Intervals have never been a thrilling thing for me. I think of them more like a chore that I'm not good at, but I really need to get done to have fun in the marathon. As much as I'd like to think downhill running faster than my body can handle is good speed work, I know that there's no real substitution for gutting it out on a flat road or track and running times that are unapologetic/inexcusable/non-bs. Although I probably will still make excuses, they don't really matter, all that matters is that I put in a good effort level for 3-10 miles or quality speed work in a controlled setting.
That said, I did my first interval work of the summer last tuesday:
9 x 400 workout (75 74 74 74 69 68 66 64 58) -structure triax
I was pretty fresh and ready to run (the weekend was on the shorter side). I felt fine and was doing it on a straightaway, so I really had no clue of the halfway mark for pacing, and ended up running faster than I anticipated on the last few.
Wednesday was off, and Thursday I did a tempo at temescal running the downhills hard. Friday was the start of my 3 day assault on my body:
Thurs/Fri: Went to sleep at 1030PM, woke up at 130AM for volunteer work at the LAX USO from 2-6am. When I'm at the USO, I usually nosh on bagels and cookies. I got home and ran 27 miles in 3:23 (7:33 pace) along the bike path with wood chips in the middle miles 7-10, and 16-19. I ended up negative splitting by 4 minutes even with the hills at the end, so overall that was a decent effort. I went to work all day, watched "Uncle Buck" with KS over a 5 mushroom pizza, got to sleep at 2am
Fri/Sat: Woke up at 6am (7.5 hours on the weekend), to go run 20 miles around the flat wetlands in 2:39 (7:55 pace) before heading into work from 10-6. I ate more pizza, and a 5x5 burger from in-n-out. I headed out to the Avett brothers show with AB and TN and had an amazing time dancing to some awesome bluegrass (although i wanted to fall asleep between sets). After the after concert stuff, I fell asleep around 3am.
Sat/Sun: I woke up at 730am (12 hours of sleep on the weekend), and got ready for a beastly climb up Coral Canyon road with a big turkey and swiss omlette and bagel/cream cheese. To put it in perspective once more, these are miles 48-63 on the weekend of 12 hours of sleep over 3 nights, no slower pace in the last 47 miles/2 runs than 7:55, and it the 16 mi on sunday included a 5mi/2k climb on pavement in the middle of the day with temps in the high 80's. I did the run, and ran the entire uphill in :59 minutes, 2:33 for 16.4 miles (9:20 pace).
SO, what's my point about the boring details of this weekend? Though there are runners who do this training fairly regularly, for me this was: 1) Sleep deprivation 2) No vegetables/poor diet 3) no recovery day = system failure imminent.
I got an infection on Saturday, and by Monday it required antibiotics. The Dr. said that basically my body was cutting less necessary processes to accommodate my running, and I was giving it no support with vitamins or probiotics. It made sense; on Sunday when my legs felt relatively fine, my body felt empty and spent. I really couldn't have told you that I was at my limit, but getting sick proved I was. The infection was a definite sign that I was not fending off something that should be easily deflected by my body.
In our world today, there's some really terrible food. Food Inc comes out tomorrow and is a perfect example of my problem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXmF_erEv1o Though our food is cheaper and more abundant than ever, there's a lot of things in it that weaken our immune systems. Currently, most food in restaurants doesn't provide enough vitamins/minerals and has too many saturated fats that weaken our cardiovascular systems. A tomato isn't a tomato, it's picked early halfway around the world, gassed to ripen, and presented as a tomato in the supermarket. When you examine human performance on grossly inorganic foods, you see some really interesting things start to happen.
I'm cutting most fast food, upping my veggie and vitamin intake, and am going to start taking probiotics to keep my immune system up to snuff. I don't think I really knew what I was doing before trying to fill my calorie needs with whatever was available, but now I REALLY see the needs of that natural diet that Dean talks about. I think our bodies are capable of amazing things, but there are limits to how much they can do with how much we give them. Everything from organic chicken breast over juicy beef to frozen yogurt over ice cream contributes to my true health. If you want more of an explanation, you can ask me all about it, but I really recommend you take my word for it and save yourself from needless pain and decreases in performance.
Oh, and I took monday off, ate some salmon, and ran today (tuesday).
+6x800m on a sandy bike path in the AM in my nb769's (2:45 :40 :35 :30 :30 :35)
+2.1 mi time trial in the evening in 11:14.