Saturday, July 26, 2014

Not Dead Yet

"I'm not dead yet!" "Don't worry, you will be soon."
I've been feeling not exactly dead this week, but worn pretty darn thin, especially for coming off of a week of doing no karate and no strength work and running only 24 miles. There were 60 miles on my schedule, but I knew before the week even started that I was unlikely to run all of them, just because my peak so far is only 45. But I was optimistic, coming off of three days of rest, and figured I'd just take it day by day and do every run I could.

By Tuesday afternoon, though, I didn't feel at all like I'd just had three days of rest. (Which, I guess technically I didn't, since I didn't sleep much Sunday night, did an hour bike ride that afternoon & 1.5 hours of karate that night, then got up early Tuesday morning for strength work.) How I was going to pull off a monster of a 10 mile track workout was not clear to me, but my rule in all things running (barring actual injury) is to at least try, so I tried, and wonder of wonders it was not awful. (Hard, yes. Amateur-ish-ly executed, yes. But not awful.) As noted, my Wednesday & Thursday "easy" runs were not easy. Wednesday in particular was quite rough. But I got them done.

On Friday, I had a tempo run scheduled that was supposed to go:

  • 2 miles warm-up
  • 3 miles @ 7:30/mile
  • 5:00 jog
  • 10 x 100m sprint w/ 0:30 jog breaks
  • 1.5 cool down

Any time I have to do short sprint intervals like this, I go to the track, because I just do not feel safe running all-out on concrete around pedestrians. Traffic lights don't lend themselves too well to this sort of thing, either. BUT, Friday afternoon, I left work late, which meant that if I'd gone to the track, I wouldn't have gotten back home until around 7pm, and in my neighborhood on a Friday night, looking for parking at 7pm can mean a good half hour driving around looking for a spot within walking distance of home. So I regrettably decided to ditch the 100m's, run around 8 miles starting at home, & see whether at some point in there it felt like 7:30's were in the cards. (As of 5pm, it absolutely did not.)

It was pretty darn hot out for San Francisco (81-82ish when I started, I think), so between that, the insane afternoon headwind out of the west, & the fact that my usual route is a gradual-but-relentless uphill climb for the first three miles, I was not moving fast nor feeling good. (I think my first mile was in the 9:20 range.) Running 2:00/mile faster? HAHAHAHAHAHA.

By the time I was approaching 2.5 miles I'd warmed up enough that I was running in the ~8:30 range, but it still wasn't feeling easy & I couldn't imagine cranking it down by a full minute per mile. Since I was approaching the end of the relentless uphill & the rule is to at least try, though, I figured I'd give it just a *little* more gas without going crazy, try to to gradually speed up some, & just see what happened pace wise. If I could crank out some 7:30's, great; if not, then I'd just run 3 miles at what I thought 7:30 effort should feel like, & that would have to be good enough.

And once again, wonder of wonders, I found a little touch of speed. I decided I wouldn't look at my watch until I felt like I'd settled into a good HM / LT-type effort, and after about 3 minutes or so I kind of went, "This feels about right, maybe 7 out of 10." And then I nearly choked when I looked at my watch & saw I was running ~7:10 pace (ie, 10K pace).

Yes, I was running at a comfortably hard effort, but that usually puts me in the 7:20-7:40 range, NOT 7:10. I let myself slow down juuuuuust a tad (knowing the goal was to do three of these), but still ended up with a 7:20 split for that first mile. In the second & third ones, I just tried to maintain the same comfortably hard level of effort & keep my pace above 7:15ish (because I really cannot make a case for running faster than that on a tempo run).

In the end, this happened:

The downside, alas, was some pain in my right hip and some lingering soreness in my quads & right foot, which I'll be honest, has me a little freaked out for my 18 miler / SF Half on Sunday. (Hence my decision not to run on Saturday & instead spend it rolling & stretching.) But on the upside, it's given me some confidence that, in spite of how I feel when I'm running a lot of the time, I'm not in fact dead yet and actually do have some strength & speed to summon even when I feel like crap. Which.....feels kind of like the whole point?


1 comment:

  1. Not dead yet? Well, always look on the bright side of life...

    Marathon plans are at least somewhat aspirational. To me, anyway. I know of only one person who has ever stuck completely to his plan (it worked, but not-entirely-sticking to the plan has also vaguely worked for me before).

    I'll be stalking you folks at SFM this morning! Have fun.