Monday, October 23, 2006

Switching Gears

Eight weeks of conditioning: check
Three weeks of hills and transition work: check

Today this tired old body graduates from the second phase of training and heads into anaerobic country for three weeks. The big finish to the hill phase was the 10 mile race yesterday, and I was pretty happy and relieved by how well it went. The splits were all fairly close with a few exceptions-
5:29, 5:28, 5:29, 5:35, 5:28, 5:35, 5:28, 5:22 (short/downhill), 5:33 (long/uphill), 5:19

As I said yesterday, Lucas and I ran this race almost completely alone, though we split after the 6th mile. For what was mostly a long drag race down a straight road, I was amazed by how far the leaders were ahead of me. The race started with about 600 meters of uphill, followed by an abrupt 180 degree turn that led us charging back downhill in the opposite direction. From there a few turns led us to about 7 miles on Broadway, a six lane main drag through Tucson. I had originally expected to be in a group of five runners, but for various reasons this situation never materialized and thus I just fell into time trial mode. As the miles sped by I was amazed to feel somewhat comfortable at 5:30 pace, which is usually what I would consider 10K pace. At mile 5 I had the epiphany I mentioned yesterday, and while it seemed silly at the time to have that kind of confidence the body simply felt right. Maybe it was the short taper beforehand, but the legs were turning over and I simply knew I was on a good day.

At the mark for mile six Lucas seemed to be laboring a bit and we finally split, which left me even deeper in no-man's-land, as the nearest runners in front of me seemed at least a minute up the road. Soon I was speeding downhill under the giant snake bridge (our tax dollars at work), where I laid down my fastest mile, though I think it was marked a little short. With less than two miles left it seemed like a great race was in the bag, but suddenly footsteps could be heard coming up behind me. It was Toby, the fellow I ran the 8K with and managed to drop, only the tide had turned on this day as he glided even and edged ahead. He looked too good for the speeds we were running now, and I simply kept on my given pace. If I were smarter or thinking more clearly, I should have gotten right on his tail then and there. It's easy to say these things afterwards though, since it's so much easier to think clearly when you're not in an anaerobic stupor. Still, I kept him in sight and mid-way through mile 9 we were both forced to dodge the large packs of walkers from the 5K as their course merged with ours. As soon as Toby punched a hole in-between a group of six walkers it would close again, leaving me stumbling to get around or through the herd via a different route. He hit the line a few seconds to the good of me, but seeing "54" on the minute side made me smile as I ran across the line myself.

Today found me a bit tight and sore from the race, so I took things easy with an easy 8 on my "slow down" loop. Chores and kid-stuff are eating up the rest of the day, but I did manage some cross-training with a muffin ride on the bike with Haiden and some Karate Kid wax-on, wax-off with one of the cars to work on the T-rex arms.

Training: 8 miles, 57:48, 7:14 pace


Anonymous said...

Wow... 5:30 as your 10K pace. So fun to read your race logs and look at a race from that speedy perspective!

Good job! Congratulations on the PR!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike, beautiful race. I love it when a new race pace for a particular distance is achieved. Must be the Lydiard training kicking in!

I ran 2 marathons in the last five weeks with a half marthon in between. I PR'd each one and qualified for Boston twice!

This winter I'm looking to up the weekly miles to 70. Hopefully I'll be in 3 hr. marathon shape by Spring. This coming from a guy who weighed 300 lbs. 2+ years ago.

One thing that has worked for me is to do at least 12 weeks of base training, 6 weeks of hills, 4+ weeks of speed work, then a 2-3 week taper. I usually do 4 tune up races leading up to the goal race. I think the longer hill phase allows me to attack the speed phase feeling much stronger than I would other wise.

Anyway, It's good to see all your hard work is paying off. Here's hoping you have a fantastic December marathon!

Mark from New England

Joe said...

Great race, Mike. You should be on to the final phase!!

fartleker said...

Looks like it is time to update the PR's. Congrats Mike.

Phil said...

Great race report Mike and I really great PR. A 1:17 improvement must give you a tremendous boost in confidence. Sorry I couldn't make it down to Tucson for this race, but I had other obligations in Phoenix.

I can't believe the race was set up for the 5K walk to intersect with the 10Mi race. At your pace you must have just been blowing by the walkers and joggers.

Best of luck as you start the Third Phase of your marathon training.

Marc said...

Great race and great report.
Nice consistency on the pace - a well deserved PR.