Sunday, September 09, 2007

End With a Bang

Interesting week of racing, recovery and difficult training. Here's how it went down:
Mo: 12 w/8 mile Labor Day Race/Hill-fest
Tu: 8.5 am., easy
Tu: 5.5 pm., easy w/Haiden in the stroller
We: 10 easy
Th: 13 easy
Fr: 11 easy, w/6x100 stride-100/jog 300
Sa: 10 w/7 at MP (5:51-5:57 pace)
Su: 20.3 w/10 at 6:36 pace, then 10 at MP (5:52-6:12 pace)
Total: 90 in 8 sessions

While the race crippled me less than I thought, it was nice to take things relatively easy for the week in preparation for the Saturday/Sunday block of marathon pace/stamina work. Saturday turned out great, and today's 20 miler was...tough.

My friends Scott and Toby were kind enough to wake up early and join me for the first half of the run, which was set for 10 miles of 6:35-6:40 pace. I took them on the Down and Up Loop, which was made a bit more difficult because of a fairly slow start as we jaw-boned and caught up with one another. Scott only mentioned beating me last Monday two times, so kudos to him for his show of restraint. We probably ran the last three or four miles of this first 10 at close to 6:30 pace in my effort to bring the overall pace down a bit, which might have set things up for a more difficult second 10 miles at marathon pace by myself. A quick change of shoes at the house and a swig of Powerade later, I was jogging to my familiar one mile loop to start the effort.

The coach suggested 6:00-6:05 pace to start, then gradually to bring the pace closer to 6 flat. The last three miles were supposed to find me running hard and bringing the pace down further if I could.

Well, the splits tell the tale: 5:52, 6:01, 5:57, 5:54, 6:00, 5:59, 6:03, 6:03, 6:09, 6:12. I felt great at the start and got out too fast, managed a decent correction for a few miles while settling in, and only started to feel a little stressed after 5 miles or so. I backed off a little on miles 6 and 7 as I could feel the clamp-down coming. The legs were sticking a little to the road, and I found myself getting lazy on the turns and the downhills. When the focus starts to go, the legs generally follow in fairly short order. Still, I made an effort to dig a bit for the 8th mile, and I was a bit disappointed to only manage 6:03. As I started mile 9 I knew the form was a bit shot, but I could still manage to move along at a decent clip so I just did the best I could. I really felt the uphill portions of 9 and 10, and I was more than happy to walk the quarter mile home after finally finishing the effort.

I was a bit unhappy with the slowing paces, but after thinking about things a bit I'm feeling better about the effort and the week in general. Moreover, I honestly feel like I'm still gaining fitness at this point, which is a good place to be with a month to go before Twin Cities.

Much of the rest of the day revolved around me trying to get the kids out of Kiera's hair as she recovers from a virus. We visited the local toy train museum, which was actually quite cool. I spent half the time on the floor with the little kids, helping to reconstruct a giant train track loop that had been destroyed by some kids probably playing Godzilla before we arrived. I was so absorbed in it that I had to laugh when I finally made the last connection of the track and looked up to see about 10 grown-ups in chairs around the train mat staring at the "big kid" in the middle of all the toddlers. I didn't mind though, as Finn kept pushing his small train along about a foot behind whatever tracks I happened to be putting together. Meanwhile, daughter Haiden found herself adopted by all the kindly Grandpa's in engineer hats manning the various electric train displays.

All in all not a bad Sunday.

Training: 20.3 miles, 2:08:45, 6:20 pace


Chris Field said...

That is an extrememly impressive pace for that distance, Mike. Even more impressive when you factor in the harder workout just before it.

Do you have a specific goal yet for Twin Cities?

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Good job with the 20-miler.

Very cool that you performed the "toddler reconstruction" for the kids. It's a lot more fun living as a "big kid" anyway. Who really wants to grow up?