After having rain nearly every day for the month of June, it was very refreshing to have a clear, beautiful Fourth of July weekend. I have been feeling a bit under the weather since last Tuesday (running in the rain may have had something to do with it...). In fact, for the first time in 2 years of working out, I took 2 days in a row off. Mentally, that was pretty hard for me to do. But since I live in New York and spend a lot of time on my feet, that is okay right?
I was saving up enough energy for my Saturday morning run with Team in Training. The scheduled run was a little different than usual. Usually, we base our distances on mileage, not time, but this time, we broke off into groups of 80 min, 100 min, and 120 min runs. I chose to run for 120 minutes (because I'm crazy and sick! I had to make up for a few days!). Unfortunately, our pace coach misunderstood the workout, because we ended up doing a much shorter workout. According to a running partner's Garmin, we only ended up running about 9 miles (which is fine. I probably shouldn't have been pushing myself too hard anyway).
Instead of running in Central Park like usual, we broke the monotony and headed and headed over to the path by the westside highway! It was a beautiful run, we were right by the water and the course was nice and FLAT. There were also a ton of cops out getting the course ready for the fireworks that evening. As we ran, a few of my running buddies pointed out their apartments across the river in Jersey, in prime locations for the fireworks. Although I didn't get as central a view of the fireworks, I had a great time at the BBQ I attended :-)
I also learned from Saturday's run that I am a very salty sweater! I never sweat like this in cooler weather. I could have done a lot of face-exfoliating with all the salt residue covering my skin. This means I need to take a lot of extra electrolytes. I like using the Emergen-C packets you add to water (usually use these for bikram yoga) , and I love the Zico coconut waters as a natural form of electrolytes. Adding extra salt to my diet doesn't hurt either. It is VERY important especially in this hot weather to take in these extra electrolytes. During the Disney Marathon, we even did multiple "salt shots" the day before and on race day (we would steal salt packets from the cafeteria and swallow them with water. not tequila). This helps us to retain the water we drink and stay hydrated during and after runs.
Speaking of Bikram Yoga: I have been practicing it on and off for 2 years. My friends have always thought I was crazy; to submit myself to a 110 degree room for 90 minutes. Recently, I have encouraged some of my girlfriends to try it and see what all the fuss is about. I could never have imagined the response I got from them! They LOVE it!! Mind you, I do enjoy it. I love the feeling of the release of toxins and pushing my body to the next level. My flexibility and balance have improved, and I think I have a little more control of my mind. Not to mention it is an AWESOME and easy hangover cure :-) But I would never predict the obsession my friends have developed! Maybe everyone should try it! Anway, I have been practicing bikram about twice a week recently, and I feel it complements my running well, especially when I need recovery. After a particularly brutal 20 miler towards the end of last marathon season, I started my one week of unlimited classes at the Bikram studio on 145th st. It really quicked my recovery, and I still felt lke I was getting a good workout.
Our workout Tuesday was brutal! It was a beautiful evening, perfect for a run in the park. The advanced was scheduled for our first hill workout (post-poned from the week before when we were rained out). We ran on the trails within the park this time, from around 73rd street to 86th street. This strip consisted of 2 hills, a smaller one to "warm up" with, and then a big one to really use our energy on. When we got to the reservoir at 86th street, we'd recover down both hills and then start again! Aren't hill repeats fun....
The approach to the workout was to conserve energy- really go for it, but save enough energy on the first hill so we could really perform on the second (and Ramon was right there at the beginning of the 2nd hill to make sure we didn't cheat).
Ramon gave us a length speech at the beginning of the workout making it clear that this is the time in our training where we need to build strength. We are allowed to experiment, and maybe push it a little too hard at times, because that is how we learn what our body can handle and build strength and speed in the process. The endurance will come later. We need to get our bodies used to producing lactic acid in large amounts so that the body can get used to removing it quickly. (Lactic acid is produced during cardio activity, and when the activity gets too strenuous, the body has a hard time removing that lactic acid at a quick rate, which results in that sluggish/unmoveable feeling in the legs). This is the time in the season where we have to train that lactic acid to have a faster turnover of the lactic acid. Basically, we just have to try and run through the pain.
Sounds fun, right?
After our intense hill practice, I met my mentor buddy Tammy and a few of her mentees for a drink, ran over to Patsy's and slammed a few slices of pizza with a group of TNTers, showered, changed, and headed out for a night with the girls! We went to this beautiful wine bar, called "Wine and Roses" on Columbus between 73rd and 74th. The owner happened to be at the table next to us and thought we were precious, so she took our picture with promises that she would add it to the website. I'll keep you posted on our celebrity status when the pictures go up!