Today’s guest blogger is Julie Clow, a TriForce team member who is training for her first Half IM race at the end of the summer. Like many members of the team, Julie faces the challenge of a hectic work schedule that includes frequent travel. When she told me she had the opportunity to spend a month in NYC we decided to take the challenge of training on the road and turn it into an opportunity to do something fun and address her weakness, the run.
When faced with the opportunity to go to New York for a month, I just couldn’t say no. This was a “work-cation” for me – a chance to hang out for a long stretch of time in Manhattan, working from the Google office, and just really enjoying the city. The downside, obviously, was that I would have no bike and no reliable place to swim. Thankfully, Kevin suggested that we focus on my running for the month. Given that a) this is my weakest sport and b) I could run anytime, anywhere in the city, his “30 runs in 30 days” idea seemed like the perfect challenge.
How it worked
The idea was to run every day, no breaks, for at least 20 minutes. Should I miss a day, I would need to find a way to make it up, but consistency was much more important than length of run. When I felt strong, I could “up” a run for more mileage, but only a couple of times a week. I was working on improving my cadence, so that was my initial focus, but once I got that down, then I needed to go back to monitoring my HR to maintain <160 bpm. I logged my runs every day to note HR, mileage, time, and how I felt. I’ve picked excerpts from the runs and provided commentary on the experience week-by-week.
I started off strong, as expected. During the first week, I nailed down my higher cadence, and though my HR was a bit high, I felt strong:
Apr. 15 – Day 1 – Took yesterday as a rest day to start off fresh. Ave. HR 161, approx. 2 miles (23 min, speed ~5.1)). Felt a touch sluggish from jetlag, little sleep, but mostly painless. Kept cadence up. [evening run]
Apr. 17 – Day 3 – HR monitor still acting up, but ave. seemed to hover around 172. 1.9 miles (19:55, speed 5.7) Felt strong, was disappointed when I got to the halfway point…could have continued easily for awhile, but held back to make sure my energy stays up this week. [evening run]
Apr. 18 – Day 4 – Felt a bit groggy and a touch stiff (hard to get my cadence up initially), but turned out to be a fast run, felt good by the end. Ave. HR 168; 2.15 miles (20:44, speed 6.2, but this seems a bit fast…might be inaccurate?) [morning run]
Apr. 19 – Day 5 – Really strong run, felt great, could have gone much farther. 2.47 mi Ave. HR 165 (24:28, speed 6.1, so I think I’m just getting faster!) [evening run]
My first “miss” came in the second week, but my gains were incredibly noticeable and felt amazing:
Apr. 23 – Day 9 – Had a packed day, so ended up doing a walk (~20 min) instead of a run; by and large, a “miss” (my first one…)
Apr. 24 – Day 10 – Made up for yesterday by doing a 40 min run. Morning run, no food, no coffee, no surprise that my legs felt like concrete. Felt very sluggish. Ave. HR 169
Apr. 25 – Day 11 – Mid-morning run, this time AFTER coffee consumption; felt back to my old self. 2.2 miles Ave HR 172 (21:30, speed 6.2 – fastest yet, but HR a bit high)
Apr. 28 – Day 14 – Evening solo run, felt strong, though my ankle felt a bit sore. HR great – ave. 159, 2.1 miles (20:44, speed 6.0)
Day 14 ended up to be the peak of my runs – the fastest with the lowest average HR. If I were to do this again, I’d do 14 runs in 14 days given that the gains were so noticeable during this time and I didn’t really build much on top of that in the last two weeks. However, I had a series of personal events that threw me off in the second half, which might have been different under other circumstances.
Apr. 29 – Day 15 – Halfway there!! I’m at the point now that I really look forward to the daily run, and 2 miles feels psychology so easy to do. Ran with my friend, so slower pace 2.1 miles, HR 143!! (22:46, speed 5.5)
May 2 – Day 18 – Strong run, evening solo run. 2.2 miles HR ave. 162 (22:08, speed 5.9)
May 3 – Day 19 – Run with friend, slower, but strong. 2 miles, HR 154 (21:51, speed 5.3)
May 4 – Day 20 – Oops. First all-out miss. Terrible day at work, bad personal news, felt run down, exhausted. Bed early (9:30-ish, unheard of).
May 5 – Day 21 – Made up for previous day with a longer run. Solo run, 4 miles (44:30, speed 5.3). HR 163. Really tough run, still feeling emotional, so felt hard the whole way. Ankle was also sore. Blegh.
During the last week, I took a side weekend trip to Las Vegas (yes, with all the requisite Vegas-type activities), and there were a ton of social events as our farewell week in NY drew to a close. My runs suffered and there was no surprise about that.
May 7 – Day 23 – Saturday morning run on a Weekend trip to Las Vegas. Sooooo…up late Friday night, drank too much, hot hot hot outside, dehydrated, no coffee, no food before run, AND in the morning. No wonder: 2.5 miles (26:08, speed 5.8) HR 180!!! Yeah, it was that bad.
May 9 – Day 25 – Back on the horse, trying to get back to “normal.” Evening run 2.2 miles (24:00, speed 5.5) tired, sleep deprived (from taking red-eye back from Vegas), but ankle felt fine. I’ll call this my “backsliding” run.
May 10, 11, 12 – Days 26, 27, 28 – More bad work stuff, super emotional, 12 hr work days – no time to run, no emotional energy. Day 28 – better emotionally, but had to rush from work to friend’s Book Launch party. Had to raise the surrender flag on these days, no getting’ around it – 3 big “misses”
May 13 – Day 29 – Determined to make up for the bad stuff. Long run, evening, finally felt like I was getting back my mojo. 5 miles (54:14, speed 5.5) HR 164 (not too, too bad), felt really good. Picked a route south along the West Hwy, by the World Trade Center, down to Battery park and back up through SoHo. Lovely run.
May 14 – Day 30 – Final day to make up for my misses – 5.5 miles (1:00:15, speed 5.4) HR 163. Took a long farewell route through the city – over to the East Village to Alphabet City, up to 28th and across to Chelsea, and finally down along 6th Ave. to my little apartment. Though this wasn’t my strongest run, I was proud of the back-to-back 5 milers and felt on each like I could have gone a lot longer and harder.
May 15 – Flight back from NYC to SFO – got sick during the flight – sore throat, cold…clearly I taxed my body physically, emotionally, and mentally this past month, and it caught up to me literally on the way home. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.