Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Systematically kicking booté

If you want to kick booté (or booty; I just had to rub it in, Steve Q, how easy it is to make accents on European keyboards), you need to have a plan. Or, like me, a good coach. Despite just running the 50 miler 11 days ago, I had my fastest mile intervals yet. I'm telling you, 3 hard runs (one long, one tempo and one set of intervals) a week is still working for me.

My running coach, SR, has been on my case for weeks now to run my miles without a Garmin. "When you're nearing the end of you're mile, you look like a complete idiot the way you waste your energy checking your Garmin," he says. I am grateful for my daily dose of humility. Today my Garmin ran out of battery. Luckily I have memorized where the miles end and know the lines on the bike path by heart. I was afraid I would go more slowly, being unaware of my pace, but the exact opposite was true.

My first mile was 6:22, tied with my mile PR. The second was uphill and 6:36. Third, holding steady at 6:29. After the fourth at 6:49, I was feeling a bit wiped, but saw a female runner run by me right after I stopped. I gave her a 3 minute head start and then took off after her in my fourth interval along the same route. I wasn't sure I could catch her, but as I reached the half way point, there she was. God, I pushed it. If I was going to pass her, I wanted to pass her at the fastest speed she had ever seen a female run in her life. So I did pass her, visibly and audibly struggling, and then at the end of the 6:36 mile, my legs were shaking so much that I fell over into the dirt. As she passed me, she looked kindly and inquisitively and said "Det ser hårdt ud." Literally, "that looks hard out". The Danes. I was complete toast for the last mile and could only do a 7:04. But how pleased I was that this was my best average time yet!

The summary:

6 x 1 mile:

The Nike Test Half Marathon is this Sunday. My preview and plan for how to run a steady pace and PR will be the subject of my next post. In other news...

Running Blog Prostitution

Have any of you run across blog posts that resemble the following: "I have received a year's supply of compression running tights direct from the wonderful company, _________ , I will enter you in a drawing to win one pair if you visit said company's website, tell which product of theirs you like best and then add yourself as a follower to my blog." Am I the only one who throws up in their mouth upon reading this? I have read another almost carbon copy blog post, offered by a different blogger, this time sponsored by GU. Let me just say, if I were so lucky to out of the blue receive a year's supply of GU, I would enjoy it, share it with SR and give it or send to all of my closest running friends. Luring in superficial followers to my blog doesn't excite me quite as much. So running companies, you've had fair warning. These gimmicks are crap. I am no whore, at least not in the blog world.

Running song of the day: DJ by Alphabeat (if you listen carefully to this guy's amazing Danish accent, you may understand how I ended up here)


SteveQ said...

"at least in the blog world" you're not a whore, eh? Yet you still tease me with your accent (the one in boote', not that quasi-jutlandshouldbegerman spoken accent of yours).

I just sent you a rough draft of my chapter for your book. You can leave payment on the dresser on your way out.

BTW, welcome to my world of sprint and eat dirt!

cherelli said...

Ha I like Steve Q's sense of humor :)
I have a question re your last post (which I enjoyed). I'm wondering what is the hormonal effect of hard exercise (re endorphins, adrenaline, cortisol perhaps) on the body's hormones re: fertility? Is there not a chance it could impact the thyroid or pituitary and therefore the estrogen/progesterone levels? I'm told it's more and more common for women to have sub-clinical hypothyroid (ok I'm one) which can cause issues of fertility. And whilst it's only one variable of many possible ones, I'm wondering if increased exercise makes women more predisposed to this reduced thyroid function eg. my extended family's history and ability to fall pregnant has been second to none - until my sister and I came along - we are both athletes, both healthy BMI, regular periods...both still TTC with all bar the thyroid given the a-ok...anyway I'm not a doctor, just wondering...? Good luck in the Nike run!

cherelli said...

PS. No one else in the family would ever consider themselves "athletic" hence the difference between my sister and I and them....

sea legs girl said...

You were one of the people I thought of when I wrote that last post. But to be honest, this question is a little out of my league. I will say that stress can cause irregular menstrual cycles and that stress in itself raises cortisol, which I would not doubt impact fertility. But I personally have not seen evidence that strenuous exercise in itself reduces fertility. And evolutionarily and medically it does not make sense to me that it would. BUT, I have looked at lot more into the pregnancy issue than the fertility one. I will look it up on PubMed tomorrow and see if I can't learn more. But for a definitive answer to exactly how and to what degree it impacts fertility, I may need to defer to an endocrinologist.

PiccolaPineCone said...

throwing up... in your mouth? oh yuck, that's an image I'll carry with me for awhile.
I am really impressed with your recovery from the 50 miler. What, if anything, is the secret? How many days did you take completely off after race day? I am still toast from my 12 km (how pathetic!). So... are you almost ready to post your marathon prediction?

