"It's a little self indulgent..." - My mom
"After I read a sentence, I get mad at myself for caring what you're doing." -Karl Dusen

Thursday, November 11, 2010

That's it, 2010

I had hoped my season would end at McAlpine Park in Charlotte after the USATF Club cross country championships. Despite feeling pretty great less than a week after Marine Corps, I had doubts about running fast enough to contribute even to the B team. I alternated between confidence and uncertainty, especially this week. Now the decision on the race is out of my hands.

My plan was to have my tonsils removed Dec. 16, at which point I would have nothing to do for a week at work, the cross country race would be over and I would be taking time off anyway. Unfortunately, two doctors have to coordinate their schedules for the surgery, and the only day they are able in December is the 6th. So, no more nationals for me.

That effectively ends my consequential season. I'll still run the Candy Cane City 5k and some Thanksgiving races, but I just don't care now. I took yesterday off, and I might take today off, too. I'm tired. My throat hurts, and I don't want to complain any more after today.

At least now I won't be rushing to try to get back to running in time for the WPIAL alumni run, a tradition I have missed just once, though I didn't run two of the other years.

Despite having two, possibly three races left, it's as good a time as any to review how the year went -- lots of promise and encouraging performances, but ultimately my peak races were disappointing. In the spring I ran increasingly longer races and got faster in each- the five-mile split of the Monument Avenue 10k was faster than my open 8k time at the St. Patrick's Day race, and my estimated 10k split at Cherry Blossom was faster than my Monument Avenue overall time. That was certainly encouraging. Whether I tapered too much or just wasn't ready for the humidity, I was out of it quickly at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. My rebound race, at the Pacers Half Marathon, was better, though for all intents and purposes I stopped racing after 10 miles and jogged in the last three, still ending up nine minutes faster than the week before.

I ran a few 5ks in the summer to keep myself limber -- a meltdown at the Gatons 5k, a perfect race at the Run After the Women 5k in early June, where I ran the most even-splitted race of my life. I was a little bummed to have run the same time a month later at the Independence 5k, though I knew my mileage was building up like I had never seen before, that week being my first at 90. I ran my first 100 while in Reno and came home to a miserably hot Washington, including the Crystal City 5k, which was somewhere between 96 and 98 degrees.

I learned why when it's one guy versus the field, you pick the field when I w
ent back to Pittsburgh for the Run for Roch. I faced challenges from five guys during that race and beat four. I lost, but I had a fun time doing it. I noticed, months later, that the fellow who beat me there was in a photo with Klim and Dwyer during the 2008 Philadelphia Distance Run on the GRC blog's slideshow.

I took all of August off of racing and just kept stacking the mileage and foun
I liked it. I had probably my best week of training toward the end of the month, when I hit 127 miles and knew I could handle it.

September varied, as I got close to Chicago. I hurt my back sleeping on the floor the night before the alumni race, and ran an underwhelming time there, but the next day I had a spectacular marathon workout in the mountains with Molz and Lauder. I realize now, having done two marathons in 22 days, the difference between a good marathon and a bad marathon. I arguably ran a better 23 miles that day, climbing and falling, than I did at either Chicago or Marine Corps, yet besides the near paralysis in my back the next day, I was fine and able to run close to three minutes for my 1ks three days later.

Trying to run Parks a week after that workout, though, might had been folly. Thought I felt fine for a few miles, it was clear my tank was empty. I was better a week later when I ran a strong 4k of the Navy Federal 5k. I went out a little fast, but it was okay, I liked the race. The next weekend I did the Run Against Cancer 5k for the heck of it, didn't feel great, and bagged it.

Then came Chicago, and for a long time, I felt like it was going pretty well. It was warm, yes, but we were in the shade. I was cruising along and went through the half in what was a 3:03 PR. That is pretty friggin' cool, and I didn't feel like I had gone out too fast, either. But the heat, oh lordy the heat...

I should have done more marathon-pace long runs somewhere flat, because even though your legs just go on automatic, flat gets old after a while. As for in-race adjustments, when I started to fall off in the second half, I should have taken a little break, maybe even walked, and joined a pack, as I did it, I just fell farther and father back.

As for Marine Corps, the only thing I regret is not asking Jake for a shirt or jacket or something in the last 10k. Also, what the hell happened to Outlaw? I thought he said he was going to run the last few miles with me?

Anyway, I hope that this tonsillectomy does something to improve my breathing while I sleep and my susceptibility to colds, and that will mean more meaningful recovery training-wise.

In other news:

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