Hill grinding on the Bethpage trail

Not much happening at Bethpage this morning

Today’s run (Bethpage trail): 6.4 miles

I’ve been keeping busy on a big project that’s required long days on the laptop and phone. A combination of meetings and deadlines on Wednesday related to the project stole my scheduled window to run. I’d planned to go out for six miles as a final base workout prior to Sunday’s race. The idea was to end my taper with this run and spend today focusing on core or upper body. Losing my run window yesterday meant moving my last taper run to today. It was probably for the best, as I probably wouldn’t have done that core work anyway.

Running a six mile route around my neighborhood was not appealing, so I headed off to Bethpage to hit the trail. The weather was really cold when I arrived (29° degrees per my car’s display). I’d definitely dressed for freezing conditions, so I was comfortable at the start. As expected on a cold Thursday morning, the park was mostly empty. I took off south to start and noted that I felt good, but my leg muscles were a little tight. I hoped that would work out along the run but unfortunately it just got worse.

Despite yesterday’s break from running, my legs began to feel like lactic acid containers. I ran a mile south and then turned back the other way, reaching the big hill at around the 1.5 mile point. I’m sure it was due to my uncooperative legs, but climbing that hill seemed especially tough today. Once I passed the point where I started, I continued north to the newer extension.

I often complain about hills, so much so that a friend once told me to do more hill training and less whining. It was a little mean, but good advice. I like to think when I run at Bethpage I am training on the hills. On good days it feels rolling. But on other days (like today) it grinds me down. I went as far north as Old Bethpage Rd. before turning back toward my start and covered 6.5 miles in the process.

I don’t know why my legs were so unresponsive today. I was glad that this was practice and not a race. If I can I bounce back by the weekend, I may be able to improve on my performance at the Hope for Warriors 10K two weekends ago. Tomorrow I’ll try to do some walking to shake out the built up lactic acid that made today’s run so tough. I’m glad I put in some real mileage today. Hopefully it helped reinforce my 10K base for this Sunday.

The holiday is over but the humidity remains

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

The city is so quiet today it’s almost like working on Saturday. Yesterday’s holiday was short, but sweet. We had a nice 4th of July lunch and spent an active day outside, including a lot of pool time. I think all that fun, plus my surprisingly difficult treadmill run in the morning, has made me tired today. I’m not sure how I did it, but managed to get out for my run this morning.

The humidity at 4:00 AM was already insufferable and the breezes that pushed air from the south were not cooling. My legs felt heavy and I suspect that was due to lactic acid buildup from yesterday. I was able to maintain a steady stride but I knew I wasn’t moving very quickly. I remember reading that high humidity will erode your pace measurably. I took comfort in that when I saw that my elapsed time was a full minute longer than usual.

I’m hoping this weekend’s weather will be more conducive to running. The heat is fine but this humidity has got to stop. Of course it’s great training weather for the Dirty Sock 10K that always seems to happen on a weekend when the dew point approaches 80. But it’s a long time until that race. If conditions are hot and sunny on Saturday, I may head to the trails where the tree canopy provides some relief from the sun and the heat.

Spandex as an energy source

Zensah product shot

Yesterday’s workout (elliptical): 25 minutes

I’ve completed my training for Sunday’s race and now my challenge is holding back on activity until that event. I considered running this morning because I’m not convinced that two day’s rest provides any measurable advantage over just resting the day before. Still, I decided to stick with the taper plan. I’ve spent the last two weeks focusing on low intensity running and I don’t think I’ve broken 9:10 on any run since mid-October. What I have done since September’s Cow Harbor race is increase my base and I’m hoping that will make a difference this weekend.

Yesterday I returned to City Sports and bought a pair of Zensah calf/shin sleeves. This compression stuff isn’t cheap but compared with other brands like Zoot and CEP, the Zensah gear was more affordable. But $40 for stretchy leg warmers isn’t exactly what I’d call a bargain. These compression sleeves, made with spandex and nylon, are far more than that and I wore them for about five hours yesterday. I made my decision to buy the Zensah sleeves after talking to the sales person who was surprisingly knowledgeable about these products and their benefits, although she kept pronouncing lactic acid as “lasic acid.” I was tempted to buy full compression socks because  the foot wrap apparently helps flush lactic (or lasic) acid from the tendons in the foot. The cost just seemed too high and I tend to like the socks that I already own.

Last night, after I’d taken off the calf sleeves, my legs felt restless, or energetic, depending on how you look at it. I plan to wear these sleeves under my Nike compression pants during the race. I know the unwritten rule is never to race with gear that you haven’t previously used but I’m willing to take the chance. Restless or energetic legs are far better than the alternative.