Saturday, December 15, 2007

Scraping Bottom

Day two of the back to back workouts, and unfortunately I'm dealing with either a cold or just some major congestion. We've had one kid or the other sick fairly often this fall, and I'm sure my immune system was ripe for the picking after the marathon practice two weeks ago. So with a heavy head I hit the road with a plan of 10 miles at 7 minute pace followed by another 10 at 6:09 pace.

Tucson had its first freeze of the year this morning (yeah, we're lucky like this here), so I went all out with the winter wear for the first 9 miles before stripping down to shorts and a shirt once the sun crept past the mountain tops and took the temperatures into the upper 30's. The last mile of warm up brought me to the track, where I figured I could work on holding good form while keeping an eye on the early splits. I wore my Garmin and hit the lap button every four laps to get a 1600 split (I know, not a real mile but humor me) for the first five "miles", and got some interesting feedback. For those who like to call us Garmin Weenies, here's some ammunition for you. The first number is my split for each of the first five 1600's, the numbers following in parentheses indicate what the Garmin reported as my pace per mile and distance covered.

5:57 (5:46, 1.03)
6:01 (5:49, 1.04)
6:00 (5:57, 1.01)
6:02 (6:05, .99)
6:01 (5:58, 1.01)

It did seem to "learn" a bit the longer I stayed at it, but overall the Garmin was a bit optimistic about the pace and distance, which I blame on the curves more than anything. It's an imperfect tool, but it's also quite handy. I would have stayed on the track for the duration, but after five miles of this I realized it just wasn't much of a marathon simulation unless I got out on the roads and dug in for the last five.

I felt smooth and comfortable for the first five miles, so I didn't worry too much about the paces being a bit faster than planned. However, once I got off the track and climbed a bit of a hill, I could feel a bit of stress when I tried to hold the pace right around 6-6:05 per mile. By mile 7 I began to really concentrate, and here the legs started to feel heavy. Instead of rolling through on their own, I began to feel like I really had to pull them through each stride. Mile 8 was about the same, and it was only during mile 9 that I started relaxing a little bit. I knew at this point I could keep the gas pedal where it was, and while I was definitely working the legs and lungs knew it would be over soon.

I reached the door at 20 miles even, and after drinking some gatorade from a bottle I'd stowed outside I could feel he body lose its impetus. Any hope of two junk miles of cool-down evaporated, so I spent a little of my extra time coughing myself silly and blowing my nose until it was beet red. No, I don't like feeling under the weather.

I did sneak in an extra 5 this evening, though I noticed the first two were about as slow as I run. I felt a bit better by the end aside from a pounding in the head, but hopefully some Sudafed will take care of it.

Tomorrow calls for as many slow miles as I can travel, then I'll close the book on the week. Thanks for reading

Training: 20 miles am., 2h09m, 6:28 pace, first 10 at 6:56 pace, second 10 at 6:01 pace
5 miles pm., 36m, 7:27 pace


Andrew said...

Thanks for reading? No. Thank you for writing!

It seems all modern contraptions conspire to have us run less. Even my car adds a tenth every 5k on the tripometer. (Call me a car weenie).

Sounds like your really peaking the body for your marathon. Just yesterday I was walking around the house feeling pretty strong and thinking that this foundation building stuff is pretty easy considering... Then I got to dreaming about when I could run those "good" workouts that really ramp it up. But now after reading about your workout, I'm a little glad I am many weeks away from that sort of thing. ha ha!

Gregg said...

Nice training. I skim you blog from time to time. Looks like you have yourself set up pretty good for January. Keep up the good work, and good luck. I will be watching the final phase. (I have two or three photos of you from TCM if interested.)

Thomas said...

I'm sure you'll eventually forgive me for that comment.
The numbers are interesting, but the only thing that counts is the effect of the training on your body, and I'd say you just had 2 very impressive back to back workouts.