Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Training log - 13.01.14 - 16.02.14: Intervals and Injury

It has been a while since my last training log, partly because I do not have much to report, and partly because I have been putting off writing about the injury that has kept me out of running recently. Things are starting to heal however, so I thought it best to get this post out of the way so that I can find my focus again.

This period started off well with a solid interval week. I was able to really push myself in these sessions and was feeling strong for a few high mileage training weeks, well that was the intention.

Monday 13.01 - Run - Intervals

15 min warm-up followed by 5 x 30second pick-ups
3 x 5 minute intervals with 2 minute rest


Tuesday 14.01 - Run - Intervals

15 min warm-up followed by 5 x 30second pick-ups
8 x 10 second sprints EMOM


Wednesday 15.01 - Rest day

Thursday 16.01 - CrossFit

Friday 17.01 - CrossFit

Saturday 18.01 - Rest day - went to watch the TAGG team throwdown at CrossFit D6

Sunday 19.01 - Run - Century City to Blouberg and back

I like to think that I am like the guy on the right...
but I am probably more like the guy on the left
What an awesome run. I finally managed to get my new shows, albeit not the ones I wanted, and headed out to break them in. I managed 28km comfortably and at a decent enough pace which left me feeling confident to tackle Peninsula Marathon as my qualifier. It was great to get out early and enjoy the sunrise and I found the answer to my running transport issues. I normally set off  loaded up with all sorts of running gear e.g. from head to toe I might carry buff, sunglasses, earphones, iPod, heart rate monitor, GPS watch, phone, water and plenty snacks. I also don't like carrying my backpack because then I have to take it off each time I want to snack (which is every 15 minutes) so I try and keep it all on the front part of my body. Running shorts these days seem to be making the pockets even smaller so I am often left carrying things in my hands or trying to tie them on. I have just realised that I am potentially 1 paragraph into the most boring story ever, but it was a watershed moment for me when I noticed that cycling tops have pockets, so I need to share this. Running in my cycling top solved everything, plenty pocket space and easy access so that I can keep myself busy when I am out there. Fantastic, cyclists have managed to make a contribution to this life.


Week total

The death trap
The rest of this post can't be tracked daily and is best described in the narrative. The Monday following my long run I rested as I had planned a heavy mileage week. On Tuesday I got roped into our office 5-a-side soccer team as they were short of players. I am not a soccer player and I don't enjoy this but thought it might be fun to get some sprints in and then follow it up with a longer run around the waterfront. Well that idea lasted 2 minutes. After making about 3 tackles and 1 pass, I was jogging very slowly towards the sideline when I rolled over my left anti-minimalist Salomon Crossmax and heard the dreaded snapping noise. The ultrasound showed 1 torn ligament which meant I would be out of running for 4 - 6 weeks and possibly out of 2 Oceans...well that is what they told me.

From there I started off with some intense RICE sessions (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and after about 4 days I was ready to start some rehab. I studied parts of Kelly Starrett's "Becoming a Supple Leopard" and watched a few Youtube clips to understand the injury better. The most interesting thing I learnt was that the tissue will never heal exactly, so I will always need to be aware of it and thus it is important to strengthen it and work on the mobility as soon as possible. After a week of rest and 2 weeks of rehab I was starting to feel more comfortable and even went to 2 low intensity CrossFit classes. Just as I was feeling confident, second tragedy struck in the form of the worst man-stomach flu ever known. I was bed ridden for 3 days and lost possibly all my muscle, fat and fitness.

Sidebar, while all this was going on, a sub-plot was playing out in the form of a new shoe saga. I take my shoe-buying very seriously. Up until this point, I was still road running in my NB 1080v3's which I ran 2 Oceans in last year (and should have dumped at that point). In about November last year I started to focus on road running again after doing mostly trail since Oceans. I needed new shoes back then but thought I would wait as New Balance had advertised the new version 890's would be available in December. From the first week of December I went to the New Balance store every week and tweeted them every week to find out when they would arrive and was told every time it would be the following week. Eventually on the Saturday before my injury I decided that this was detrimental to my training and bought the older versions. Murphy managed to arrange for me to do 1 run, then get injured and the day following that, I received a call saying the new shoes had arrived in store. If I had known I would get injured and would not be able to run any way, I would definitely have waited it out and got the newer ones but I guess we never know that and I am still psyched with my 890v3's.

So I started this last week with no energy and an ankle operating at 60%. The frustration got the better of me and I decided to head out on the road again. Sunday I managed a 4km which felt like the last 4km of an ultra-marathon, I basically crawled the whole way.


Tuesday I managed the same route, still uncomfortable but I picked up the pace a bit.


