Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Weight off Shoulders

More running by feel today as I followed close to the same route as yesterday. I did cut out the section that follows Dog Poop Trail, which made the run a little less hilly. The legs felt much the same as yesterday, though I did feel a little fatigue during the last mile.

I do think that the 8K performance this past weekend was more a problem of being tired than anything. There is also the question of "will", which is a little more difficult to answer. When the leader and eventual winner trailed me off in the first mile, I allowed it by not accelerating away from the pack with him. While I was hoping to run around 5:20 for the first mile, sometimes pacing and expectations should get thrown out the window when I have a chance at a win. He went through the first mile in 5:15 tops, which wouldn't have killed me. As difficult as it is to accept, I think the real reason I didn't stay on his shoulder through at least the first mile is because it would have meant I was putting myself out there to either break him or be broken by him, which took more guts than I had that day. Knowing Greg's (the winner's) history and pedigree in town intimidated me, and I lacked the courage to try and take the win even with the odds against me. By anonymously drifting behind him instead of putting it all on the line I wouldn't have to suffer as badly, and thus I made the easier choice. Chad mentioned a favorite quote of mine by Theodore Roosevelt here. "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat.” I chose to run in the gray twilight. I'll get to make the choice again soon enough.

The batteries seem to be recharging this week as things get back to normal at work, and if the last two runs are any indication I'm still in decent shape. I know Abadabajev and others think I'm over the edge and need to focus more on recovery, but quite honestly I think backing off of the intensity of the anaerobic work will do the trick. Eric seemed to think that I might have lost a bit of endurance, judging by how I've fallen off the pace in the latter stages of my last two races. He may well be right. What he and Evan suggested is pretty much in line with my thinking as far as training goes for the next two weeks. There will certainly be a day or two when I feel like heading out to the track, but collecting miles at steady paces will fill most of my time.

As far as running slowly for recovery goes, I have been putting in a few easier miles here and there, epecially if I add an evening run. Also, most of my runs start with 2-4 miles at or above 7 minute pace before I inevitably start speeding up a bit. On the subject of recovery, I think it's necessary to remember that it's a very individual thing. I'm starting to learn more and more about what breaks me down, and quite honestly I don't think it has much to do with whether I'm running 6:40 pace or 7 minute pace. Rather, I think it's digging in too hard or for too long in anaerobic territory does much of the damage, as does racing too often and not getting enough rest. The coach has cautioned me against this sort of thing, and while I do try to listen I sometimes still get carried away.

Training: am., 12 miles, 1:17:57, 6:29 pace

9 comments:

ian said...

Your thoughts on putting it all out there reminded me of a race I ran a couple years ago. Frequent championseverywhere visitor Seebo was there, and I was accustomed to getting beat by him regularly. On this day, though, he took aim at an ambitious goal, and I ran conservatively. I ended up squeezing past him at the end as his early hard miles caught up with him, but I've always felt like he was the better runner that day, because he dared to dream big, and I didn't.

There's something to all this running towards the boundaries.

Mike said...

I'm with you on Seebo for sure. He upped his marathon goal pace to run with me and landed a very fat PR. He knew it would be tough, and he hung on better than I did at the end.

As we hurl ourselves at the sun it seems that sometimes we only slow down if we get distracted and notice our arms are on fire.

Lawrence said...

Mike, I really enjoyed this post of yours, as much for it's honest reflection on your performance, than anything else. I love the quote you threw in there and ian's comments really ring with me.... I have to put it out on the line more often when I race.......

Keep up the good work, I always enjoy your blog.

Abadabajev said...

It would be nice to read your morning wake up(still in bed) heart rate in your daily blogs. That number fascinates me.

Mike said...

Hmmm, since half the time I wake up to the sound of Finn crying at 4:52 a.m. or so, I wonder if the data might be compromised. Might be a good thing to try though.

Mark said...

from what I am reading of your last race, it was against the other runners, mainly Greg, vice running your own race

maybe bringing your marathon philosophy into the 5K/10K to help push a few PRs

it's when you get out there and race the clock some of the best performances land, allot of enrgy and psychology can get used up sparring with other runners,

run your race and let the cards lay where they fall

Sasha Pachev said...

Mike - I am coming to Phoenix to run the Del Sol Relay. Are you running it? If yes, which legs? I am doing legs 3,15, and 27. Our team name is Marathon GIS. Hope to see you there.

Mike said...

Sasha, I wish I could run but I'll be stuck at work on Friday and Saturday. My pal Lucas will be there with a team though, I imagine they're called "The Running Shop". The race should be a blast, I hope you have a great time there.

Bruce said...

Nice post Mike, it's great you've taken something from that race and learned from it. Placed in that position again you'll know what to do.