Saturday, 25 April 2009

Getting through

So after missing two workouts worth 16km due to two late nights at the comedy festival (totally worth it), I've almost caught up. I had originally resolved to not be a stupid mileage-chaser and call it a rest week, but a good night's sleep left me feeling like it wouldn't be too hard to manage it.

It's been pretty tough, but I'm actually feeling pretty good at the moment. I was a bit scared of the 18/19k days I had to do, but once I actually started running, I had no difficulty at all making up the extra miles. It feels almost like I've made it to a new level.

The breakthrough came on Thursday. After grinding out a tough 8k in the morning, I was feeling really, really sore. Come evening, my quads felt like someone had been going at them with a large stick, but I managed to force myself to get out for an easy 10k and was pleasantly surprised that although I was very sore, I was running really well and naturally picked up the pace the whole way, finishing (in 51 minutes - fast for me) with plenty left in the tank. I went to bed that night with my legs aching so much I couldn't get to sleep for a while, but when I woke up on Friday I was completely fine: no soreness at all! I felt really great and had a good workout on the treadmill that night, involving a 10.5k progression run up to 3:24/k.

All up I've done 84k so far this week, with 72k of that in the last 4 days (18k per day average, eek). It's definitely too much and I've been feeling a few niggles in my back and my shins, but I'm confident I can still get through tomorrow and rack up 110k for the week. My dad and I are driving out to Templestowe in the morning for a Vic Road Runners event: I'm doing the HM and he's doing 10k. I'm predicting a good race for him: he actually outran me during the morning run on Friday. I was hanging on for dear life while he ran unsustainable 5:00 kms (his 10k PB is 54 minutes or something:P) and then left me for dead at the final sprint! (I could've caught him of course, but it would've cost me and I think it helped his ego:P). This came after my little brother beat me up the hill up to our house on Wednesday night haha:P I wasn't holding back then either (21 hill reps Wednesday morning might've had something to do with it though:P)! He's got a bit of speed I think and managed 6k easy without any real training for two weeks prior.

I'm really not concerned with what time I'll get. I know I'm not going to get a PB and 21.1k is uncharted territory for me at the moment, so I'll be happy with anything under 2hrs. The plan is to start out at the back of the pack and gradually move up, hopefully doing the last 5k in under 20 minutes, but that might be asking a bit much considering it's probably going to be windy and rainy!

In other news, I think I might be getting low in iron again. Had a bit of an orthostatic hypotension incident (where the blood rushes to your head after standing up and you feel very dizzy, unsteady and go almost completely blind for about 10 seconds) today, which used to happen all the time back in year 12 when I first went vegan and started running. I started thinking about it and realised that this fatigue that has been assailing me for the last two months has probably not just been because of my high training load. Realistically, I shouldn't be so destroyed by a very gentle 5k run in the morning and a 6k ride to uni that I'm falling asleep in my (very interesting) lectures. It's got to the point where I'm having to drink 5 or 6 cups of coffee just to be productive at work. I can still manage my training fine, after all I'm very used to exercising through extreme fatigue now, but any mental activity that requires fine concentration is very tough for me right now. It's quite lucky that I have a very light assessment regime this semester because I'm really struggling when it comes to writing essays and the like. When I think back to the days when I used to spend six or seven hours completely immersed in writing a computer program, so oblivious to the outside world that I'd forget to eat, it makes me quite sad to be in this state.

I'm going to schedule a doctor's appointment ASAP and in the mean time I'll be taking my iron supplements daily. I'd been phasing them out a bit because in my last blood test, my serum ferretin (read iron) levels were at 70 mg/mL (or whatever the units are), which is quite good but you don't want it to get too high because iron is toxic at high concentrations. (I've read that it starts to affect your running when you get below 30 and after my disastrous first stint at the melbourne HM, mine were 20.) Obviously only taking them once or twice a week isn't enough for me. Although I don't eat a fantastic diet (not really a huge fan of green vegetables), I think I'd be fine if I weren't running so much. Each time your foot hits the ground, you're destroying red blood cells, and right now my feet are hitting the ground quite a lot.

[I was doing some study for my molecular biology unit and discovered the tasty factoid that the human body produces 100 trillion (yes trillion) molecules of haemoglobin (the iron-bound protein that transports oxygen to your muscles) every day. ]

I don't think it's affecting my running though at the moment. I'm really happy with how I'm progressing. I've now strung together five months of consistent training and am in the best shape of my life. Tempo runs, which used to be my nemesis, have been going beyond smoothly and I am noticing the improvement even between weeks. I think my running goals are definitely attainable for this year. Barring injury, I should be running 1:20 for a HM pretty soon:)

The twenty four challenge is still pretty far out of reach though. I'm doing allright on the running and cycling sides, but the calisthenics exercises are proving difficult to master. I'm still struggling to manage 100 pushups a day and after making rapid progress, am back to a pathetic max set of 15. Pullups are getting heaps easier though. I managed to do 10 the other day:)

No comments: