Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Serving Two Masters, Bad Ice Cubes, and Doing the Fox Trot

Thank God Sunday will not be a dance contest because I really can't dance! I can recite to you the steps to the fox trot, but the action itself, not so much!

So far this has been a weird week. I feel like I have been on a right brain/left brain tug of war when it comes to the training. I basically did nothing over the weekend and then decided to head out on Sunday afternoon for a little 'speed' work. Keeping in mind I haven't done anything of the sort for months, I wasn't expecting much!

Went out and decided to just do a little 'pick up' workout. Running 4 minutes at a moderate pace to begin, and then going up a gear or two for 1 minute of faster running. In leiu of walking breaks, I decided to make it continuous - 6 sets for 30 minutes of running. Quads were adequately thrashed at my first attempt to add a little speed to the training, but it was good, I didn't wuss out or stop and walk for the latter reps.

Monday I spent the morning moping because I hadn't gotten my stuff together to get out and run long, which basically meant I wouldn't have another opportunity to do a long training run between now and the GAC Six-Hour coming up on Mother's Day, basically because both weekends are races, and would probably be a little too much trying to piggy back a longer run and a race. Watching the Boston Marathon coverage, one of the perks of living back in Mass. on Patriots Day, I quickly got inspired by two amazing performances by Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher. Yes, both finished in 3rd place in their respective races, but both ran to win, and just when it seemed like Kara was down for the count she surged back. Great, great stuff.

Thinking it is never too late to turn a day destine for a zero, into something of worth, I quickly gathered the gear and headed out to the trails. The basic goal: to run for three hours and do so in a manner where I didn't feel too awfully thrashed afterwards. At the close of the day I had 18.5 miles on the Garmin over 3 hours and 31 minutes, the problem was it turned out to be learning through suffering. The last three miles were not very fun, and instead of putting me in the right frame of mind going into the 6 Hour, they made me happy I hadn't sent in my application yet.

The first couple of hours were okay, but from 2:10 to 2:40 I just lost it altogether and really couldn't sustain any extended periods of running. I think I am just too ambitious for my liking at this point. I went into the run thinking I'd drink every 20 minutes, eat every 40, pop ibuprofen at 2 hours, as well as a S-Cap at 2 hours. My strategy was to use a 10 min. run / 2 min. walk strategy. Though the first 20 minutes were without a walking break, and at a pace under 10 minutes a mile. First mistake. I also tried to walk the ups and downs, which screwed with my timing of walking breaks. The second mistake was that as I got closer to two hours I didn't scale back the intervals in a logical progression 9/3, 8/4, 7/5. Instead, I sort of plopped down at 2:10 or 2:20 mad I couldn't handle 10 minutes of continuous running, and thinking about the time, distance, and pace. I also started feeling gross from the Power Bars, or Succeed Ultra, or S-Cap, or something.

Cover 18.5 over 3 1/2 hours isn't bad for a bloke who hasn't had much of a training base since coming back from injury land, and in my growing knowledge of Buddhist Philosophy, one of the elements to Happiness is Inner Peace, and this partly arrives through reflecting on the things we have, and not longing for those we do not. Greater fitness will come with more training, but the ability to be out in the solitude and serenity of nature, happily plodding along, is a very nice ability to have.

When I arrived home I had the usual cramping muscles and aches, but I also developed a pain in the pit of my stomach that made sleep uncomfortable and the following day unpleasant sitting at my desk at work. Bad ice cube? Rejection of the S-Cap? Sort of baffled and scared at the same time, but I feel okay now, so what ever it may have been has hopefully passed.

I am still optimistic about attempting the GAC 6 hour, I don't really have any other times to experiment between now and then for a longer period of time, but perhaps I can go with the distance goal of running my first marathon ever, road or trail. Yes, I know, I shouldn't be ultra dreaming without the Marathon under the belt. Whatever, I sort of find that line of thinking a little passe', especially if you have long training runs in excess of 2 hours on multiple occassions. Remember, this blog should be a spot for discussion, so please fire away with comments!

Looking forward to my Fox Trot with Trail Running friends Sunday, also with the hopefully 1st Annual MacDonald Family Hill Climb to the top of Big Blue following the race. I have a three-year old and five-year old that want to trail race Dad to the top of the 'big' Hill, and last year after the Skyline Race at the Blue Hills the older, then 4, was halfway to the observation tower before we reigned him in.

NMC Overlook Trail 7 Miler to follow the next weekend in Fitchburg, and then the GAC 6 Hour... hopefully. I honestly look at the 6 hour as my 100 miler right now. I know what I am currently capable of and 6 hours just seems far out, but no one arrives at a 100 or 150 KNOWING they are going to be a finisher. I know I can do 4 hours, those remain two are where I endeavor to move beyond myself.

The next few weeks are also exciting because I will be beginning a coaching position working with people who want to run and walk their first 5k, great stuff!

Happy Trails!


pathfinder said...

Isn't training so crazy? from one moment to the next you get ups and downs that start to sway your thinking and opinion of yourself.

I think it was you that mentioned in one of my whinning sessions that I should not worry about the bad times or bad feelings as they only make up a part of the whole picture and as long as I was getting in the work and the runs, I was moving forward toward my goal.

When I think in those terms I understand completely.....but those times when I dream big yet run poorly, I tend to forget for a short time.

It seems to me that if one can accomplish 3 or more hours at a time then if they pace and fuel properly, they can run any distance they want.

Or at least that is what I am telling myself!

I think the fact that you experienced the struggle at 2:10 or so yet was still able to accomplish 3:30......tells the real story about your capabilities.

Listen to the coach in you...he is wiser than you think.

RunninRob said...

Thanks Pathfinder!

Yeah, I just uploaded the Garmin data to Motion Based, and allegedly I went for 19.2 over 3:35, which is 11:15 pace. Which would explain the trashed feeling! Makes me wonder about the difference between the data received from devices out in the field vs. those when uploaded to other programs. If I am thinking correctly, the data in the field is calculated straight line, and the upload gathers the elevation data for the "wheel measured" reading, hence the additional distance.

I think if we don't drean BIG we never allow ourselves the opportunity to be BIG. I have resolved that all I have to do is show up for the 6 hour, and leave with the group at the gun. Whatever happens from there will happen. Just have to be smart and tough, but also need to remember to have fun.

Trail Pixie said...

Rob, what a fox.