Sunday, March 18, 2007

Freaking Out & St. Patrick's Day 10K

I guess this is completely normal for the taper phase of training. But I am seriously wigging. Work has been super stressful. Combine that with lack of exercise and you get one very unhappy Rachel.

I gave a horrible lab meeting on Tuesday. Didn't have enough time to work on it since the recent departure of a coworker has more than quadrupled my workload. Add the conference in Borrego Springs from last week and it boiled down to 24 hours of cramming for the meeting. I was very fatigued and blundered my way through it but my confidence has been dashed...again. Needless to say, work has been stressful. Crying a lot. Lots of negative thinking.

I know it will get better. Gotta keep at it. Day by day. I have great friends and a great husband. Jason has been very helpful and supportive. But this next year is going to be tough. Why did I choose such a particularly stressful career?

Last week, I had a very solid week and was able to complete almost all my planned workouts. The desert (Anza Borrego) was very hot and dry so I ended up having to cut my bike short (40 miles instead of 60) but it was still a good effort. Also, I didn't get my ocean swim in but I did one the week before, and I can get in the ocean a few times before race day so it's all good. I did notice some pretty significant fatigue towards the end of the week. I've also been feeling a little burned out. I get overwhelmed when I think about long workouts. I think I'm walking that overtraining edge. However, we managed a fantastic 14 mile run last Sunday (3/11), which felt like a solid accomplishment (and the farthest I've ever gone).

Only problem is that I tweaked my right knee. I could feel it during the run, especially after mile 10 but the endorphins masked the pain superbly. When I stopped, I could barely walk and was having a hard time trying to jog across the street for brunch. I'm pretty sure it's related to my weak hip abductors/IT band/stabilizer muscles. I've been to a physical therapist before for related injuries. It's all about biomechanics. Plus, it's on the outside of the knee--usually an IT thing. I was pretty worried about it. Kept it elevated the rest of the day with ice on it and took massive doses of ibuprofen. Continued ice and ibuprofen through Wednesday. Got a deep tissue massage on Monday. Ouch! Really helped though. Think it's feeling a lot better. However, I've been very conservative. Haven't really tried it out yet.

So Monday and Tuesday were well-earned days off. Wednesday, I had a terrific 30 mile bike up the coast. Felt terrific. Unfortunately, Thursday and Friday were unintential days off. I felt completely frazzled and tired and honestly didn't feel like it. Saturday, we did a St. Patrick's Day 10K (, which was fantastic. It was the first time I ran since my long run last week. I was really worried about my knee. It felt stiff the first 2 miles, then it warmed up and felt fine for the next 2. Last 2, I could feel a twinge in the knee, which never escalated above a 3 (on a 1-10 pain scale; last weekend, it reached a 6.5-7 at it's worst) and would phase in and out. I actually sprinted at the end and felt really good afterwards. Plus, I was really happy with my time--finished in ~55:00, which meant I was able to maintain just about 9 min/mile pace. This is actually an improvement for me, believe it or not! I've gotten so slow with all the LSD training; I was happy I could eek out some speed. (I've been icing and ibuprofen-ing my knee again to play it safe).

All in all, I'm really disappointed with this week. I keep beating myself up more for not doing more workouts. I only biked once and ran once! I know this is the taper but that's ridiculous. On the other hand, maybe I needed the time. I had really been pushing it and I was tired, mentally and physically. Maybe this will ensure that I will be well-rested. I can't build any more fitness in these past few weeks anyway but I can tire myself out and injure myself. Plus, my training has been VERY consistent. Probably more than what I need. On the other hand, I'm sure I can lose fitness if I don't maintain.

As you can see, I'm a little stir-crazy right now. I'm very good at freaking myself out. My instinct tells me I'm on track. I was listening to my body and needed the rest, especially since I'd been walking that overtraining line.

Here's my plan: For this next week, I will focus on maintaining the same frequency of workouts to ease my mind but will back off on the duration to allow my body to rest. Basically, a maintenance week where I will cut to 50% of my hardest week, which will be about 7 hours. I'll keep my swimming up since that's pretty gentle on the body. Also, I'll still bike 3x but my weekend ride will only be 40 miles. I still want to do weights 1-2x this week but will make sure it's in the maintenance phase and refrain from going all out. I will also do them earlier in the week since I will not do any weights the final 10 days before race day. For my runs, since my knee has been aching, I will back off to 2 shorter runs for this week, a 4 mile, and a 6-8 miler (6 if the knee hurts; 8 it if it feels good).

Monday: swim am; bike pm. Tuesday: weights am; run (track) pm. Wednesday: swim am; bike (spin trainer) pm. Thursday: weights am; ocean swim pm. Friday: off (massage). Saturday: 40 mile bike. Sunday: 6-8 mile run.

The following Monday-Friday will be the final days before race day (Saturday, March 31st). I will do lots of rest with only very short workouts to keep my mind at ease and my muscles loose. I plan on doing 2 very short swims, 1 short 15 mile bike, and 1 short 3 mile run with the run and bike being earlier in the week. No weights but lots of Yoga and stretching and a massage on Wednesday.

Other race prep stuff: Bike is going in for a tune up this week. I'm also getting a new pair of running shoes this week and have already made a list of things I need to pack for race day as well as a detailed hour-by-hour schedule for race day. Looks like I will be getting up between 3 and 3:30 am! I have lots more details about the race itself that I've gotten from other pros in the area that have raced it before. Gotta love living near the race venue! Anway, I'm totally freaked and extremely excited. It's coming fast. Not only that, but it keeps my mind off work!


Anonymous said...

Hang in there, you're almost there :-)

Kate said...

Soo close! I am really excited for you. Dont sweat the taper- but you know that!

jameson said...

I am getting pretty stoked about the race too... My taper started today. I am sure I will start questioning whether I have done enough, but it's too late to really think about that now. You gotta trust the plan and show up fresh and ready to throw down.

Tammy said...

Sounds like a good plan... you'll be fine! As for the stressful career, don't put yourself in a box. You aren't 'stuck', you can decide that you can react differently to the stress, or you can make a change. Anything is possible... Just look at me! :) -not that I deal w/stress well, but I made a major career change.

Thinking of you, and sending you some positive vibes :D

RunBubbaRun said...

Tapering for a big race is always hard. But you have done the pysical work. Time to work on the race mentally without driving yourself crazy to much..

Exciting times..

ps. remember don't try anything new before the race at this point, even shoes..

jp said...

doesn't tapering suck. All this excess energy just boiling over.....hang in there. Trust you've done the work (which you have) and have fun with it. It's going to be a blast on race day!

Lance Notstrong said...

Trust your body. It knows what you need.

Mon said...

I'm sending you positive vibes! It stinks being in that type of mood.