Training: Six Weeks to Go

6:41/mile? Unlikely, but it sure sounds impressive.

We are a mere six weeks from race day. I don’t want to admit that I’m feeling unprepared, but holy cow, I’m feeling unprepared.

Tuesday night was fartlek night. Fartlek is supposed to be Swedish for “speed play,” but frankly I think it’s all a big Swedish joke to give us a ridiculous-sounding name to say while kicking our butts with speed intervals. My mistake was listening to the coach say that it was going to be a “quick, easy, fun workout.” What I didn’t mentally process is that it was still a four mile run. Now, four miles isn’t exactly a marathon, but it’s not a quick lap around the block, either. It wasn’t until about Mile 2 that it hit me: hey, this is kind of hard.

Highlights of Tuesday night’s run:

  • According to Runkeeper, which I can only assume was malfunctioning, I briefly hit 6:41/mile. This can’t be right. Nonetheless, I’m going to pretend that it is and shout, “Woohoo! Look at me and my Kenyan-fast legs!”
  • At about the Mile 3 mark on the trail, I saw bikes coming my way. I assumed that it was just a family out for a ride together. Then I saw the dozens behind them. I’m willing to bet that there were 75 bikes coming at me. The last in the line was a guy with a custom trike, decked out with high-powered amps, blasting “Jump Around” by House of Pain. Welcome back to the ’90s, everyone!

Because of the holiday weekend, we were on our own for the long Saturday run. I had thought that I had to do 10 miles solo, but that was the mileage recommendation for one of the marathon groups. Half marathoners were only in for eight miles, I realized with relief on Friday night.

For me, there are only two ways to do a long solo run: have someone meet me at a target endpoint at an appointed time, or have someone drop me off far from home and force me to run back. In this case, my run had to be early enough to beat the early September heat (a 90-degree day), but late enough that it could strategically match up with either the start or finish of my kiddo’s swim lesson, one town over.

Juicy green grapes in the morning light.

After the A’s game on Friday night, I sat down with my computer and mapped a route to the Starbucks that’s over in the Livermore vineyards. Good news: scenic. Bad news: a gradual uphill, facing directly into the rising sun, and only six miles according to Google Maps. At 11:30 PM, I plotted a course that had a little extra loop at the start to add another mile, backtracked my start time from my necessary pre-swim finish time, and went to bed.

When morning came, and I stumbled groggily out of bed, it appears that I completely forgot about the extra loop. Also, Google Maps overestimated the route by 0.25 miles, which means that I only ran 5.75 miles. Damn.

The boys met me at the aforementioned Starbucks, and as I plopped down on the ground next to their patio table, my Tiny Training Assistant said, “Don’t worry. I’ll stretch you out some more when we get home, Mom.” It’s good to have someone looking out for my tired legs!

I also learned that I can’t scarf down a banana and peanut butter and immediately head out the door to run. Digestion time is good. That banana felt like it was parked in my esophagus for the first three miles. Blech.

Resting after my run.

As it turned out, shortchanging my miles might not have been a bad thing. We headed down to Santa Cruz for a day on the beach with our friends, and because it was Labor Day weekend, I had to park half a mile away. I walked down to the beach, shuffled across the sand (Oh, hello calf muscles! Yes, I can feel you) just in time for the kiddo to say, “But where’s my kite?” Back across the sand and up the hill to the car. I’m pretty sure that between beach walking and general all-around mileage, I more than met my eight mile equivalent.

And I feel like I should offer an addendum to a recent post. Remember my discussion of porta potties? The one where I foolishly suggested that permanent bathrooms with running water were the best thing ever? I had not yet been to Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz (a lovely beach, mind you). I took the boy to use the bathroom and as we walked into the first one, we quickly realized that just because you CAN flush doesn’t mean that anyone necessarily has in this decade. Or even aimed for the toilet itself. The boy took a step backward, gagged and almost cried. And that one was the GOOD bathroom. I’m pretty sure that one contained a dead body, based on the overpowering stench alone; I didn’t stick around to find out.

I also found a lovely house in Santa Cruz — nothing ostentatious — that I’d love to have if I had a spare $1.65 million hidden in my mattress. And it’s close enough to Seabright Beach that I could go home to use the bathroom.

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One Response

  1. Nancy says:

    Ooooo … I had a swim coach a while back who trotted out fartlek workouts now and then.
    Hated. Them.

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