Thursday and Friday I had some good CrossFit sessions and then Saturday I headed out for a decent run. It was hot as I set off at about 9am, down the promenade and back through Green Point Park. I felt slow, sluggish and I think I am running skew but I am in no pain which can only be good. I have entered Weskus Marathon on 15 March so it is going to be a few weeks of finding the balance between training enough and not over-training and bringing the injury back. I can't wait!


Week total

Back out there

Monday, 3 February 2014

Race report: Bay 2 Bay 30km - 05 January 2014

Bay 2 Bay is one of those races that I will run every year and enjoy every year. A 30km on the first Saturday of the year is a perfect way to gauge how enjoyable the Christmas break really was and is the first step on the road to 2 Oceans. The race is a simple out and back route on one of the most scenic roads in the world (I am not very vastly traveled but I am sure this is correct). The start is in Camps Bay and you head out to Hout Bay and back. You thus run from a bay to another bay and back again...hence the name Bay 2 Bay.

I approached the race with some trepidation as I knew my training over December had not been as good as I had hoped with the furthest distance covered being a measly 18km (in the week prior to this race). Additionally, I had somehow managed to pick up a cold during a Cape Town heat wave and so was headed to the starting line groggy and a bit feverish. My approach was definitely not to race, take it slow and easy and enjoy the beautiful sights.
First Bay
(source: oceanview-house.com)

0 - 5km - starting slow - 25:49

I tend to start races too fastbut forced myself to go as slow as possible at the start. I found someone from Celtics who looked a bit nervous and was constantly glancing at her watch so I figured she had done some intense research and would be the perfect pacemaker. I stick behind Ms Celtic for the first 5km which are flat and was happy to see we did it in just under 26 minutes which is still a pretty decent pace to me. Lesson no.1- just because you think you are running slowly, doesn't necessarily mean you are correct.

5 - 10km - gentle incline - 27:26

Once you get out of Camps Bay, the road inclines very gently towards Llandudno. Many people complain about this "hill" but, to be honest, it doesn't put too much strain on the legs. My time showed that it is in fact an uphill and at this point my sore throat started waking up and I was wandering if I should have skipped this one. What kept me in good spirits however was the havoc that the distance markers were causing. I think they were marked out by the little chap from Game of Thrones because by about 10km they were already showing 12km covered. This was fine for me as my GPS watch could tell me where I was but it was fun to listen to arguments between other runners about whether they were in fact wrong or the runners were on a PB run that would see them equal some records.

10km - 15km - drop down Suikerbossie - 24:57

A sharp decline down the road that cyclists hate coming up means you can let lose for a few minutes before you do a flat route down Hout Bay Main Road. I was feeling good at this point and happy to get to the half way point in under 1h20. I started to wander if I could push the second half and come in under 2h40.

Second Bay
(source: club.coolamonrotary.com)

15km - 20km - back up again - 30:09

After heading out from the beach along Princess Road, you start the trek up Suikerbossie again. I knew this hill was exactly 2km so from the robot I switched my watch over to the distance view and just counted down. I wasn't going at a mad pace but managed to do it without walking and still passed a few people on the way up which was great.

20km - 25km - running free - 24:44

A combination of the splendid views, the gentle decline and a well timed energy gel meant I felt solid and managed to clock my fastest 5km of the day in the penultimate section. I knew at this point that the 2h40 was lost on Suikerbossie but I was happy enough just going at a comfortable pace.

25km - 30km - finishing strong - 25:15

Doing the last 5km at just over 5 minutes per km was a feat for me as I remember last year at this point I was cramping and had aching feet and knees. I also noticed that I was passing people at the end which means to me that my race pacing had been spot on. Well, there were some people that were passing me but I figured they were the really fast people from the 15km race which started 10 minutes after I went through Hout Bay...well, that's what I told myself anyway to keep the confidence up. Lesson no. 2 - in order to race properly, don't try and race.
The road between the 2 Bays
(source: google streetview)

Race summary

A good day out. I didn't exert myself too hard and was almost, to the second, on the same as last year, when I had tried to push myself. This race was a great learning experience and I realised I need to run more races to get used to the strategies and pacing. I seem to be getting it right for road races but am still nowhere in trail races (maybe it is because I care less about road running).

Finishing strong
(source: facebook.com/running.photograph)
I usually place inside the top 33% of the field. My goal is to consistently place in the top 25%. 

Distance:    30km
Time:          2:42:52 (1h02 behind winner who ran a 30km in what to me is a good 21km time)
Position:      441/1882 (24%...I am happy with that. I needed to be 5 min quicker for top 20%, 9 min quicker for top 15% and 15 min quicker for top 10%)

Male:     371/1247
If I was a Female:   70/365