The Best Tempo That Ever Was

No better place to start than with last week's mileage recap:

Monday:        0
Tuesday:       11.9
Wednesday:  12.3
Thursday:      12
Friday:          11.8
Saturday:       4
Sunday:        19.3
total:            71. something

This week started out with lead-legs.  I attempted a track workout of 400s and 800s on Tuesday, but after two 400 repeats where I struggled to hit 1:26, I decided it wasn't my day and moved along.

Wednesday was 3x2 miles at 7:00ish pace, with a mile relaxed in between each.  Just for funsies, and because I still couldn't get my legs to run anything faster than 7:00 minute miles.

Thursday was relaxed.

And then Friday, I ran The Best Tempo That Ever Was.

In the history of every amazing tempo run that has been documented on this blog, I have always, without fail, had to stop the tempo between the 2nd and 4th mile to stretch out my leg lock.  When the leg starts dying, I give it a quick hamstring stretch and piriformis release and then I'm off, feeling fine, for about another 1-2 miles.  repeat.

On this 6 mile tempo, I got the urge at mile 3.  STOP.  STRETCH ME NOW.  I can't bend right.  Please stretch me?

But I ignored it.  And I got through 6 miles straight, at a pace that came out of fuckin' nowhere for me, and I didn't stop.  Not once.  A real tempo.  All mine.

6:22; 6:20; 6:14; 6:13; 6:19; 6:19

Delicious.  I could stare at that workout recap all night.

I didn't even feel like I worked for it.  None of that flushed dizzy tingle that sticks with you after a hard workout.  Did it even happen? What? Why can't I feel this good every run? How can I replicate this at a race?

The last 1/2 mile my leg was "locking up" badly and pleading for a stretch, but I got through it, and then stretched, and then felt like my normal self.  Whatever is wrong with my leg, it doesn't like speed, but is also very temporary.

I ran this at the track. Tempo cheating in some respects.  It's so easy to fly around that soft flat thing.  Outside lane = a little under 21 laps.

May sound dizzying to you, but I really enjoy it.  I am far too self-conscious to run tempos out in the wide open where people stare and yell "BITCH!" or "booty!" at me for running by quickly.  Both have happened.  Another example: whenever the Gentleman and I used to run sprint repeats around the lake, errrrrybody had something to say.  "Don't let her beat you!" or "Go get him!"  Sooooo the track is my preferred safe place to run fast without the looks or the commentary.

Speaking of leg-lock, I had a sports therapy appointment today.  The doctor prodded at me, made me sweat with pain, put my leg to the test, and declared a huge knot in my butt (on the leg-lock side) which he released, and that my fast-twitch muscles aren't working. This makes other "wrong" muscles engage when I run fast, and then they fatigue quickly, hence, leg-lock.  Perhaps leg-lock is more appropriately called, "leg that weakens because it is using the wrong muscles to run fast."  This does explain why I can run 20 slow miles (slow twitch fibers) without a grimace, but 2 miles at a fast pace always makes my leg die.  Perhaps this white girl needs to look into ultras and give up on speed.  Hm.

He did say words that were magic to my ears: it's nothing permanent.  Whatever it is can be fixed.

Prescription: plyometrics and balancing exercises.  Then re-visit the doctor to discuss.  I do a lot of balancing exercises.  Plyometric recommendations are welcome! Get my fast-twitch fibers going please!

Saturday: 4 easy miles with the Gentleman so I could get on the road to meet my 2-day old nephew! My sister popped out another future BFF for me.

He's pretty boring right now compared to my 2 year old niece who I tricked into running towards me with a hug every time she sees me.  It's THE. BEST.

She was sick :(  

Sunday: Guess I DID like my last run through crowded San Francisco, because I found my way back to the City! I sliced through Golden Gate park after getting off BART, ran into blog-reader-and-lawyer Jen (which was fabulous.  We both stopped at the same water fountain; I thought she was giving me a side-eye and was like "promise I won't steal all the water!"; then she introduced herself and all was right in the world.)

It was fun but 19 City miles are tiring, all those hills! I also fell into stride with a parade of pink ladies walking for The Cure, so was followed by pink tutus and boom-boxes blaring J-Lo for much of the miles.  Seems like a neat event.

In just a fortnight I will be running my first race in over 3 months! (Not actually a fortnight -- more like 5 days -- but you know what sounds cooler? Fortnight.)

I was not excited for this race (the San Jose RnR half marathon) a week ago.  Feeling slower than usual, and knowing that I would experience the same old issues with racing and my left leg, I was dreading a new personal worst.

But, now with that very confidence-boosting tempo run and the magical words of a doctor (and the torture he put me through), I'm excited.

It would have to be a PERFECT day for a PR--like, 50 degrees, feel as peppy as I did during that tempo.  Of course, the forecast is 83 degrees.  I'm entirely sick of it.  My last three races (Napa marathon, Oakland half, See Jane Run half) were all on relatively hot days.  I disintegrate trying to race in the heat.  These 3 races are part of why I lost the spark to race recently.

Still looking forward to Sunday...I have to remember to enjoy it since apparently I only do this once every 4 months now.

So much more to talk about.  On the bench I have my favorite new place to run in Oakland; a wedding recap; another round of ShittyBlogger; my evolving stand-up station at work; top 100 photos of Miley Cyrus's tongue; and as discussed on twitter, a post about tabby cats.  See you soon!