Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Post-Christmas Epiphany

Christmas day was great for the Salkowski clan. We all slept in a bit, then opened presents and had a nice breakfast together. Finn was in awe of all the wrapping paper and the new toys, and Haiden liked helping him open his gifts (as well as her own). Later in the day, Haiden asked me if we could go for a run, which really made me feel good, especially when she still wanted to go when I told her the muffin place was closed for Christmas. I grilled for dinner outside, and Kiera cooked up mashed potatoes and broccoli.

The plan for yesterday, the 26th was to head up to Mesa (100 miles or so) to visit my parents. My sister's family was in town (3 kids), and my brother's family (3 kids) was heading up also. I was up early to run, and after feeding Finn at 5 or so I suited up to go. Unfortunately, Kiera started the day by hugging the toilet a bit, and was feeling less than herself. I decided to postpone the run, and I tried to get her to stay home and skip the visit, but she insisted on coming with us, saying she was feeling better after throwing up a bit. During the car ride Kiera started feeling pretty bad, and by the time we reached our destination it was clear that this was not going to be a good day for her. She spent most of the day trying to sleep in a house with 8 kids, 8 adults, and two dogs, not an ideal situation to say the least. Still, she was a trooper, coming out to open presents, then staying on the couch for another hour afterwards while Haiden played with her cousins and her new gifts.

Finally we made the long drive back, and Finn cried pretty consistently for the last hour while we were on the road. At home, Kiera helped get Finn ready for bed, then hit the sack herself at about 6:30 or so. I fed Haiden and finally got her off to bed at 7:30, then realized it was now or never for the run. The kids typically stay down once they are asleep, and Kiera in her slumbers wouldn't be missing me, so I grabbed my new "tail-light" and headlamp (thanks Kiera) and got ready. I hadn't eaten since about noon, with the exception of half a box of Mike and Ike's I brought along from my stocking loot. So, fueled by pure sugar and tired beyond belief from the drive, the visit, the solo child-wrangling, and the drive back I headed out the door for 7 miles. A two mile time trial was on the menu, and since I missed one speed workout last week I was determined to get the work in this week. I decided I would run easy for 4 miles, then decide if I could manage the 2 mile effort.

At 4 miles I was at the end of my usual 2 mile trial course, so I could run it backwards for a change. This means all the stuff I usually complain about would be helping me instead, as I would be running with the wind and slightly downhill instead of the reverse. I steadied the headlamp (which is fabulous by the way, Fuelbelt made it) and took off. I have to admit I was in a bit of a daze from all the day's activities and the lack of food, but I just ran hard and forgot about it all. At about 1.4 miles in I saw by the watch that I was at 5:19 pace, which lifted my spirits. It was there I had one of those rare moments of clarity. I could feel the effort, but I knew deep down there was more to give. The speed is coming, the endurance is there. I have been at this for 23 weeks, and I've done the work. It's pitch black outside, I've had a hell of a day, and I'm flying through the dark with a smooth stride that barely even bounces the headlight. If I bring this to the marathon, I can break 2:40. I can run 8 minutes faster for the distance than I ever have.

Yes it was slightly downhill, yes I had an advantage with the breeze, but at 10:35 for two miles I am feeling great. Slap-happy and incredibly hungry but great.

Epilogue: Kiera is feeling better today, she's keeping food down but has a pretty bad headache. I'm at work for the time being, but I will leave if she says the word to come home and help. Hopefully the 24 hour bug won't get anyone else in the household, and I hope everyone else's Christmas was happy and healthy.

Training: Today, stayed with the kids this morning, will have to run in the evening again once they're in bed
12/26, 7 miles, 46:34, 6:39 pace, with a 2 mile time trial in 10:35, 5:18 pace
12/25, 6 miles, 45:34, 7:35 pace, easy with Haiden in the jog-stroller
Total miles 12/19-12/25: 82

8 comments:

Scooter said...

Toughness - the ability to get out there when dog-tired and everything has broken against you. Congratulations on doing the hard thing.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Mike, that's awesome! I got tears in my eyes reading about your epiphany. We chose not to make the trip to Mesa (my family); I couldn't imagine attempting it sick, with two children! It's hard enough when we're all well and only have one child. Whew!

Thomas said...

5:18 pace. That's just incredible. I've got to work hard to manage that on a bike, and I won't even dream of running so fast one day.

Zeke said...

Great job, Mike. Usually when I'm really tired and don't feel like running at the end of the day, I find out that I'm just mentally tired, not physically tired. Once I get out the door I end up having a great run.

Eric said...

It's all come together. I can't wait to see the result in a couple of weeks. ROCK!

Anonymous said...

If the half marathon was accurate, you should be able to do it.

It predicts a 2:35-36 potential.

The math is simple. You have done the workouts and the half marathon is recent. You should be able to go run under 2:40.

D said...

It's hard not to get excited for you when reading your post! Awesome!

Mike said...

Thanks everyone! Anonymous, the half was accurate but it did drop 1000 feet in elevation! I hope you're right though.