"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Brickyard Blues

I should have seen it coming. A few weeks of very hard training with little recovery is an accident waiting to happen. I'd been having cramps in my feet at night, which is always a sign of dehydration for me and I started having cramps in my esophagus, which is an extraordinarily painful problem, and that comes (according to a comparison of 3 emergency room visits) when I have emotional stress, physical stress, high white blood cell counts, and low potassium.

Yesterday the snow was finally gone and I could move from the kiddie hills to the Brickyard. As I started driving there, the "check engine" light came on, so I changed direction and went immediately to my mechanic; the last times this happened averaged $800 and towing. It was nothing - but my body was full of adrenaline and that's not a good start.

I got to the Brickyard, put my gallon of water at the top of the hill at the new park bench (there's 3 new ones, after each section of climb) and started down. At the bottom of the hill, I saw my first common egret of the year and watched a train cross the trestle bridge only a foot or so above the Mississippi River, which is at flood crest. Instead of the way I'd been doing hill repeats, where after a couple of warm-up loops, I'd push myself to as high a heart rate as possible, I wanted to run evenly this time. Things were going smoothly.

On the third repeat, I was thirsty. This made no sense to me, as I was sure I was full of fluid, but I took no chances and sat on the bench and downed almost half of the water I'd brought. The next repeat, my skin was turning red; there'd been a spring warm-up, but this again made no sense. A few more repeats and my fingers swelled. Here were three things that usually only happen several hours into a long hard hot race.

The Brickyard kicks my ass yet again. I managed 8 repeats of my planned 20. Today I have delayed onset muscle soreness in my glutes, so all the exercises I was doing and all the hill running did absolutely nothing for me. I need to relearn how to run down long steep hills all over again.

The training I've been doing I'm sure looks maniacal or just stupid to everyone else, but I've been loving it. There's two incompatible goals I want in a training session: 1) I want it to be challenging. 2) I want to know ahead of time that I can do it. By setting a goal of just running a certain amount of time - granted, an extremely long amount of time for a casual run - I know I can do it; if I have to walk, I'll walk, but I'll get there. By pushing myself hard at the beginning, either doing hard hills or sprints or a fast continuous run, just getting to the time goal becomes much more difficult.

Up until this workout, I've been doing it. I've felt like I was thriving on it, as I was improving just a bit from session to session and I was not getting hurt or going into a workout feeling drained before I started.

Unfortunately, it's what I do (or rather don't do) in the 40-48 hours between workouts that's been a problem. I'm not eating enough to restore my energy, not getting enough of some nutrients and getting far far less water in me than I need. It seems like all I do is eat and drink in between workouts, but I need even more, it seems.


Colin said...

Well, if you've been loving the training you're doing I'd say stick with it -- who cares what anybody else thinks? A bad workout now and again is going to happen with any type of training. As you say, just make sure you're doing the right things between workouts to be fully prepared for the next one. Good luck!

Tracizzle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fast Bastard said...

Steve, after quietly following your training (and hoping for a return to greatness), I feared the worst when I read your headline and first line of your post.

But glute pain isn't bad and it's obvious that you're putting together some strong training.

This will be your year, I bet.

Anonymous said...

Steve, come over to my neck of the woods for a hill workout and I'll join you. Cedar or Lyndale Ave 1/2 mile repeats. I'm doing Sawtooth also.