Marathon Training Week 10: Pushed, Poked & Cupped

Weekly Summary 2/23/15 to 3/1/15

This week was a recovery week for me. I’ve found these weeks to be an absolute necessity both physically and mentally. Physically it allows my body to absorb the hard training of the past few weeks and prevents me from over training and/or getting injured. My usual M.O. is to put my foot on the gas and G.O., and some training plans plot out a steady increase in mileage throughout the schedule up to taper week, but this strategy of periodic recovery weeks is just wiser for me at this age. It also gives me the mental break every four weeks knowing I can chill out, even though it’s still, let’s face it, marathon training.

It was also a great week of weather! We had been in the 80s last week, but just as it seemed that that was it for winter and spring was upon us, we had a nice cold week. Cold enough to wear long sleeves!

long sleeves

We even got some clouds and a little bit of rain this weekend. This is what we call weather in Los Angeles.

clouds

So I had two goals for this recovery week: increased cross-training and recovery remedies. Check and check.

As noted below, I really picked up my ab, upper body, and leg strengthening work, but more importantly, I went to Pilates which, if you go to a good class, pretty much covers all of that. I felt strengthened and stretched from the inside out, and my abs felt like they had been zipped up and compressed like a virtual full-body Spanx. Awesome.

As for the recovery remedies, that meant I took Juven, the supplement that I take during race week, to assist in building back up the tissue that’s been broken down in hard training. And, in addition to my usual cheap-o $20 massage that I get weekly, I visited my Torture Doctor for extra body work. My regular massage definitely helps keep my lower body loose, but it’s really more of a feel-good treat at the end of the week. Note, I think this is also necessary because keeping relaxed is important for me, and helps energize me to put a lot on my plate, both fun and not-fun.

However, the second “massage” I got this week was not relaxing or feel-good. For over ten years I’ve been supplementing my Western health care with Eastern health care. Dr. Y. and Dr. L. are a husband and wife team, and they do a combination of acupuncture and acupressure, along with herb treatment and cupping.

herb

It’s not one of those hippy-dippy serenity palaces that dot the So Cal landscape — this is hardcore Asian medicine. Their bedside manner can be described as direct and gruff. Let’s just say one time Dr. L. told me I was too fat. Now this may be a difficult thing for Westerners to swallow but having been raised by a Filipino tough lady, um, this was nothing. And by the way, Dr. L. was right. I had gained too much weight. I appreciate that directness because this is my health, so I prefer someone not mince words. They are not unkind, just not so smiley-face, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I got poked in my semi-troublesome (I’ve downgraded its status) right calf.

potato

I think it looks like a potato with toothpicks, non? Then I got some acupressure, followed by cupping, you know that weird thing that my imaginary best friend Gwyneth does that leaves those dark circles on your back. The point of cupping is to keep the circulation going, and especially for me, who has exercise induced asthma, it keeps the lungs and that upper back area, loose and flowing.

So, I don’t know if all this really works or if it’s just crazy weird goop stuff, but I’ll just say this. I’ve gone to them for over ten years, about six times a year, and they’ve seen me through getting a black belt, several half marathons and a handful of marathons, all in my 40s. They themselves, in their 60s or 70s (who the hell can tell with Asians, right?), look fit and springy (if not particularly smiley). So that’s what I’m going by. I won’t fix something that’s not broken, so I’ll keep going to them for periodic routine maintenance.

The only thing I’m feeling a little weird about is my long run. I dialed it down as far as mileage, going from 18 miles back down to 14, but I was only supposed to do 6 miles at marathon pace (an increase from 5). Well, I ran with a new group for the second part of my run, and I thought they were going to go slow, and that we would be chatting throughout our run. Yeah, no. No talking, and they went at my MP their whole 8-mile run. So I did another 4 at sub-MP pace, and another two at around MP pace. Basically I only had 3 easy miles. The faster paces looked like this: 8:59, 9:22, 9:16, 9:09, 10:04, 9:39, 10:04, 9:42, 9:50, and 9:31 (one mile is missing because of human error). That’s a bit faster and a few more MP miles than I planned on, but I wasn’t going to be left lagging behind at two minutes per mile slower. However, next week I have a 20-miler on the books, while the girls have a 9-mile run, so I’ll just plan to coincide my fast paces with theirs.

However, good news: I survived, my calf survived, and I found some fast running friends who’ll push me for sure. I’m mentally and physically rested and ready to start ramping it up again. Here.we.go! Hope everyone has a great running week!

Total weekly mileage: 30
Long run: 14 miles; 8 miles at MP (9:55)
Cross-training:
Abs (6x); Upper Body (3x); Leg Strengthening (16 exercises-15 ea.-3 sets); Push-Ups: 63; Pilates!

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