Next Monday is a holiday here. Officially, it's Family day, but it's really We-Need-A-Stat-In-February Day. I'm taking this Friday off to give myself a four day weekend sandwiched by two four day weeks - which would be ideal if Nick wasn't doing 5am - 1pm inventory shifts over the same two weeks. His only day off with be Monday, but I'm guessing he'll spend most of it unwinding before going in for another four days. Oh well.... I can enjoy my little mini vacation myself.
I have a physio appointment on Friday. It's just maintenance, mostly, because I want to make sure I catch any trouble spots before they start. My calf muscles are sometimes pretty tight and I can still identify the exact spot of my strain from last year, plus I have that hip ache that pops up from time to time, so better to deal with them now than down the road when I can't run. I'm actually pretty happy with how my body's been holding up. I was a little sore after Sunday's long run, but nothing a hot soak and a relaxing walk (*cough* to get ice cream in the middle of February. Worth it) didn't cure.
Bumping up my calorie range seems to be working so far. Or at least it's not hurting. For one thing, I'm feeling a lot less sluggish. On the scale side of things, my weight seems to have gone back to dropping slightly after beginning to creep up a couple weeks ago. It's a tricky thing to monitor, since I usually spike up on Monday after my long run day. It's a lot of activity and a heavier eating day than usual (I usually take in about 500 calories more), so it's an understandable reaction. What I'm looking at when I monitor my weight is the weekly average, how high that spike goes, and how long it takes me to drop back down to something close to my average from the previous week. Last week, I spiked up to 57kg and then dropped back down over the course of five days. This Sunday, I spiked to 56.7 and was back to 56 today. We'll see what the rest of the week looks like, but it would be nice to drop another pound or two. Weight loss obviously isn't my priority right now (I'm pretty comfortable at this point), but it's still really interesting to watch what's happening and to try to figure out the little corrections I can make to hit the right balance.
I'll admit that some of my increased calories have come from the box of chocolates Nick bought me for Valentine's day
Actually, bumping up the calories has been a bit tricky. It's always easy to go for that ice cream cone without guilt, but I'd still rather focus on better quality fuel. Now that I've bumped my range up, I'm struggling with hitting my protein numbers for the day. I think I'm going to go check out some powders to start adding to my smoothies. I'm reminding myself that I can take some larger portions of the good stuff, and that 500 calories per meal is a good starting point. The big thing is just awareness - I can eat more now, but I need to be just as careful about tracking it.
Enough about food and weight, though. I was very pleased with my tempo run last night. Why? Because I slowed down! I was still about ten seconds faster than our group tempo runs, but considerably more controlled than my solo runs have been in the past. After chatting with my instructor, I've decided to work on my heart rate a bit. I've always been fairly high and just accepted that, but I've had moments where my fitness level has jumped and I've seen a noticeable drop in heart rate. For a tempo run, I'm usually up in the 170's. That's not too uncomfortable for me and I can talk in single sentences, but it's not something I can sustain for a long, long time. For yesterday's run, my goal was to stick to our group tempo pace of 6:30 and to keep my heart rate under 160. I hovered right around there the whole time, and on the second half of the run I seemed to hit a good groove where I was closer to a 6:10 pace at 158 bpm.
Working on my heart rate is going to be a long term project, and it might slow my times down a bit, but I love the idea of being able to train myself to run a stronger marathon (or half or 10k or whatever). Tonight is another 10k tempo run with the group, so I'd like to see if I can keep myself in the 150's the whole time.
Anyway, that's tonight's goal. First I need to get through the rest of this day. Thanks to being the only person stuck in mountain time zone, I have a meeting today that goes from 11 - 2. It's on the phone, so I can't really eat lunch while I'm participating. My first plan was to run down to the restaurant downstairs before or after and get a hot lunch. Then I thought about getting a healthier wrap from a different local place. Finally, I decided to be good and walk home for a late lunch from my kitchen after the meeting is over. I could afford the extra calories of a restaurant lunch, but I'd rather throw those into a heavier snack before my run and a good dinner after.