Monday, February 22, 2010

One Week to 'Go' Time!

I must admit I am a little nervous about my 'real' marathon debut coming up next weekend. My body is definitely going through I bit of a metamorphasis, and I have felt like a training butterfly lately fluttering from one long run to the next, with no cares about any set plans. In fact, this week I took the initiative for the first time to even look at a training plan to get an idea of what I should and should not be doing these last couple of weeks ahead of the marathon.

I know taper is the word, but I look at next week as just another long run in a succession of long runs to prepare me for the longer adventures I hope to tackle. I know that staying healthy is key, and all this mileage on the roads has been great because it has kept me fit and focused for bigger things this spring, summer, and fall, but I know the pounding on the roads can come at a cost.

Two weeks ago I put in 37 miles, and I am hard pressed to believe I got anywhere near that number in 2009, but most of the mileage was accumulated during a couple long runs at a very easy pace. This we I backed off a little and ran about 23 miles, but I am starting to understand that this easy pace is what can preserve the body through the weeks and months, as long as we respect our limitations and know where the line must be drawn with the fast, hard training that is so necessary, but can be damaging as well.

I feel like these last couple of weeks I have found a little more endurance, and have logged a couple 10+ mile runs without walking breaks. They have been slow, but they have been liberating, and encouraging. One of those runs happened today, and where I was happy that it occurred, and happy that I am just a hair off of bring my easy road pace down into the 8's instead of the 9 or 10 min per mile pace, I am left wondering how in the hell I am going to finish a marathon next weekend.

My 19.7 mile pain fest that happened a few weeks back is still looming in my mind, especially the last 4 miles that were about as painful as I can remember, and a large part of that was due in part to improper pacing. Today when I went out I wanted to use a run walk strategy, but I also just wanted to run. So I took it easy and smooth, and I resisted looking at my watch. I wanted to 'feel' it. Great news was that I felt pretty good, but could start to feel the fatigue setting in, and wrapped up 10.25 miles feeling like I didn't have another 16 miles in the tank... Maybe another 4 or 5, but certainly not 16.2. The fatigue probably also had something to do with a fast 3.5 miles run Saturday in my Vibrams, but it doesn't really address the issue of bad pace.

Granted at 9:05/mile pace, a pace I knew I wouldn't be running next weekend, I failed in grasping the purposes of this final long run. I know I need to run slower, I know I probably should use a run/walk strategy, and I know I love all this.

Let's face it, if anything, I am psyched that most of my runs lately have been at a set distance, but I always seem to find that little voice that says, "Go a little longer". Maybe this is that initial stage of really becoming an ultra runner? David Horton's quote from 'The Runner': " I am a runner. I like to cover distances; I like to cover miles", seems to resonate more and more each day.

I just wish I had a better idea how to solve the algebra problem that is my race next weekend. It is like a proof where all I have is a start line, finish line, and my body. The problem lies in figuring out how to 'x' from A to B.

This is such a weird place, I can see that 2010 might be a much better year than 2009 for me, but in the present I have a marathon that I kinda, sorta, but not formally trained for!

So here comes the taper. I'll shut up, rest up and revel in the grab bag of training that included all of the long runs that one usually gets in preparation... perhaps in a little different order, but I must be confident I did run the miles.

At the very least, I'll get the road marathon out of the system and off the list, and then will think about Pineland Farms. I was thinking about Traprock, but I am going to clear out the schedule and set my sights for, most likely, the Pineland Farms 50k. Probably throwing in a few of the Grand Tree and Eastern New England Trail Series Races for good measure between now and then, but I think the next race I run will be done with a proper training base and schedule.

Who knows... the joy is in the journey as much as it is in arriving at the destination.



pathfinder said...

Good luck next week Rob...reading your entry makes me feel you are ready!!

Dan said...

Rob, If you don't go out hard and run the first 10K in 36:00 you'll do fine in Hyannis. :-)