Thursday, April 27, 2006

Marathon Pace Long Run Audible

As the title of this post indicates, I have no idea about what's going on. My original plan had a long run with some marathon pace, but I had been thinking of just doing the marathon pace stuff and saving the long run for the weekend to be fresher. Things change. My wife Kiera got some news from her family that requires a trip back home to New Hampshire, so she will be gone starting Saturday morning until Wednesday night. This leaves me to take care of the two kids by myself while managing to not get fired for having to take a few days off to do so. I have to work Saturday, but hopefully we can pawn off our daughter on some friends while our son stays at my brother's house (my mom will be in town helping look after their kids in his absence, so I guess the more the merrier). From post-work Saturday until we pick up Kiera at the airport Wednesday night, they're all mine.

I know you're not supposed to try to make up for missed workouts, which generally leads to overtraining or the overall quality of training suffering, but with a few days until Kiera leaves I'm forced to make some changes. Pre-emptive binge training it is then. Stack up the miles and get in as much quality as I can with the time I have.

With that in mind I'm driving down to the Rillito River path for 20K of marathon pace interwoven into a long run. 11 miles yesterday morning doesn't help, neither does the 6 last evening, and having to get up at 4 to fit the run in before taking H to school just stacks the deck against me.

So 20 miles, with a one mile warm-up, 12 miles of marathon pace, and 7 miles of junk afterwards to get the time past 2 hours. With my faithful timer/course measurer Mr. Garmin on my wrist I set off at 5am sharp, just as the sun starts to rise. After chugging along slowly for a mile I hit the "lap" button and accelerate. I keep the Garmin on "lap pace" for these workouts, so the cumulative pace for the whole lap (in this case 12 miles) is constantly displayed. If I run the first mile at 7 minute pace and the second mile at 6 minute pace, the Garmin reads 6:30 at the 2 mile mark. You get the idea. The plan is to keep the pace hovering right at 6 flat or just below. When I started these workouts last time around I was shooting for 6:05, so I am aiming to improve. The legs and lungs settle in about 3 miles in, and the first 4 miles slip by at about 5:58. The paved path turns to dirt and sand soon after though, and I start to have to dig in a bit to keep the speed up. It's getting a little tougher. I started a few miles west of where I normally do since part of the trail is closed, so I'm running into uncharted territory. The trail fizzles out, I'm forced through metal chicanes and now running on a small road across the river bed to where the path picks up on the other side. Normally this kind of thing is amusing, but at 5:59 pace it's just annoying. Soon after that I take the wrong route at a fork in the path and dead-end at some railroad tracks. Nothing to do but turn around, then take a sidestreet off the path to make up the distance. It's freeway/salvage yard/trailer park/junkyard dog hell road, and after about a mile I turn around and start heading back.

I'm starting to sweat, though it's only 50-some degrees. I check the watch and I'm 7.5 in, so I've got the upper hand. I just try to keep my stride straight on the sand, biding my time until I get back to the bike path. Soon I'm there. I start to think about stretching it from 20 to 25K, just to poke myself in the eyes. The absurd thought of a progression during those last added miles comes into my head. It's the madness of the marathon, surely oxygen debt will soon follow and I'll be cured of these thoughts. Sure enough, at mile 10 I start to feel my breathing. I've somehow shifted from marathon pace breathing to tempo pace, so the end is surely near. I do stretch it out though, making it to 14 miles before unplugging. 5:59 pace for 14. I get to the car and drink some gatorade, and I feel pretty weary. I do gut out the last 5, though it's mostly a death-march.

Now that it's over I'm happy with how it went. I'm coming up, and I just have to keep it that way. Maybe I could have gutted out that last mile to make it 25K of effort, but if I really want to sqeeze in another quality morning on Saturday before taking Kiera to the airport (this probably means a 3am wake up call) it's good to leave a little food on the plate.

Just how I'm going to train Sunday through Wednesday is still a mystery, but it will happen. Double-jogger for the easy stuff, maybe a chance or two for some quick quality work on the roads if I can drop off the kids (or kid if H is in school) at my brother's house. Unfortunately they already have 3 of their own so this might not happen. I'll figure something out.

Training: 20 miles, 2:10:27, 6:31 pace overall, including 14 miles in 1:23:46, or 5:59 pace
Yesterday pm., 6 miles in 43 minutes


tb1 said...

Good run. I understand not imposing on your relatives, but if you can't abuse their goodwill who's left to help? You got to get the training in. Good luck. Tapertime will be here soon.

Mike said...

Tony, where've you been? Will you be there on the line with me June 4? Mmmm, taper.

tb1 said...

I just signed up last week. Shooting for a 3:50. Hopefully I'll see you there.

Thomas said...

That's one good run, especially on those surfaces. I know the pain of not being able to train because of family reasons, but I can usually swap a rest day around to accommodate for that. Since you don't do rest days, you've got to be ... creative.

Eric said...

Those runs still frighten and confuse me. I'm in awe of your ability to do runs of that distance around six minute pace.

Good stuff. Not to take anything away from it, but was it downhill? Against the wind?

Mike said...

Good to hear you'll be there Tony, hope the training is going well for you. Thomas, it will take some creativity and some begging of the surrounding family to get something in daily.

Eric, no 1500 meter drop on this one. The neighborhood I live in is very hilly so I actually drive 10 miles to get to this bikeroute/trail. It's along the bank of a (usually) dry riverbed, almost pancake flat. No wind to speak of yesterday, and I always try to do out-and-back to minimize any advantage/disadvantage. These scare me for the first 2-3 miles (in a how can I possibly keep this up way), and then they scare me again at the end (how can I possibly keep this up for another 12 miles way). I do think it's a good way to figure out marathon pace though, at least for me. While I had numbers in mind, the body tends to settle in a find a sustainable groove/pace. If you can keep it for 10+ miles during a full week, I think it's reasonable for the marathon. At least the first 20, then you crawl in like me.

Eric said...

I was absolutely joking about the downhill with the wind comments. Just so that's clear. Your mindset doing the workout is exactly what mine is reading about them. It's good for me to see that. Helps me wrap my head around the possibilities a bit easier.

Marc said...

Glad you made it out of "freeway/salvage yard/trailer park/junkyard dog hell" alive.

Tough run - well done.

Yeah, life can sometimes get in the way of running/training. While my wife was away last week I actually hired a babysitter to get a run in.

Omniscient said...

Dude, you can only head west on the river path for so long until it gets super ghetto. I certainly have seen the dregs of society (or at least the dregs of the river path) way west. impressive run nonetheless!