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