Spring training 2017: like a stroll through an asteroid belt

12 06 2017

I started this post almost two months ago and then didn’t finish it.  At the time I relayed that I was having “a totally mundane March and an unassuming early April.”  Looking back over what is now a 3 month period, I have to say it was about as boring as a walk through the Kuiper Belt.
KUIPER BELT
You know how it goes when traveling through an asteroid belt:
One minute you’re sailing along at a leisurely pace of maybe Warp 2, enjoying the view and thinking everything is just grand.  Then the next minute there’s a giant chunk of frozen methane colliding with your life and covering it with rapidly thawing cow farts. Then it’s back to the nirvana of softly twinkling stars and moonbeams until the next apocalyptic impact, which is pretty much how my spring training season went.

The highlight of March was doing the Manhattan Irish Fest 5k again with my running club.  This is a favorite of mine because the race actually kicks off the Irish Fest parade, so practically the whole town is lined up drinking and reveling, decked out in their finest Irish greenery, as you run by.  Afterwards they have a big tent party with lots of Guinness and live Irish music which is always a fun time.

Irish Fest 2017 collage

Photo credits: Javier Martinez and Manhattan Irish Fest Facebook page

I didn’t do a whole lot of outdoor running for the rest of the month because, apart from a freakish 80 degree day, it tended to be in the 20s and 30s most of the time which is too cold for me to enjoy.  I did get in an 8-miler about a week after the 5k and then a 9-mile long run two weeks after before catching a bad cold that had me sidelined for about 14 days.  Enter Asteroid #1.

Meanwhile I continued working on my Winter Strength Training Project until April 8, the completion date of that 20-week endeavor,  which was conceived to use the extra calories of the winter season to grow muscle instead of fat.  And it actually worked.  I went for another DexaFit scan that showed I had gone from having 107 lbs of muscle to 108.8 pounds, which they say is pretty good for a female.  I was pleased with that result and plan to do more heavy lifting during the cold months this year too.

ET Abductions DayWhen in mid-April I finally felt well enough to run outdoors without coughing my head off, I tried to get back on track with half-marathon training but it had been almost a month since my 9 mile long run.  I backtracked to a 7 miler as a “catch-up run” one week, did a couple of 4 milers (including a virtual race for the Moon Joggers to celebrate Extraterrestrial Abductions Day) and finally a 10 mile effort the next week.  This proved to be my undoing once again when lack of stretching triggered an attack of the old nemesis ankle/Achilles tendonitis which lasted another couple of weeks.  Hello Asteroid #2!

So back to Square One we went.  Starting on May 1, I did a full week of nothing but yoga encompassing every link in the posterior chain until I felt secure that, from back to toes, flexibility was returning.  Only then did I resume a running training plan, this time with a new (old) mantra: Flexibility First.  When the supremely important goal of 2016 was to run a full marathon uninjured, I did 15 minutes of yoga every morning prior to any other workout.  It was an integral part of training that I somehow forgot to include when I turned my attention from lifting back to running this year.  Well, it’s one I will never overlook again.

By mid-May things were back on track and I was once again starting each morning with a short morning routine from Yoga Journal as well as the standard upper body strength training split divided over 2 days and core work along with running.Untitled

Nevertheless, I was not ready for the half-marathon I had planned for May 13 and didn’t want to risk a new injury so I did a 10 mile race instead: the Lemont Quarryman Challenge which is another circuit race for my running club.

Quarryman 2017 Collage

With the very hilly Quarryman race representing a true test of physical readiness, I pronounced myself 100% recovered when no aches, pains, strains or sprains followed thereafter.

On May 27, it was time for the Soldier Field 10 Miler which is another one of my favorite events (even though I have to brave the bustle and traffic of my former sweet home Chicago).  Running down Lake Shore Drive from Soldier Field almost as far as The Museum of Science and Industry then going back along the lake front trail is such a thrill that I can’t imagine spending Memorial Day weekend any other way.

2017 collage

I tacked on an extra mile or so after that race to bring my long run mileage total up to the 11-plus range and thus blasted my way out the asteroid belt that represented spring half-marathon training in 2017.

UntitledNext up —
June races including:
Cheyenne Greenway Foundation 5k, Cheyenne WY and
Revel Rockies Half Marathon, Denver CO

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