Tag Archives: power outage

Peak Training and Power Loss

WELL, WHAT A WEEK IT’S BEEN. From fatigue to power outages, to working Zero Waste at a frigid 5K on Sunday, it’s been an eventful March!

Last year’s winter training was the toughest I’d ever been through, as I prepared for a Boston qualifying marathon in April, and my first 100-mile race in June. “This is peak training,” I remember telling a friend while running on the Body Specs treadmill following a workout. “This is as bad as it gets.”

Well, this winter’s training put the lie to that.

Like last year, I’m training for a spring marathon (Boston!) and a June 100-miler. The difference is that this year’s big race (Lighthouse 100) is on pavement instead of trail. The harder surface affects the legs much differently than dirt and grass, as evidenced by how my legs felt after the Martian Marathon last year. The race was on a Saturday, and my quads stopped screaming the following Thursday.

And just think – I had two whole weeks until my next race!

So as my new coach and I agreed, I need to toughen up my legs for a road ultra. And the best way to do that is – surprise – run more miles. So in addition to my stepped-up strength training, I’m running 5-6 days per week instead of 2-3, with distance up from 20-30 miles per week to 40-50 miles.

Damn right I’m always hungry! I’m training!

To my surprise, my body responded well to the extra work. At one point I ran 14 days straight, with legs feeling strong. I was rocking it!

Until last week.

Last Tuesday I went out for an afternoon tempo run. After a warmup jog, I kicked up my pace to 7:00 per mile, a strong but not all-out effort for me. Almost immediately I realized it wasn’t going to work. After just a quarter mile I stopped to catch my breath and reset.

Just get through this, I told myself. Go slower, but don’t stop again until the tempo part is over. I did it at a 7:15 pace, but the next day I hadn’t recovered well and was sluggish at the gym. Then I went home – and found the power was out, thanks to Windstorm of The Century here in southeast Michigan.

Feeling overtrained plus dealing with no electricity at home was an ideal opportunity to take a break and recover. So I rested both Thursday AND Friday. Such luxury!

Saturday, feeling better, I ran with my coach, who’s recovering from an injury and gradually increasing his pace and distance. He was doing “just 12 miles” that day and said he felt bad he wasn’t up to running 20 miles yet.

“You’ve got plenty of 20-milers left in you,” I told him. Then I admitted that I understood his frustration. After all, I felt guilty taking two days off.

I’m sure that sounds crazy to my non-running readers, but that’s life when you’re a committed runner. It’s as another blogger recently put it; you feel guilty when you run too much (at the expense of the rest of your life), and you feel guilty when you run too little. You can’t escape it. So you just acknowledge it and keep on running.

This morning, finally, our power came back on. I’d like to say I felt like Superman at the gym today. Not so much, but it wasn’t bad. And they went easy (relatively) because I have the Pi Run 5K on Tuesday. It promises to be cold and miserable. But hey, it’s good training!

Dysfunction, Dependence, and a Crime Against Hummus

Today, St. Patrick’s Day, was also a day of dysfunction. Having an active imagination and open mind, I’m perfectly willing to blame leprechauns. But whatever the cause, it was (in retrospect) a day filled with incidents that were both amusing and a bit disturbing.

Leprechaun meme

Seems like a reasonable misassumption.

Here are some of my experiences today. Draw your own conclusions.

1. The office email server was offline this morning. I could work on other things, but I felt a noticeable gap in my routine. I’m just so accustomed to checking emails first thing to help figure out what I need to get done. Whatever did I do in the morning before email was invented? Having trouble remembering.

2. Our refrigerator is failing, so an appliance tech came by to check it out. His findings: he can repair it (with no warranty), or we can buy a new refrigerator for not much more. Why? Because like too many things, refrigerators are not designed to be easily repairable. The “throwaway” attitude still rules our consumer society! Fortunately, there are signs of that changing.

3. I went to REI to buy some things for servicing our bikes. “The power’s out,” I was told by a greeter. But they were open, so I got the stuff, got in line, and waited. And waited. The young staff, trained and used to scanning barcodes and swiping credit cards, had almost no clue how to fill out sales receipts by hand. They had to write down all the little numbers on the barcodes and ask for the prices, then total it up.

Not bad for someone with so little practice in handwriting.

Not bad for someone with so little practice in handwriting.

Perhaps the funniest (tragic?) moment was when I paid. My total was $37.10 with tax, which I calculated in my head and laid out two $20 bills and a dime. The cashier picked them up. “Out of $40.10,” she said, then turned to a colleague. “You got a calculator handy?”

4. Next door to REI, the Whole Foods was closed, completely unable to deal with a power outage. This meant I had to drive to the other store across town to get my panini. And many traffic lights were out on the road. Predictably, there were some drivers who didn’t know to treat them as four-way stops, and either pushed their way through out of turn, or sat there frozen. Perhaps some of them are still there.

Power outage? Abandon ship! Women and chocolate first!!!

Power outage? ABANDON SHIP! Women and chocolate first!!!

5. Next, a stop at my new bank, which has a convenient office inside Meijer and has ATMs up north where we camp. I’d set up a new checking account online, which also created a savings account that I couldn’t cancel. So while funding the checking account, I asked if I could close the savings account. Here was the answer: “If we close it now, there will be a $25.00 fee. But if you don’t fund it, it will expire with no penalty.” In other words, it benefits me more to let it die of neglect than give it a quick, merciful end now. Does that make any sense to you?

And, finally:

Wider perspective, so you can appreciate the closeup.

Wider perspective, so you can appreciate the closeup.

6. I’d run these errands, along with a few more, right after my workout. They took longer than expected, and I arrived home starving. And when the tub of hummus I’d bought stubbornly refused to open, all the small frustrations took over in a childish act that turned out messy but amazing. I had no idea hummus was capable of such a wide dispersal pattern. Fortunately, enough remained in the tub that I could still have some.

Above the refrigerator? Really???

Above the refrigerator? Really???

None of the above annoyances were anything close to a real problem, but it can be hard to me to keep that in mind in the heat of the moment. Which means it’s even more important for me to keep things in perspective and be grateful for my blessings.

And I can stop being so smug when I hear that a half-inch of snow shuts down Atlanta or Dallas. All it took here was a power outage to mess up my day, and result in a terrible waste of good hummus. Don’t let this happen to you!