"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, April 7, 2011

A bit of rest

I made the gut-wrenching decision to forgo the Cherry Blossom race this year in favor of a few additional days of training to tackle the 5k. Sticking with Cherry Blossom would have added 10 miles and another race to create a five-week block of races, which, while fun, would not have been great for my training in the long run. The GMU invite for CB was an entirely rational decision and will be better for me in the end.

But it didn't feel that way when our 15 men and three women ran by in their GRC singlets. Every one of the guys had a fantastic race. Even in the rare instance when their time was not faster than before, running those times under those circumstances was an achievement. To not have run among my teammates in a race that we dominated was torture.

Instead I planned on an early morning fartlek that pretty much didn't happen. I slept a little more than three hours to wake up at 5 and head to the city with Nate and Luke. Those two slept in the car while I tried to do 3x(8 min hard, 2 easy, 2 hard, 4 easy) on Hains Point and the Mall, but it was a disaster from the start. I was using my heart rate monitor, and it suggested I was north of 180 during my warmup. Given my lack of sleep, that might have had shred of truth to it. After my 15 minute warmup, I had at it, but 44 seconds in, I knew I was asking too much of myself. I cruised along for another 45 seconds then decided to take it easy from then on.

In the afternoon I ran around Wiggy's hood of Twinbrook, down the Trolley Trail to North Bethesda with Danielle. After running with her for a while, I turned back and headed to Karl's and did some drills.

I had to have some dental work done to fix the unfortunate effects of the mouthpiece I briefly wore to try to ameliorate my sleep apnea. I had never worn a retainer before, and had not developed the half-conscious awareness of warming the retainer with water before removing it. Unable to sleep one night, I tore it out, severely damaging a molar, which eventually had to be removed. So, Monday was the day, and when I slept until 7:30, a likely outcome after being out of the house for 15 hours on Sunday, I ended up skipping my run and taking a day off.

Tuesday night I went out and ran a Thomas, focusing on staying relaxed. That, evidently, meant going pretty fast, because I averaged around 6:00 for my first four miles until I slowed down, realized how fast I was going.

Wednesday was ripe for a good workout- I was feeling good, the weather was great, the workout got shorter (6,5,4,3,2,1) and I was confident I could hit the A group's target times: 75s,74s,73s,72s,71s and a 68. Some of the later ones were ambitious, but I felt I could handle them.

I felt sluggish on the warmup, but managed to do a 2:30 800 at the end to get my legs ready to go. I followed the dudes through the 2400 in 7:25, so a little fast, but I felt totally comfortable, though my intestines were giving me some trouble. About 500m into the 2k, I started to feel them again, and realized it would be untenable. I cut off at 800 in 2:28-perfectly on pace- and headed up to the bathroom. When I got back, the group was doing a recovery lap and I was relaxed and ready to go for the mile. I was at 3:40 through 1200, but had a rough fourth lap and finished in 4:56, four seconds slow. The other guys, having run about 4:50, were already well ahead of me on the recovery, which they were doing much faster than I was used to. I caught them, and we started the 3:36-goal 1200, but I was out of it by the 200m. I was still beaten from the recovery that didn't take place. I ran with everyone for the last 400m, which I did in 70.
I did another 400 in 71 by myself, then prepared to run the 68-target 400 with everyone else. I told myself to stay loose, no matter what, and if running that fast would mean I would lose my loose form, I would stop. I made it 200m in 33 low before I tightened up. Good enough for a workout that was already over.

It was disheartening to see that even if I had been able to match their interval times, the amount of recovery I needed still separated me from the A group. I wonder if I will ever get there. What are reasonable goals, anyway? Then I lost my wallet, which made me feel even worse.

Thursday afternoon I did a 30 minute "p word" run, planning for 10 minutes at 6:00, 10 at 5:45 and 10 between 5:00 and 5:15. I got very lucky with the traffic at each crossing and never had to wait to cross. I was a little fast, though. I hit 5:30 for the first mile (way too fast!) and by the 1.6 mile mark, where I was supposed to hit 10 minutes, I was only at 9:00, meaning I had run 5:37 pace to get there. I ran in a big circle for a minute to start the next 10 minutes on the right mark. I ran more evenly there, hitting the half mile in 2:52 (though it was uphill) and the mile in 5:38. I ended up averaging 5:42 for the next 10. The last went pretty well, though I surely would have run faster had I controlled myself more early on. I ran 1.9 miles, averaging 5:15 pace. I was happy with it as a whole, though I really needed to correctly estimate my first mile pace. That kept me from dipping under 5:05-5:10 at the end.

I'll then have an easy day Friday before running the GMU Invite's 5k Saturday evening. I hope that I can run a better race on top of fixing what went wrong in my pre-race routine at Richmond.

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