Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Certain Doom

Well, maybe that's a tad dramatic, but it pretty well summarizes how I'm feeling about the 8K race this Sunday. After emailing my coach/advisor yesterday, a short time trial was prescribed instead of the usual seven miles of marathon pace. This would hopefully put some snap into my legs, though by the end of the run I was left with some doubts.

During my six mile warm up, I noticed that I was slowing down a little instead of speeding up. Usually almost all of my runs, except for the really easy ones have me finishing a fair amount faster than I started. Here my average pace was going backwards, though before it could bother me I was accelerating up to 5:30 pace for the two mile time trial. My feet were sticking to the ground, my breathing was labored, and even the upper body was tight. I can blame the last part on installing a metal loft inside the garage yesterday, but after running easily yesterday I figured I would be ready for this workout. At two miles I powered down and saw that I had averaged 5:29 pace. Normally this would be fine, but my course this time was a net downhill (in an effort to get the legs moving), so I had expected faster. As I was jogging two miles to cool down I asked myself if I had another three miles at that pace in me. The answer, at least this morning was no.

My PR at 8K is 27:10, or 5:27 pace. This record was set two years ago, and it's the only personal best I still haven't improved on since starting Lydiard-based training last summer. Last year I came into this race tired and ran about 12 seconds slower than my best, as it was my tenth week of conditioning and one week after my first ever win at a 10K where I had really laid it out. This year I skipped the 10K and just focused on training, but I'm a little nervous about trying to run an 8K at a pace I haven't hit at all since May.

I just need to get used to putting up with the kind of hurt 5 and 10K's produce. Lung-searing intervals, where the legs feel strangled by what the lungs can't deliver brings on this kind of discomfort, and also gets the neuromuscular pathways in synch enough to run fast while staying smooth. Intervals, both short and long are in the cards for me, but not until about a month from now when I start devoting time to anaerobic work. Speed, or what speed I have comes around fairly quickly for me, and once I start doing this training I usually can't wait to race. But now, as I sit deeply entrenched in endurance and stamina training, it's with a deep feeling of unpreparedness that I regretfully take the line. It's the last call to the stage as the spotlights illuminate, and I'm being pulled off a stool in the dressing room while still in my underwear.

Still, what's the worst that can happen? Even unprepared, racing is still fun. And if you can't enjoy racing while out of shape once in awhile, it's hard to appreciate those days when you're at the line completely prepared, wrestling the starter to fire the pistol so you can be on your way.

Training: 10 miles, 1:06:04, 6:36 pace, with a 2 mile time trial at 5:29 pace. Dead legs


robtherunner said...

I hope you have fresh legs on Sunday and you are able to lower that PR. It is impressive to most of us, but we know that you are capable of faster times. I'll be rooting for you this weekend and look forward to reading the report.

Evan said...

You're not of shape, you're tired.I say this bluntly to make the point. You should be tired in the middle of marathon training. But you have three days to run easily (slower than you think you should be, to quote Kevin Beck) do a few strides each day to turn the legs over, and you'll be good to go. Want that PR? No more than 7 miles, and no faster than 7:45 for the next 3 days ... Is that slower than you think you should be going? :)

tb1 said...

Mike - You'll be OK. I predict a new PR for you at this distance. Heck, you're already close to the pace for just a time trial and you know what kind of adrenaline a race brings. But even if you don't, this isn't the prize you are trainin for. It's just a small "measly" morsel along the way to your real objective. And like you said in your blog, "Even unprepared, racing is still fun"

Enjoy! I can't wait for the great play-by-play blog after the race.

Dusty said...

Like Rob - wishing you fresh legs. Also, don't let it get in your head, you never know what the race will bring. My coach always told me - 90% mental, 10% physical... so don't decide you will run slow - believe you can get your new PR! Besides, race day nerves always help to get one pumped up for a faster time!

Good luck!

Phil said...

You'll be pumped and ready to go on Sunday.

Thomas said...

My, aren't we overly dramatic today? You always whine about being not race-ready (which, in a way, is true, because you're in your conditioning phase), and then you always run a decent race, finishing somewhere around 5th. 10th if you're really tired. Certain Doom, yeah, right.

Eric said...

I agree with Thomas. Just run your race, A-plus. If you run 29:07, then your post is justified. Otherwise, just race, buddy! And have fun!

Duncan Larkin said...

I will attempt to combine what I perceive to be gist of Evan's and Thomas' comments regarding your upcoming race; I'll also throw some of my grumpy 2 cents in as well (this is kidding out of love back at ya):

1. Quit whining; writing seeking self-pity needs to come about once a month not every other post.

2. You haven't been doing squat lately at paces relative to your 8k PR so how the heck can you expect to PR this distance? Hmm?

3. You need to run something slow some days--like days before the race. 6:35-6:59 pace is sexy but not every day.

So I'm sure this made you feel better. NOT. Seriously, good luck in the race. Don't read too much into the results. Run relaxed, man.