Sunday, June 21, 2015

AR Runner 2 Miler Race Recap and Some Whining

I’m just going to get all the negativity our right away. The race didn’t go well. I haven’t got my legs back since Boston. The 8k, while not a disaster, did not go well. I tried to do some speed work after that hoping to get back into things. The week after the 8k I did a 12x400m work out and it wasn’t awful. I even managed to do a mid week medium long run. That weekend though, my actual long run was terrible. It was just so humid and hot. I slogged through 12 miles and really never ran well again after that. Doing speed work that next week just seemed impossible and like a really bad idea. I did manage some strides though. After that, I took it easy the rest of the week leading up to the 2 miler. No matter what I tried to tell myself, I just couldn’t get into the idea of the race. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have run it. I should have listened to my body (and my mind-I am so burned out) and sat it out. The race only cost $7.50 so it really wouldn’t have been a big deal and we would have saved money on a babysitter.

My 2m PR is 12:32. I ran that in 2011 at an early March race. In the past, I’ve liked 2 milers. As I get older or maybe as I focus on longer distances, my speed has really seemed to take a hit. I thought I would be fine though. Just 3 months ago I ran a 5k right at PR pace. The McMillian calculator predicts I can run a 12 minute 2 miler based on my 40:46 10k time from Capital City Classic back in April. I didn’t figure I could actually do that. Brian and I have looked at the calculator and it is pretty obvious that I’m the strongest at 5 and 10k so my shorter and longer stuff will always be a little slower than predicted if I use a 5 or 10k time. It didn’t seem like running my PR time would be that much of a stretch though so I figured I’d go out between 6:10 and 6:20. When I warmed up, I felt so sluggish. It was hot and humid but it was worse than just that. My legs felt like they had no spring in them at all. I’ve had many bad warm ups that came before great races though so I didn’t worry about it too much. The attitude though… Man, I just didn’t want to hurt the way you hurt in a 2 miler, especially in the oppressive conditions. I lined up and went out at my intended pace. A quarter mile in, I knew I was in trouble. I seriously considered throwing in the towel. I have never DNFed and I don’t want to but at the same time, it isn’t a good idea to just run yourself into the ground. I decided to keep going. I went through the 1 mile mark in 6:12. I was running pretty much on pace at that point but the thought of another mile seemed pretty hopeless. A girl that is approximately my speed but that I usually beat was beside me. I tried to just keep going and let the distance pass. We stayed together until the 1.5 mile marker. She pulled a little ahead of me and I figured I’d just let her go but the next thing I know, without even really trying, I was with her again. With a quarter mile to go, she took off and I fell apart. She ended up beating me by 14 seconds and we were together with a quarter mile to go. Ugh. My time was 12:51 and the last mile was 6:31. My overall pace was 6:26 which is about the pace I’ve been running 5ks. I felt really horrible at the finish line even though I slowed way, way down. I started cooling down pretty much immediately. What an awful experience. I sulked the whole time I cooled down. I do not like feeling this way about running. I know I need to do something different but I don’t know what it is. My left Achilles was bothering me but that happens periodically. I had actually felt it on the Wednesday and Thursday run before the race. I felt it in the cool down but it didn’t feel like anything more than a little ice and some stretching would fix.

Brian and I talked on the way home and he agreed that I needed a major adjustment of some sort. He suggested getting through the Go!Mile which was the next weekend and then taking and entire rest week and reassessing. I agreed. Later that night, I went to do a recovery run and it was clear that my Achilles was more than a little sore. I decided to just skip the Go!Mile and take my rest week immediately. I was sad but it felt like the right only thing to do. I was already signed up for the Go!Mile but too bad.

Through Tuesday, the ankle hurt bad enough that it was hard to walk without a limp. I iced 3-4 times a day. I didn’t stretch because it seemed like it might do more harm. It felt a little better by the end of the day Tuesday so I went to yoga and really got it stretched out. That was the best it had felt since the race. After yoga, it continued to feel better every day. We all went to the Go!Mile because the kids were doing the Mini Mile. Brian had a great race. He did 4:40! I really wish I had skipped the 2 miler and done this race but what’s done is done. I ran with Leo and the ankle felt good although it really wasn’t a true test as it was only about 3/10 of a mile and Leo only ran about half of it. I wanted to test it out but it was pretty hot by the time we got home. I waited until 8pm and ran 3 miles. I was hoping that I’d get out there and feel great. I’ve been really missing running this week and even longed for my pre dawn runs. It didn’t go well. My left ankle hurt pretty bad after a mile or so and my right ankle started hurting too. WTH!? I haven’t had problems with the right ankle since at least 2011. I’ve had Achilles issues off and on throughout the years so it is a problem for me and I can’t be that surprised.

I have to believe that this too shall pass. This is running for me. A big series of highs and lows. Marathoning has always done a number on me and Boston is just so punishing. I was so sad a couple of weeks ago that I couldn’t do anything but run 6 milers and now I’m limping through 2 and 3 milers. Gah!!! So frustrating. I’ve been doing eccentric exercises for the Achilles that really seemed to help last time. I’m also icing 3-4 time per day. I plan on looking up more PT type things I can do and I plan on getting to yoga as much as possible. I haven’t complained on here about it but the gym I was going to shut down the location with the best yoga instructor/kids club. They brought her over to a new club but only once per week and the kids club isn’t ready yet. Just last week, they started having a Tuesday night class at a new place with a kids club and we all liked it (all being me, Leo and Darwin). She has a new Monday night class to so I’m going to try to make that as well.

