Saturday, December 29, 2007


I blew it today. The schedule called for a 20 miler with the first 10 at 6:45-6:50 pace, the next 5 at 6 minute pace, and the final 5 at the same or faster. It didn't end up going to plan.

I've been dealing with some sinus/bronchial issues this week, and I think I finally just pushed a little to hard. Yesterday's pace run went fairly well, especially with the legs, but the lungs did feel taxed towards the end. It's usually the other way around, so I probably should have taken it as a sign.

This morning I was at an immediate disadvantage with sinus pain and congestion, but it was compounded by going to a Calexico concert and not getting to bed until midnight. I figured I would take the run out without worrying too much about the pace for the first five miles, so I was surprised to be down to 6:40 pace when I looked at the watch after about a half hour. The legs were moving fine, but I felt a bit light-headed and my breathing felt shallow for the relatively modest effort.

When I got back to the house and stripped off the pants, hat, gloves and extra shirt (it was 30 degrees), I felt a huge pull from the body to just quit the run right there. A quick bathroom stop and a swig of Gatorade didn't make me feel any better, so before leaving I told Kiera that she might see me again in a few minutes if things went south.

I rolled out of the driveway and made my way uphill to the track to start the effort, since it seemed to help with my motivation yesterday. Mile one in 5:56 and I think I have a shot, as I'm running relaxed again. Mile two and three in 5:58 and 6 even, and I'm starting to feel it just a little in my upper body. Mile four in 5:58 and I run off the edge of the track to battle the rest of it on the roads. I'm feeling bad in the lungs now, and I'm hoping a change in the scenery will help. The legs still feel great, but the breathing is shallow and labored through mile five. I head down towards my one mile loop and the heart starts feeling like it's fluttering. My body just feels wrong, there's no other way to describe it. I'm still on 5:58 pace when I make it through the sixth mile, but I feel like I'm marking time before the inevitable now. It's here I remember the marathon run a few weeks ago, and I'm confident I never felt as bad during that run as I do at this moment. At 6.5 miles I turn a corner and start the uphill section, and the plug pulls out of the wall. I stop and put my hands on my hips, wondering what the hell is going on.

I'm already going to be pushing it to make it to work on time after a late start, and I'm left with the choice of running a few easy miles while stewing about blowing the workout or jogging it in straightaway so that I can start recovering. I choose the latter.

In the shower I notice the legs don't feel taxed, which is a small comfort. The same goes for now while I'm typing this, which is when the legs are usually smarting a bit after a hard effort. Maybe it was just a Sudafed-sinusitis-clogged lung induced meltdown. It's easier for me to think that than to consider the alternatives that a runner with a hyperactive imagination can muster at two weeks out from a goal marathon.

17 miles, 1h50m, 6:24 pace, 1st 10 at 6:39 pace, then 6.5 at 5:58. Kablooey


Chris Field said...

Even with the lung stuff you only missed the goal run by a few miles. That says a lot right there.

You are in great position for a PR in two weeks. Relax and try to get through the taper sane.

Thomas said...

Most people would say that 17 miles is the maximum you should do two weeks out from a marathon anyway.

Rest up, recover, and get healthy. You're not going to PR if you're running with an infection.

Love2Run said...

Ditto with Thomas. Isn't the hay in the barn now and just a matter of maintaining a bit of intensity while resting up? Take care out there!

by7 said...


this should work as a 2nd warning bell for your.
You are already in 2h35' shape easily. I do not see why you are still piling up so many miles and so many heavy workouts in succession.
The general opinion on marathon training is that the last heavy workouts before the tapering phase must feel "easy" "too easy".
My suggestion is to scale down on mileage and number of heavy workouts and start immediately to load mental/physical energies for the race day.