Ventura Marathon Training Week 6: The Failed Sasha Fierce Experiment

Weekly Summary 7/27/15 to 8/2/15

Well, friends, my paces continued to stay away from those slothful first weeks of this training cycle. It seems like they’re holding steady despite the increasing intensity in sharpening phase, as well as the unforgiving heat. Holy hell it was hot in the Valley this past weekend. Not sure if you’re familiar with the San Fernando Valley, but basically you will die if you don’t have A/C, and really, who am I kidding, you need a pool. It’s not just me saying it – check out this aerial view of the Valley. A pool is de rigueur in the 818.

poolsMy tempo run increased from 4 miles at tempo pace (6 miles total) last week to 6 miles at tempo pace (8 miles total) and my paces stayed under that 9:12 goal pace: 8:55; 8:55; 9:01; 9:19; 8:50. Um, not sure what that 9:19 was about – probably just zoned out. I think my tempo run may be as hard mentally as it is physically. So many thoughts go through the mind during those unforgiving miles: “This sucks. Ugh. Why am I doing this? Stop, let’s do this tomorrow. What should I have for lunch? Don’t forget to tell PK to [fill in the blank]. Don’t look at your watch. Water just up ahead. I hate this song. Oops, focus, focus.” Anyway, must have been thinking too much about lunch or what my husband should be doing on that mile.

Saturday’s long run was scheduled for 18 miles with nine run at marathon pace, which, by the way, I still haven’t made a decision on what that pace is going to be. Last cycle my MP was set at 9:55, which was supposed to put me in at a 4:20 marathon. I didn’t quite hit 4:20, but I’m hoping to hit sub-4:20 at Ventura, so I’m shooting for 9:45-9:55 MP to have me finishing the marathon at 4:15-4:20. My paces on Saturday were 9:37; 9:50; 9:25; 9:50; 9:41; 9:24; 9:31; 9:27; 9:24. Sweet. Alas, I’ll try to slow it down this week as even though it’s pretty fun to see those splits, it seems I may have gone out too fast as my last seven miles were done at snail’s pace: 11:50; 11:25; 11:56; 11:51; 12:34; 11:51; and 10:58. Of course, it might not all be the fault of going out too fast, as the heat finally caught up to me. Also, I took a little longer at one of my fueling breaks and felt my legs tighten up, and unfortunately, as I type this the back of my left leg is still a little tightish.

The thing I was most curious about though was how my legs would feel. The last three weeks I’ve run 47, 36, and 43 miles, as well as added some tempo runs and more MP miles during my long run, yet my legs do not feel thrashed (minus tight hammy). They haven’t felt fatigued on my runs, and I haven’t pushed myself any harder on my training runs. So, now that we’re four weeks into this food experiment, I guess I’ll tentatively throw it out there: I stopped eating meat again.

I know, I know. One of the changes I mentioned in my Racing Weight and Me post in June was that I started eating four- and two-legged animal protein again after being vegetarian (sometimes pescetarian and sometimes vegan) for almost seven years. It started in Cuba when I couldn’t eat one more m-therf-cking piece of ham or chicken. I went back to eating meat when I got home but, as has happened before, I had kind of lost the taste for it. Then came the horrible allergies, and in hopes of improving that condition, I cut out dairy, and, well…you see where this is going. I feel a little bit like the idiot who decides to try out new socks at the marathon because why would I screw around with a diet that had procured an almost five minute PR for me last May, but for now, I am receiving other benefits.

Like my allergies are a little better. Still not completely cured, but better. However, the biggest plus is that my legs feel like they’re recovering faster, which is a common advantage that runners who go vegan attest to. It’s kind of the only thing I can attribute the perky legs to. I’m not losing weight – I’m like the exact same – so for now I’m sticking with it.

Beyonce Food!
Beyonce Food!
There was, however, an unexpected miscue during this return to a plant-based diet. (Of course this wouldn’t be a weekly summary without some Doh! on my part.) In the hopes of making things more convenient and cutting out some food prep, I thought “WTF, I’ll try Beyonce’s Vegan food delivery service.” See, this is what happens when you’re in a DINK household – you spend your money on totally stupid unnecessary shit. Anyway, I ordered the seven-dinner plan with the hopes of using them whenever I needed a quick meal. Friday night, this beauty showed up on my doorstep. Look at all the promises it makes on the box!

I excitedly sat down with my my mac ‘n cheese under the A/C vent in my poor man’s attempt at a wind machine, but regrettably, the experience was decidedly Meh. A little too saucy, needed a ton of salt, and even after two meals, I still wasn’t feeling one bit Beyonce-like. Worst of all, it gave me a ton of tummy problems. Keeping things general, let’s just say my husband was not a fan of the whole Sasha Fierce experiment. Anyway, I’ll keep the rest of them for when I really do have a meal emergency. Or when I want the bed to myself. Ha.

So let’s see how this plant-based stuff holds up this week when I hit my highest mileage week Ev-Ah: 52 miles. Tight hammy or not. Eeks.

Hope everyone has a great running week!

Don't worry, Geese, I won't eat you.
Don’t worry, Geese, I won’t eat you.
Total weekly mileage: 43
Long run: 18 miles (9 MP)
Cross-training: I was busy planning tour dates and kind of blew this off. Except Pilates.

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