From here on out, I’m going to think long and hard about marathons. I do really enjoy training for them but they aren’t my best distance and, as much as I will miss them, I don’t want to be in this type of position ever again. I know I will be from time to time because that’s just running, but I don’t want to purposely walk into the lion’s den so to speak. I do still want my sub 3:15 and I plan to do Houston if I can and it seems like the right thing to do as the time gets closer. Houston is fairly flat so it shouldn’t tear me up as much. One thing I learned in Boston training is that I’m really good at 10k! I’ve always had such a mental block about that distance and was convinced I was bad at it. I am not and I feel like I could be really happy focusing on it and 5k. I’m hoping to rehab myself and focus on the Chile Pepper 10k XC in October. If I can maintain some fitness and build back up, it would be really good timing to have a good race there and then transition into Houston training. I’m just going to stay as positive as possible and work through this. I really miss running.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Rock Run 8k Race Recap

It is that time of year. It is hot and humid and most of us aren’t acclimated to it yet. Not that anyone really ever gets used to it but you do cope better after you’ve had some time to adjust. Every year there is one Grand Prix race that is the first really unpleasant race of the seasn. The Rock Run gets that distinction this year. Brian does a lot of the work for this race so he got up early and went out to do things like mark the course and set up water stops. I stayed home with the boys until the sitter arrived at 6am. The race started at 730 and it was about a 30 minute drive to the course. Thanks to early packet pick up, I didn’t need to do anything except show up, warm up and run. It was raining when I arrived but it wasn’t a downpour. As I warmed up, I realized that it wasn’t that warm and the wind was blowing in my face cooling me down. It was almost pleasant. This did not last long. Before I even turned around for the second mile of my warm up, I was already starting to feel pretty hot and gross and the soupy air was not exactly conducive to breathing. As the sun tried to peek through the clouds and the temps went up, it soon started to feel a little like a sauna.

I haven’t felt great since Boston so I was a little worried about this race. I figured I should be prepared though and my recent speedwork was respectable. I put my Capital City 10k time in the McMillan calculator and it predicted I could do 6:30s for an 8k. Capital City was perfect weather and was pre-marathon but it also was done on a lot of miles. I didn’t taper at all and ran a 15 miler the Wednesday before the race. With the weather and the questionable legs, I figured I would go out at 6:30 and just play it by ear. I did manage to do the first mile in 6:30. It wasn’t horrible but I could tell that there was no way I would be able to keep that up. I backed off and did the second mile in 6:45. At that point, I knew I was in trouble.  I felt awful but I figured it was the horrible weather and I told myself to just keep going and that everyone probably felt as bad or even worse than I did. There was a girl a few feet in front of me so I just locked on to her and tried to focus on bringing her in. I also started to watch for the leaders. It is an out and back course and I felt like I should at least be able to see the first few people soon. For some reason, it really bothered me that I couldn’t see them yet. Finally they came into view. Brian was in second place. He looked to be running well but didn’t seem to be enjoying himself much. As I met more runners, I could see that most people weren’t feeling too good. The turnaround came just before mile 3. Ughhh… I still had nearly 2 miles to go. I was really feeling terrible. Mile 3 was 6:46 pace so at least I wasn’t continuing to slow down. I caught and passed the girl in front of me but she hung on and came back up beside me. I was in no mood to go back and forth with someone for another mile and a half but I didn’t have the energy to drop her either. Sometimes, running beside someone is helpful but sometimes it really bothers me. Today, running beside someone felt like extra weight or maybe a too warm shirt that I wanted to strip off. I just tried to hang on to my pace and, lucky for me, she fell back. At the 4 mile mark, there was a little bit of a decline so I tried to tell myself that it was all downhill and less than a mile to go. Unfortunately, the split was 6:58 so I was getting slower. There was nothing I could do though. At that point, I was just hanging on and had no fight left in me. If someone would have passed me, I wouldn’t have had the speed or the motivation to try to stay with them. I knew there was at least one girl at the turn around that was close enough to catch me and there was the girl I had passed that could also come back up. As I got closer, I really started to feel bad. All I could think about was finishing. I started to worry that I might pass out. I did every trick I could think of to get me to the finish line. I would pick short goals like telephone poles and other landmarks and just focus on getting that far. Once I got pretty close, I somehow found the strength to speed up and the last split ended up being 6:40 pace. Brian was near the finish and told me that I was probably fine but not to “put the brakes on”. I finished and really was a little woozy. My vision swam but I could tell I would be fine. After I got my chip clipped, I saw the two girls behind me finish up. They were 14 and 22 seconds behind me. The looks on everyone’s faces said it all. People were pale and drained and just looked spent. Like I said, there is one of these races every year.
Just before the turn around.

While I didn’t do great, I did good enough. I ran a 33:36 which is 6:46 pace. The only other 8k I’ve ever run was in 2002. I was actually able to find the results online and it was a 36:52 so this was a big PR even though it didn’t feel like it. I was 4th overall and the 3 ladies that beat me are typically quite a bit faster than I am so I beat everyone that I should have. It sucked hard though. I was not very happy out there so I’m hoping this will motivate me to work harder. From here until October, it is all short stuff thankfully.  The next race is the Arkansas 2 miler on 6/13 and the very next weekend is the Go! Mile.