I initially wrote it off as me coming down with a cold. I have disliked coffee in the past when sick. However, I never got sick and still did not like coffee. For months, I have forced myself to drink it, even though I didn't really want it or like it. I was embarrassed to reveal my new aversion to anyone who knew me. Why was this happening?! Was I going through some weird mid-life change that all women experienced? One coworker asked if I had had a stroke. Maybe? was my answer.
I am happy to report that the culprit was the allergy medicine I was taking. I stopped taking it Monday, and bam! Love coffee again. I also started craving my usual yogurt, fruit and granola parfait that I have had nearly every morning for the last three years. That's right, I couldn't stomach the stuff while on the allergy meds. Weird, right?
I also have been feeling a lot stronger this week. One of the reasons I stopped taking the allergy meds was that I wondered whether they might be responsible for a lethargic feeling I had been dealing with for the past few weeks. I had been feeling so poorly, in fact, that I went in for more lab tests to see if my electrolytes were out of balance or if my iron stores were low again. Actually, my blood work was amazingly normal. Electrolytes right in the normal range and my ferritin was a shocking 71 ng/ml! 71!! I have never had levels higher than 40. I am very happy with that. This is all good news leading into a hot summer of training.
Speaking of training...this week was all about building strength. I have been good about doing my strength work again--something I lost touch with in my last training cycle after about 8 weeks. I have added plyometrics, drills, sprints and strides back into my weekly routine. I did 12 x 400 meter hill repeats on Wednesday in the midday heat and felt particularly strong. I ran at altitude in Yosemite on Friday on a trail that was labeled as "moderate". It started with a 1300 foot climb. Tonight, I have to admit I wimped out and hopped on a treadmill for a tempo run to avoid the 109-degree heat. I sacrificed boredom for running 6 miles at actual tempo pace within my 15 mile long run.
Except, I didn't run 6 miles at tempo pace. I ran 9! I felt so incredible that I just wanted to keep going. The workout was supposed to be 3 x 2 miles between 6:10-6:20 pace. I started on the slower end with the first repeat and then increased my tempo to 6:10 pace for the last 2 miles. I didn't feel tired at that point and had 4 more miles to run on the machine. So, I decided it would be easier to run at 6:10 pace for another repeat than 7:00-7:30 pace, recognizing I could stop at any point if I felt tired. I ran 1 mile at 6:09 pace, then bumped it down to 6:00 pace. At the end of two miles, I still felt great and my HR was still in the lower end of the tempo zone. So, I cranked her down to 5:50 pace and rode out the last mile there. I could have gone longer, but I figured 9 miles of tempo work was enough.
I know that paces on the treadmill are a joke, and I don't take them seriously at all. To keep things fun, I hopped around to different treadmills for each different repeat. There was hardly anyone in the gym and I just really needed to spice things up. What I did like was staring at the wall with the words "Change Your Life" printed in enormous letters. When I run strong, I feel like I can change my life in a positive way.
Most importantly, instead of feeling exhausted with all of this work, I feel myself getting stronger and more energized. My speed is taking its own sweet time catching up this training cycle, but I know it will eventually arrive. I originally had some 5k races scheduled for June, but I just haven't felt up to the task. I do have a 5000m track race on my calendar for next weekend, so we'll see how that goes. I will also be racing a half marathon on my birthday in late July. I hope I am able to improve both strength and speed so I make a good showing there.
My weekly mileage is nudging back up into the 70s and that feels good too. I am getting lots of run time with my critters these days. I even started running the legendary Coach T. She is 12 now and can only do 1-2 miles at 10:30-11:00 pace, but I love watching her trot along next to me. She's actually helped me see the value in a very slow cool down run. Always the coach.
It seems hard to believe that Chicago is only 15 weeks away. I have some long, hot weeks of training ahead, but I am looking forward to seeing how fit I can become in that time.
It's going to be a hot one!!!