Sunday, June 28, 2009

Highs and Lows

My apologies for the lack of updates again. I don't really have any excuses except laziness.

We've hit the longer miles sooner than we did last season, which is simply a factor of time. Last season, we had an extra six weeks to train, so the coaches had us spend a few weeks at the 6-8 range before hitting the double digits. Not this season! Six weeks INTO the season we're already at 8-10. Craziness.

Last weeks' run was an 8-miler along the Rillito River and what an awesome run it was. It was, do date, the best training run I've ever had. I found my groove, I settled in, and I hauled. Ok, well I hauled for ME. But even more? I was consistent- I'm pacing right around 10:30, which I am totally okay with. I'm aiming for a 4:30:and change time this race, which I'll need to maintain a 10:18/mile to achieve. I still have a ways to go, but it's a point of reference...

For my birthday, Todd gave me this awesome GPS watch that pretty much does everything except the laundry (damn!). I have it set so that I can run intervals based on distance- I run for a mile, it beeps and tells me to walk (it doesn't need to tell me twice, believe me), and then after 1 minute, it beeps again and tells me to run for another mile. Rinse and repeat 26 times. FUN!!

Since I've been training, I've been right around a 10:30/mile pace. Good runs, bad runs, runs where my foot cramps, I'm always at a 10:30! So now I need to take these numbers and figure it all out- I want to be smart about this. Last marathon, I lost a LOT of time walking. I was running a 7 minute run/1 minute walk interval, but also walked through the water stations, so I was walking a LOT. In hindsight, I should have blown off the interval walks if I'd just went through a water station, but I didn't know any better. I've heard that you always knock an easy 15 minutes off your first marathon time since you know the I'm hoping to do that and then just plain go faster!

So I changed my interval t0 1 mile run/1 minute walk to be somewhat consistent with water station placement, so that I can train to run all the way in between water stations, walk through them, and not lose any time walking in between (unless placement is more than 1 mile).......I don't know, it doesn't make much sense to me either.

I'm going to meet with Coach Rick to discuss "strategery" as I put it. He just ran a PR in Seattle yesterday, a 4:38! He turns 55 on Tuesday, the same day he's going to shave off HALF of his beard and wear until his half-Ironman in Vegas. He made a deal that if he reaches his fundraising goal by June 30, he'd shave half of his beard. Well, people waited until he was running the Rock N' Roll Marathon to donate, so when he came back to his hotel room to shower and rest, he'd discover that he had only two days left with his whole beard (which he's had since 1984). Its' last supper will be held atop the Space Needle.

So, armed with this new pace and knowledge that I might be able to achieve a 4:30 (it's a lofty goal for me, I won't lie), I set off to conquer some hills.....because, well, San Francisco might have a few I've heard....

Mentally? I came to a grinding, screeching halt.

I know, I know, I'm such a drama queen.

What happened? Sabino Canyon happened. Now, Sabino and I have a history. Last year, this was the place where I really did a number on my IT band, but didn't know it until a week later at my 18-miler, where I ended up having to stop at mile 16 in tears and a lot of pain. I made the mistake of running it in "dead" shoes. Shoes that LOOKED fine, but had logged way too many miles and weren't supportive enough. That among with other small physical things stopped me dead in my tracks about 6 weeks before race day.

Yesterday was my chance at revenge. I was in new(ish) shoes, my core was stronger than ever (thanks, Rohan!), and I had some intense chi running lessons under my belt......bring it on.

Well, I wake up to an overcast day, and it's muggy. At 6 am, it's already 82 degrees, and 40% humidity......not ideal. We start out, and I can feel the humidity just sucking the life out of me. First mile, not bad, 10 mins! Ok, slow down a bit, you still have 6.4 miles.....

Let me explain about Sabino Canyon- it's an out and back course, 3.7 miles each way, and going in, it's pretty much all uphill- with the last mile gaining about 340 feet. It doesn't SOUND like a lot, but holy crap, you really feel it.

So I just struggled with these hills, the humidity, the was certainly a wakeup call. I was all over the place mentally and just not really feeling great. I was so disheartened at how slow I felt like I was going, and how hard these hills were, and how would I ever be able to run hills in San Francisco if I couldn't run these, etc etc. I'd worked myself up into a pretty decent funk, and then I reached the top. Three older me who'd passed me on the last torturous stretch (and encouraged me along the way) were resting at the top. I asked them if this is where I was supposed to play the theme to "Rocky" and they started to sing it as I came around the little roundabout and raised my arms above my head.....

And then it was time to run down. Wheee!!!! I tried really hard to control the downhill part as to not overexert my IT band. I'd put on my knee brace as an afterthought and I'm kind of glad I did- it provided a little extra stability both mentally and physically.

Was I glad it was over? Yes.

It's going to take some mental "beefing up" for these hills. More than I thought. All day yesterday and today I've been mentally checking in with my knee, not knowing if it's injured or if I'm just being hypersensitive to it.....

My average pace for Sabino was an 11:30/mile. Less than stellar but not bad considering the circumstances, I admit. So now it's working on speed ON hills and not injuring myself in the process.

I think I can do that....


Racn4acure said...

I think you will be just fine. Don't be too hard on yourself. You have plenty of time yet. The canyon sounds like a fun run, actually. I like running and walking off the beaten track. Hang in there, and if you can figure out how to make the GPS do laundry, let me know where to get one! Enjoy the day. Art

Canicas said...

Just so you know, that last 3/4 of a mile at Sabino is as steep as anything they'll throw at us on the Nike course. You'll do GREAT!