’m strangely excited because there seems to be plenty of room for improvement, and so we’ll be resuming this work after the Ventura Marathon.

So then I started questioning my diet. Was the vegetarian diet that I’d been following the past month because I thought it was helping my allergies and giving me bouncier legs actually having any impact? I went back to eating turkey and fish mid-week, and well, my legs performed pretty much the same this past weekend as they had the past month. Also, my allergies have improved since then.

Basically, the two deductions I made last week were partially refuted this past week.

  1.  I may feel stronger than I’ve been in a long time, but I’m far from strong.
  2. Eating animals, not eating animals…it’s a wash.

I did get in a 14-miler at 10:29 pace (I didn’t want to risk any MP miles), and only two of the last three were at a super slow pace of 10:53 and 10:57, but that was more a heat issue than a legs-are-trashed issue.


So this week will be 52-Mile Week Take Two. And, oh hey, for my 22-miler it’s supposed to be 103 degrees! Awesome!! The slacker in me will for sure be talking loud on Saturday morning.

Hope you all have a great running week!

Total weekly mileage: 25
Long run: 14 miles (0 MP)
Cross-training: Well, I hope you’re happy. Look what happened when I tried to cross-train. Smh.

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