I can totally tell that my fitness is getting sharp, because the fitter I am, the harder it is to get out of bed in the morning, pull myself out of a chair or haul my carcass out of my tiny car. By that measure, I'm the second coming of Dave Scott, because I'm stiff, sore, cranky and tired.
I blame Coach Kris (and I can only assume he will want some credit if I PR). He has not increased my training volume, but the volume and intensity of the running has ramped up, presumably getting me ready for the Cap Tex Olympic Distance Triathlon on Memorial Day. With Coach Kris' permission, I'll give you a little taste of the running of the hounds this past week or so.
Begin with Thursday night's track workout--nothing too crazy, just warmup, striders and then 8x400m above 5k pace with 200m recoveries. But add in the wussy factor, the liquid heat of Houston air, and the fact that I only max out at 185+ beats per minute on my heart rate, and the torture session looks something like this:
Two days later was the brick workout plus Mother's Day Mall Shopping in the jungle that I described here. Running off the bike in 91+ humid degrees is a unique pleasure here in the Gulf Coast.
Then was The Mother's Day Massacre--twice around the Rice Campus/Hermann Park Zoo loop with an added out and back to tack on time.
The workout was supposed to be 1:40:00 of long running with 3 to 4 times 6 minute intervals up into heart rate zones 4-5a. There are Five Zones? Sersly? Who knew?
When you're a long and slow diesel like me, that translates to "run harder until it kinda sucks a lot." Here's what that looks like:
I elected to do the intervals near the start of the run, relying on Scuba Steve and Coach T to join me for the last 45 minutes of the run to pull me through to the end.
Then, this morning was another rumble in the jungle. The weather was so schwetty in the Bayou City that my shoes were flinging water by the end of what I'll call the "Wonky 10K." The Holy Prophet of Training Peaks described the workout as "BT: Surges. Warm up. On a 10k course run 2 minutes (recover for 1 minute), 1 minute (recover 30 seconds), 30 seconds (recover 30 seconds) at ~5k pace. Repeat for entire course. Cool down."
Uhm, yeah. Cool down. This is Houston. Cool is not going to happen again until October.
I used a modified out and back on Buffalo Bayou:
And the data looks like this:
Scientifically, all those lines and the high heart rates translate to, "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" By about the 5th or 6th 2 minute interval, I was suffering acute booty lock when I tried to pick up the pace. And with an average heart rate above my anaerobic threshold, and a max hear rate in the 170s, it was a painful way to start the day--and not even that fast.
But I am told that that which does not kill me will only make me stronger. Apparently, Coach Kris is willing to test the hypothesis, although I am not yet sure whether I am getting the actual therapy or whether I am the "kill 'em" control group.
Thank goodness the taper has begun.