I made the right call missing Gran Fondo because after a weekend of ice and rest and pretty much "crushing it"at recovery (haha) I'm back just as strong as before. Its amazing how resilient the body is if you just let it rest.
Who turned up the heat?!
I've been pushing myself in the summer heat all last week. I've suffered through long solo runs in triple digit weather and an 88 mile bike ride that reached 90's even though we started at 6am. I felt for the two IMLP athletes that had to do over 100! Ouch. However, I do love running in the heat. Its really made me think about training. Its amazing how much the heat can slow a person down. I felt like I was running 8:30 pace and I looked down and my pace was 10:00! I also sought out the hilliest routes I could find since I knew I'd be running slow. It was still incredible to percieve one pace and see a totally different number on the Garmin watch. I've been talking to friends and my coaches and reading about the way heat can impact running- both during the run itself as well as the adaptations that take place. Its really so interesting how the body tries to cool you down, desperately, taking away from the ability to run. I was slightly worrying that all this slow running in the sun would make my legs slower over these hot weeks, but then realized I'm over thinking this. I love running in the heat, so I'm just going to keep on doing it. In the meantime, its been really fun hearing so many people tell me their opinions about how the heat affects them.
Sunday, I had a long endurance time trial to accomplish. This would be the first time I've swam that far and timed it too added excitement. It started off rocky as I overslept and then found out the indoor pool was closed from all the wild storms we've been having- the pool was damaged. However, they kindly opened the outdoor lap pool really early which was a rare treat. Normally that opens at 11 am and by that point my work out is over and the pool is spilling over with teenagers and cannonballing children with water guns. I finally arrived at the outdoor pool and was the first lap swimmer on deck... only to find there was a 30 minute delay in opening because although it was a beautiful cloudless sunny day, thunder was heard in the distance. I must say, I love my neighborhood gym. These people are so incredibly service oriented, warm hearted and supportive of me and my training. They've seen me come a long way from my first ever 10K training, and more recently last year's days in my sling sitting poolside sipping coffee in the morning watching the lap swimmers with yearning, to all my 4AM post bike wreck water jogs I squeezed in before PT, to my first tentative swim attempts last year to well...swimming faster and longer and stronger than I ever have before. The lifeguards and trainers and desk staff as well as the other gym members are wonderful people and although they do not train with me, they are an incredibly important part of my journey. They motivate me and inspire me and I'm so lucky to have found this place to train. They are a story for another day though. I digress, the lifeguard finally was kind enough to let me "safely" get in the pool and she promised to turn up their music so they'd be less likely to hear thunder (all jokingly, of course).
Off I went swimming in the sun. I found my rythm and I swam exactly where I had expected... actually a little bit faster than my zone 2 pace from last year's excel spreadsheet that I still have printed off. It felt like zone 2, but it was a few seconds faster per 100 yard. I felt strong and confident the whole way.
Then today, I got up early and swam another long set. This time it was 5,000 total meters- not all in a row but still it was a lot of work and felt.... Amazing. My 8 x 50's at the end were fast too, especially given the long set and arms that should have been exhausted but still felt strong enough to push. Now, I'm certainly not going to be first out of the water but this is fast "for me" and that makes me delightfully happy!