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MCM Training: Week 6: Habit

Last week's training was an odd mix of new habits, a now old injury, and, ultimately, success.

I started off the week with an early-morning run on Monday. This was a feat in itself, as I don't believe I've ever gotten up specifically to run, before work, on a Monday. But I'm trying something new. I've learned, much to my amazement, that I run better in the mornings. And it's cooler outside. And I have more time in my evenings. Except that, if I want to make this a regular habit, I have to go to bed around 10pm, which is another new thing. But I'm liking my new early-to-rise, early-to-bed routine. I feel like a more successful, more grown-up human being.

But the effort of getting up early on Monday was apparently too much to carry into an early run Tuesday, so I had to do my "medium" run (8 miles) in the evening. Even after waiting until 7:30pm to start, the heat of the day was still lingering in the air, so I really had to push myself through the run and drink a lot of water, which always makes me feel more sluggish. This reaffirmed my decision to move to early-morning runs as much as possible.

Also on Tuesday, I woke up with what I believe is a pinched nerve near my left scapula. This is about the fourth time it's happened this year, and it only happens in my sleep. The first time it happened, I couldn't move my head without feeling pain in my neck/shoulder/back region, and I went to daily chiropractic appointments for a week to help heal it. I'm not entirely sure those treatments worked, as the next couple of times it happened I just took it easy for a week, and the pain mostly subsided. And I've learned that running doesn't seem to affect the problem; in fact, I feel it helps a bit, perhaps because it warms the muscles. But I'm still hesitant to do any kind of weight training, so I opted to skip CrossBoot Wednesday night and instead went for a bike ride. That may not have been the best idea, because afterward I was in some pain, probably from my posture on the bike, which I'm still not sure is right.

Thursday's run was supposed to be 4 miles, but because I had a long, exhausting day, I only managed 2 in the evening. Such is life sometimes.

By Friday, I was feeling better, so I did some light weight-training at the gym right after work. I wanted to get some in for the week, but I didn't want to do so much that I'd be hurting on my long run the next morning.

Which brings me to my long run. I think I had a lot, mentally, riding on this run. I hadn't completed my long run in the previous week, and that made me nervous for the next one. I was afraid I might start failing at all of them and perhaps not be able to do my training, and consequently not be able to do the marathon. Those are the thoughts I need to learn to quiet. Because I did my long run--all 17 miles of it. Granted, I woke up 1.5 hours later than I'd wanted to, even after setting the four inspirational (?) alarms:

I suppose the fact that I was just going to bed at 11:59pm did not bode well for an early rise. So with a 6:30am start, and counting several breaks for water/stretching, I was pretty much out running until close to 10am. I managed to avoid much of the sun that was out for most of my run by running south on Bayshore toward the air force base and staying out there for the majority of my miles. Just past Gandy (where Bayshore becomes Interbay), the shade starts, and it lasts mostly up to the base, and then right at the base there is a paved trail about 1.5 miles long. I circled this several times, as it was largely shaded, too. This left me with only 5 miles to run back to my finishing spot, only about 3 of which were on the exposed (to the sun) part of Bayshore. But those were some HOT miles. Hot enough to motivate me to get up on time next time--I hope.
After my run, I made a protein drink for improved recovery. This is also a new habit I'm trying to incorporate after long or hard workouts. I've actually wanted to do it for a while, but I couldn't find a product I really wanted to use, as most of the protein powders out there contain soy or whey, which I try to avoid because of sensitivities. But I upon reading a blog post from Matt of No Meat Athlete, I found what I'd been not very actively looking for:

Basically a vegan, no-known-allergen formula. I'm not truly a vegan, but I lean vegan, I guess I would say. It was not bad, considering the ingredients and the vanilla flavor together. I added almond milk, ice, and honey--just in case. I don't think I have the right ratio down for a "smoothie" texture yet, but hopefully I'll get there.

I ended my week with another 12-mile bike ride and then a 2-hour Yoga for Runners workshop, which was just what I needed! My long-run recover was one of the best I've had, so I hope to keep a similar routine in the future, although I may also be adding ice baths--yikes!

The following week's training (already in progress) has so far included speed work--much to my chagrin--more early rises, and will soon include a new core yoga class and the inevitable long run--this time 18 miles. Stay tuned to read all about it!


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