Ran my fifth 4-mile evaluation this morning, see the results immediately below followed by the other evaluations by date-
8/05/08: 6:07(153HR), 6:30(151), 6:34(151), 6:39(151), 1:00 to 120HR
7/22/08: 6:13(151HR), 6:22(152), 6:27(152), 6:29(151), 1:00 to 120HR
7/08/08: 6:03(150HR), 6:14(151), 6:13(151), 6:12(150), :42 to 120HR
6/28/08: 6:02(150HR), 6:11(151), 6:15(151), 6:14(151), :45 to 120HR
6/10/08: 6:15(148HR), 6:25(151), 6:28(151), 6:34(150), :51 to 120HR
Apparently I'm running backwards at full speed, as I'm now running slower at a 150 heart rate than I was when I pretty much started my conditioning phase eight weeks ago.
It's really not supposed to be like this. I said this aloud while I stood in the shade of the single tree planted next to the track at the junior high up the road from our house right after completing the evaluation. I was picking the biting ants off my stomach and wiping the sweat from my eyes at the time, soaking in the heat and humidity that seems inescapable this time of year. The evaluation was an exercise in frustration, as I could feel from the start how slowly I was moving in order to keep my heart rate from meandering over 150 beats per minute. I had already cut the warm up from four to three miles in order to keep as much cardiac drift from the temperatures here out of the equation as I could, but that didn't seem to help. After forcibly putting on the brakes midway through the first mile when my heart rate rose to 155, there was simply no way to speed up again to the paces I was running at the same heart rate just a month ago.
So what's changed? The miles have been lower (unintentionally most of the time), and the paces have seemed about the same or slower. The long runs have been a bit more of a challenge, with some going well and others going poorly. The only consistent bright spot has been the up-tempo days, which are generally between 6:15 and 6:30 pace for 10 miles.
I can't use work, the weather, scheduling or sick kids as excuses, as all of these things have been about the same over the past three years. In fact, it was three years ago this week that I finished my first 100 mile week using Arthur Lydiard's training. Finn's and Haiden's recent illnesses have made the past few nights feel much like they did at this time three years ago, when Finn was only four months old. Now we're all three years older, and while they are getting bigger and stronger by the day, it often feels like I'm either moving in the other direction or at best barely clinging to where I was six months or a year ago.
Still, each and every run starts with the clock at 00:00, and tomorrow is no exception. The feeling of gliding two inches above the road still often bubbles to the surface, and sometimes those numbers that seemed so important today aren't really the waypoint we thought they were. When I think back to this past fall, I remember how down and flat I was after Twin Cities in October and how much I was able to improve during the following three months before running the Phoenix Rock and Roll marathon in January. It can happen again. Three years down, three months until NYC.
10 miles, 1h08m, 6:49 pace, 4 mile eval in 6:07(153HR), 6:30(151), 6:34(151), 6:39(151), 1:00 to 120HR
Resting HR: 42
Sleep: 5h 5/10 (woke 4 times)
Legs: 7/10 A little stiff but plenty there
Temperature: 78 degrees, 60% humidity
8/4/08 pm., 5 miles easy on the treadmill around 7:50 pace, a bit tight