Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cookie Karma

After a tougher-than-it-should-have-been track workout on Tuesday, I got the word from Mystery Coach to back off for a few days. He even suggested possibly taking a day or two off, which he knows drives me crazy. My solution was to sleep in yesterday to catch up a bit on rest, then join the Running Shop gang for an easy 10K in the evening.

Maybe it was the sleeping in (all the way 'til 6!), or perhaps it was skipping a morning run, but for whatever reason I felt great the whole way. Afterwards, Lucas, Shane and I hit a Mongolian BBQ place for dinner. When it was time to break open the fortune cookies, it started with the usual fare: "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." When it was my turn, I wished aloud for an affirmation that a 2:34 marathon was in the cards. Instead, when I pulled the paper apart I was smacked upside the head with a perfectly timed Buddhist phrase.

"The greatest effort is not concerned with results"

The cookie right of course. What I can or can't run has pretty much been determined by my training over the past 17 weeks or so, and all I really can ask of myself is to give the best effort on race day that I'm capable of, clock be damned.

Just getting to the line of this marathon ready is honestly most of the battle. The two runners here in Tucson who were hoping for Olympic qualifying times at Twin Cities aren't even going to make it to the race. Seebo, my pal and running partner at C.I.M. is putting off his marathon assault, Zeke/Chad/Simon/Wilma has bagged it, and Patrick, one of my favorite fast guys, is wisely taking time out to care for his hernia-trifecta.

In my case, the routine struggle involves getting to the line fresh and not over-trained. The last back to back set of workouts, scheduled for Saturday/Sunday might make some wonder if arriving tired is inevitable. Perhaps the coach will chime in, but I honestly don't think so. I believe it's what I've (over)done during the days between the final workouts that has caused more damage than the workouts themselves.

Perhaps it's age, the increased intensity of some of the efforts, or a mixture of the two, but it's taking me a little longer to bounce back from things this time around. The upside is, when I actually allow myself to recover I feel I'm coming back stronger from week to week. If it requires swallowing some of my pride with slow running on my off days, so be it.

Speaking of slow, I hit the road for 12 this morning at a relaxed pace. The legs felt great, and I ended up taking a detour to the track for 8x100 accelerations every 400 meters. It felt good to bring the legs through quickly, and I could feel the hamstrings waking up about halfway through to help with the load. Good day.

Training: Today, 12 miles, 1:25:30, 7:07 pace, w/8x100 stride/acceleration, 300 jog
Yesterday, 6.2 miles in 43:40, felt quite good

4 comments:

ian said...

Brilliant as always, but weren't there lucky numbers on the back of the fortune? Any chance they were 2 and 34?

My last fortune was "You Like Chinese Food."

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

If you can physically bounce back with that short amount of rest, it sounds like you have hit your training right on. If you were overtrained even a little, I would think it would take much longer.

I also think you are right on with the mindset of effort being the most important thing on race day. There are too many uncontrollable factors that can alter your time (course, weather, illness, etc). Also, if you are focused on effort and you miss your splits early in the race, it still allows you to rebound later in the race by having a positive attitude. If your early splits become too much of your focus, you can give up mentally and then there is no chance of coming back.

Oh, ya...I love how your relaxed pace is the same as my current 5k PR. Nice job!

Joseph P. Wood said...

Isn't it normal to feel a bit flat at this point in the cycle. I think I read--maybe Nobby or Tinman (I could be wrong)--that if you're feeling like you're ready to peak 3 weeks out, you'll probably be past peak on race day.

I do know Nobby said something once about the first 10k of the marathon should feel a bit draggy...

Gregg said...

Mike-
I haven't looked at your complete build up to TCM but this past week looks pretty good. Good luck with the race! I was going to run the TC10miler (this years US 10 mile champs) but I long, much too long, achilles injury has kept me off the trails this summer. I will be down on the course, much like PR, and looking for you. I don't have much to go on other than your picture on the blog.
best wishes.
gregg