Answer: I've been traveling (yes, again).
3 days after running a 10k PR at the Palo Alto Moonlight run , Toni and I set off on a 3.5 week trip to south east Asia: Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. (To de-jet lag before our big round of countries we started with 3 days in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia).
This was an intense, high energy trip and there was no time for any running...just as well because the weather was hot and humid..not the hottest time of the year down there but plenty hot for us, especially if it was sunny.
We took over 4000 photos during the trip, so it will take a while to whittle down to a few hundred of the best, when I've done that I'll share the link. Meanwhile I'll share this photo of sunset over the Mekong river in Vientiane, Laos
Only 14 weeks to surf city, not really enough for the best buildup, but enough to do something better than a trot.
Since I didn't run for 4 weeks (last run was 10k race on 9/20) that makes for an interesting question:
1) How much fitness did I lose in 30 days?
2) How fast can I get it back?
Somewhere, I remember reading that fitness goes away twice as fast as getting it back, e.g. if you knock off for 1 week, it takes 2 weeks to get back to the same shape. Somehow this seems a bit unfair!
I will test this theory and see how long it takes me to get YPB efficiency numbers in the ballpark from when I ran the 10k race before the trip. Here is my first week back:
This was a light mileage week at pokey paces, as the jet lag from the return flights was some of the worst Toni and I have experienced.
I thought I was energetic on Monday and did a 3.2 (aborted doing 5..I was feeling it too much). On Wednesday I was so sleepy after lunch at work I had to go home at 2:30pm. I then slept to 6:30pm, ate dinner, and back to sleep at 8:30pm until 8am the next day(!). Thursday I felt good enough to try another 3 miles and plodded at 11m/m with reasonable efficiency. But my strength was still gonzo.
Sat/Sun I could tell I'm getting a bit more back to normal, but both Toni and I have had some cold-like symptoms, drippy noses etc...probably due the dry air at home after all that extreme humidity.
As for my fitness, compare the YPB numbers above with the last set of weeks before my 10K
Last time I had a week below 1.48 was around 7/22 ..it was 8 weeks after that I was hitting 1.55+ pretty consistently, so, it looks like it will take me 8 weeks to get back after 4 weeks off ..so far this is validating the old saw I am remembering...we shall see!
(To translate the YPBs into something you can understand better: right now running at 125 bpm for 5 miles + I get about a 9:40 m/m pace. At 1.55 YPB fitness I can run the same HR at 9:00 pace...i.e. I've lost 40s per mile at the same effort level)
I have 12 weeks left of training before my 2 weeks of taper: if i can get back into the shape I was in on 9/2 in just 8 weeks from now I will be happy as 4 weeks to top up a bit more should be great.
Of course there are holidays in there, a birthday (mine!) and a bat mitzvah which will require working around ....but I'm used to that by now.