Sunday, January 29, 2006


During the warm-up for today's 10K I cleared out the splits from the marathon on my stopwatch. I pushed the little button on the right, the screen read "hold-to-reset" for an instant, and the marathon was gone. It's a symbolic moment, a rolling back of the trip odometer that occurs with a new tank of gas. For two weeks now I've zipped through those splits, on occasion remembering certain things about particular miles as I read the lap times on the LCD. It's over now, but there was one more race to be run before the real recuperation from the marathon and the next phase of my Lydard training begins.

The Sun Run is a flat, certified, and fairly fast 10K that begins the racing season here in Tucson, and it is also the first of ten events of the Desert Grand Prix, a competitive series of ten events where our club members compete for the lowest placings. I somehow won this last year, and it would be very cool to do it again. Unfortunately, there are some faster runners who are healthy this year, and my dogged consistency ( I'm the turtle to their fast and somewhat injury-prone hare) might not be enough for me to see it through. Also, I have to miss the second race of the series for work obligations, which will score me a fat zero next month.

After an easy 2 mile warm-up with Lucas the race began with 5 and 10K runners starting at the same time. This is somewhat confusing, as I'm looking at nearly double the usual amount of runners in front of me almost immediately. I told myself before the race to go out smart, so of course I go through mile 1 at 5:19, which is 11 seconds faster than my plan. I stay on pace and Lucas comes up alongside, and soon the 5K guys split off and we see 4 runers left in front of us. Mile 2 passes in 5:37 (later we figure out 1 was short and 2 was long), and I don't worry because the effort is brisk but even. So far the legs aren't reminding me of what I did to them two weeks ago. Mile 3 comes along at 5:27, and I'm starting to suffer. To aggravate things, the same runner who came by us towards the end of the half marathon (I admire this guy greatly but it sucks to get passed) goes by us about a half mile later. Lucas tries to go with him and gets a few steps on me, I'm stuck in 3rd gear and I just keep plodding. Mile 4 is 5:34 and I take a quick hit of water, though it's just to divert my attention from the suffering. It's just too soon, thoughts of the pain of the marathon start to creep in. Lucas gets a few more steps, as one of the runners in front of us starts to drop back. Mile 5 in 5:36 and Lucas has passed the runner, and I manage to get by him too. We can't shake him though, and he immediately starts to gain on us. He passes both of us somewhere around here, and I reach the 6th mile marker in 5:28. A long, long straight stretch separates us from the finish, and my legs just will not turn over. I can keep pace, but I cannot gain on Lucas or the other guy. 34:07 (my watch), 7th place, 1st in my age group. It's more than 2 minutes faster than I ran last year, and it's my fastest certified 10K by about 1:40.

While I was struggling down the final stretch, I was thinking not about beating the two runners in front of me, but of being done. No killer instinct today, this was not the same guy who would not say "die" in the marathon two weeks ago or the half marathon two months ago. This guy is tired.

Six months of Lydiard training, which resulted in PR's in the 5K, 10K, 10 mile, 1/2 marathon and marathon. It's been fun, but it's time to rebuild and begin again. One easy, non-structured week begins tomorrow, and if I feel I need it, another week of the same will follow. After that I'll begin the next chapter of Lydiard training, starting from the beginning. I'm hoping for even more fun the second time around.

Racing: 10K, 34:07 (unofficial), 7th overall, 1st age group, time to pull the plug and start over.


Dallen said...

Nice race! Congratulations on the PR.

Thomas said...

For a tired guy you ran a pretty mean race!

Btw, you might be interested to know that I've just ordered "Running with Lydiard". I won't promise anything yet, but I definitely would not have bought this book if it weren't for you and your blog.

Love2Run said...

Great race, Mike! And now for a well deserved break... I've really enjoyed the ride and look forward to your new plan ;-)

robtherunner said...

Even without the killer instinct a big PR is always a good thing. Great job Mike!

Andrew said...

Great Job! Now take a break.

Joe said...

Mike, despite the pain, it still is a PR over 10km...way to go! Two weeks after a sub 2:40 are awesome!

And maintaing your wonderful perspective on the family. Scott Simon does a great job on those Saturday NPR interviews. My folks are both gone and that "wall" is real...Glad you had muffins.

Zeke said...

Mike, congrats on the PR. I think this race shows that the marathon doesn't just zap us physically, but mentally as well.

Scooter said...

If you keep training well and working some speed, in another 2 or 3 weeks, you may well be able to PR again, and not have the legs feel like crap.

Good race!

BTW - Your 6 months of Lydiard took you 19% of the way from your PB to the World Record! A huge gain, esp since you felt you had pacing issues.


angie's pink fuzzy said...

Good job! Wow, that's awesome.

Thomas Sørensen said...

Another PR?!?!?! Congratulations.