Danni said...

I need to start incorporating more quality.

It annoys me too when people schill crap on their blogs and it's because they're being sponsored. Hardly seems unbiased.

sea legs girl said...

Steve Q, I don't recall writing anything about a "boote'". Or were you referring to "booté"?

I found a really great Norwegian study, the 2009 Physical activity and fertility in women: the North-Trøndelag Health Study by Godmondsdottir (spelled differently and not related to Björk). Excercising any amount, even every day, gives less chance of infertility than no exercise at all. BUT women who excercise frequently "to the point of exhaustion" have a 2.3 x odds ratio of infertility. They DID NOT control for BMI or menstrual irregularity. So there are some unanswered questions, but an interesting study. I would just add that if I were to fill out a survey like this, I would never say I excercise "to the point of exhaustion" because I feel so envigorated at the end. Makes me wonder if these women aren't suffering from another health problem.

Piccola, I am also wondering what the secret to my recovery was. I ran a 26 minute 5k and swam 40 laps 2 days after the race, feeling awesome. I have run every day since then, though only 2 hard days. As I have said before, the recovery time is shortened after each ultra.

Danni, I did write that post because I wanted to see more frickin' quality out of your blog. I'm kidding of course and just had to write the extremely dorky word, frickin'.

Anonymous said...

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olga said...

Crap, I freaking hate it when I am ready to post a comment and hit some key that deletes all of my thoughtful writings!!!
Lets try again, with less enthusiasm. SLG, if you puke, collapse in a dirt and have legs shaking badly - you ARE getting yourself to exhaustion.
As far as I am aware, watching elite runners and reading about many of their training, interval repeats are supposed to get faster with time progression, and they don't really "drop dead" on them.
Correct me if I am wrong, but the idea behind intervals is to keep them at even pace and be able to squeeze one more if needed. Puking and collapsing is for the race - what those elites usually do. What's the point of getting one PR in training and then forgoing the rest of the session in terms of quality?
What do I know, though? I only ran a 6:20 mile once, and it WAS in a race, on a 200m indoor track championship, 5 days after my first 50k, and I did kind of toppled over, but stayed upright and gained composure about 20 seconds later. It was a fun memory, one I'll never be able to reproduce:)
As for blog contacts - I get those emails rather very often, at times for products, and at times to post about upcoming events. I only do it if I believe in what I am writing about. And since I am pretty set on what I am using, there is no reason to post about new stuff - but if I like something, I have no problems saying it. And trust me, I don't talk about every company that provides me with stuff - I am pretty quiet about half of them, bless their little hearts:)

SteveQ said...

I give up. I even use "curriculum vitae" rather than "re(accent grave)sume(accent acute)." I suppose I'll have to learn to type some day.

cherelli said...

Thanks SLG...I'm actually starting to do a bit more exercise this week because I see your point...something else may be going on...and it feels so good to have more oxygen moving through my lungs and body :) Soon my pants and I will stop fighting hopefully too!!

sea legs girl said...

Olga, I'm so glad you persisted in writing despite the hardship. I have had that happen WAY too many times with the accidental comment erase. Anyway, you are probably right that most women interpreted "exhaustion" the same way you did, though I would like to know the word they used in Norwegian. Anyway, I WAS exhausted after Hells Hills. Make no mistake.

Steve Q, it is now official that it is a GOOD thing you can't use accents on you computer, since you don't know how to use them anyway. It is résumé and not rèsumé (there is no accent grave! Only aigu.)

Cherelli, this is a tough issue. I shouldn't claim to be any sort of expert. But at the same time, I am happy you're going to get more into exercising, because I know you love it. Do it because you enjoy it and it feels good. And if that IS exactly what you do, I refuse to believe it will lower your chances of pregnancy.

Sometimes I wish a fertility expert would chime in with a comment...

Helen said...

Sitting on the ferry to from Holyhead to Dublin, 24 hours after leaving Amsterdam by train (having flown overnight from Mpls), I am writing my first draft of the story for your book!

It seems more like a run though childhood memories than a running route story but I'll send along soon anyway and see what you think!


Also, good post! I agree with Olga that you need to start calling this speedwork and not interval training :) But great job! Gotta love that so soon after the 50 miler.

sea legs girl said...


Oh, that makes me so happy. Sounds like exactly what I had in mind for the book. I am glad you are enjoying it!

Good thing you flew out of Amsterdam and not Copehangen since our airport is closed due to the Ejfjallajokull volcano on Iceland.

What are you doing back in Europe again?