Tag Archives: chafing

Intervals in the Rain & Race Plans

Last night was my third intervals workout. It was pouring when I got home and changed to go running, but aside from one wistful thought of taking the day off, it didn’t deter me. There was, however, a frantic search for Body Glide because I’ve learned my lesson the hard way about water, warm days, and friction.

I set out, feeling foolish in my sunglasses, but unwilling to run without them because I feel squinty and stupid without glasses. The rain didn’t let up for my entire warmup mile; I was soaked to the bone in seconds. When you’re just wearing wicking fabric and 5″ running shorts that’s not a huge amount of soaked, but still! I ran out of my neighborhood and along a 4 mile route I use a lot, letting the Garmin beeps tell me when to start a 400m interval and when to stop and walk a 60s rest.

The first couple intervals I pushed too hard. I didn’t look down at my watch, as I’m trying to become more aware of pace and to use my Garmin to supplement, not replace, my own body knowledge (more on the conflict between instinct and data later).  The rain continued for the first couple intervals, though once I was soaked, I didn’t care. It’s refreshing to feel not only that I can defeat the elements, but that I can ignore them.

Around interval 5, I ran west along Savage Road, and the sun came out and shone fully in my face, drying everything except me. I was grateful for the sunglasses (which I had been cursing just a minute before, because they were so soaked I couldn’t see through them) and tried to enjoy the run.

Later analysis shows that my first interval was fine, but my second interval was an excessive 6:49 pace, a 1:42 1/4 mile split! And then after that they steadily slid, a few seconds at a time, to 9:00 paces for the last of 8.

I don’t want to burden too little data with too much evaluation, so I think I just ran too hard early and didn’t have enough left to give as intervals 7 & 8 came up. While my 10k is this Saturday, my Speedwork Summer is just beginning, and I think training my body is going to be a great challenge. Of course, I also need to keep piling on the miles, because this interval workout represented the 400mile mark for the year for me. That means that if I stay on this course, 2011 could be an 800 mile year.

The Solstice Run this weekend is going to be fun, and I am looking at other races to sign up for. Later this year I’ll be visiting the Boston area for a college friend’s wedding, and was considering running the Providence Rock & Roll half marathon. It is the morning of the wedding, and I’d be driving to the race in the morning, and then all the way back to Boston before getting dressed up to celebrate Matt’s wedding. It’s in low lying Providence, in the heat of summer. And if I register right now, it’ll cost me $105. Steep price, lot of driving, lot of heat or humidity.

However, it’s got advantages too! I would get to run it with my mother-in-law, who’s crazily eager to have me run a race with her. It’s a R&R Half Marathon, so it’s got music every mile, a crazy cool medal with “Inaugural Providence 1/2 Marathon” on it, and it would get me one step closer to a 13.1 magnet for my car (Steph says I can’t have one until I run THREE half marathons!).

I do think I’m going to sign up for the Detroit Half in the fall. It’s right around the corner, and the ‘international run’ gimmick (the course goes over the ambassador Bridge and back in through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel) seems like a good story to tell.

I can’t seem to find a 5k I’m excited about running. I may do the Detroit Zoo again, but that’s way off in September, and I want to see if I can record a 28min 5k time long before that. But browsing for 5k’s is hard, because there are just so many! Charities, town celebrations, holidays, one through a graveyard (!?), costume ones. And I want one with chip timing and a certified course, because I go to races for the air of authority and officialness! As a novice I assumed this was completely standard, but the aforementioned graveyard run is… uncertified and I think a ‘tear tag’ system. That’s, as far as I can tell, one step above setting the course length by a guy taking 6561 steps and recording finish time by the approximate position of the sun.

Doing good and running poorly

Yesterday my work group volunteered at a soup kitchen in downtown Detroit. Ford allows us to spend 16 hours of company time per year on volunteer tasks. Joe, the white-haired Maltese man who runs the kitchen for St. Leo’s Catholic Church, joked that with 12 engineers on hand to make beef stew, that it was some costly beef stew being made that morning.

The work was light with so many hands, especially since a church group from Wisconsin was also there, spending the whole week volunteering. We chopped vegetables, sliced beef, opened cans of every imaginable vegetable and assembled it all, split in half, into two huge stock pots over the kitchen range. Joe is a personality to be remembered, constantly singing out “I need a man, I need a woman” and calling us all ‘you’ in place of attempting to learn names when no doubt he sees dozens of differing volunteers a week. Six days a week, he and a few older church-goers put together quite an outreach program in the basement of St. Leo’s church. They have clothes & personal article donations, a library, legal services, doctors, dentists and all of it centered around the soup kitchen.

It was only a days work, but it was better than other things I’ve volunteered to do. I am not professing any great merit or revelation, but it felt good to help Joe make that stew and feed the hundred or so people who came. Doing something good gave me a lot to think about.

After the kitchen closed, I was free to go home a bit early. I had missed my long run on Sunday because my Cedar Point adventure on Saturday had left my body tired and sore. I laced up, dressed up and set out the door with the camelbak and 3 Gus, knowing I could easily run 10 miles in 2 hours.

It didn’t turn out to be quite so easy, though. I kept an 11:30 pace, which is downright sluggish for me of late. The warmth of the day gave way to summer storm showers which left me drenched, and then again to sunshine. That combination of dousing and drying gave me a vicious challenge. As I approached about a mile from home the heat hit me with finality and I ended up in the attractive outfit of camelbak + shorts + garmin chest strap with my water- and sweat-soaked shirt clutched in my hand. The consequences of the dousing didn’t hit until I got home and sat down. While I was eagerly (Steph might say greedily…) drinking some recovery chocolate milk, I learned that I’d gotten my first case of awful chafing from the varying levels of wet. So for the remainder of the week ahead of my 10k on Saturday, I will be sitting sort of funny.

I had come to take for granted that I wasn’t too susceptible to chafing, but you’d better believe I will be more diligent now about the body glide. As for summer sun and exertion, I’ll just have to take my pace for what it is; the best I can do in the conditions.

I’m eager to run on Saturday, but I have to admit, I’m hoping for clouds!