Improving. I Hope.
Saturday we did 18 miles, at an 11:04 pace. That’s not promising for breaking our time from last year. The last couple miles were really hard and I even walked about a tenth of a mile at mile 16.8. I hit a hard wall. But I gathered up and ran the last mile and we finished our 18 at 3:19 and change. While that’s faster than our overall pace last year, if we’d done 8 more miles at a 12 minute pace, about what we were running at the end, we’d end up with the same time as last year: about five hours.
So I really need to improve my fitness and I don’t have a lot of time left to do it. This is hard work and I need to push extra to get where I want to be. This has led to me deciding on a drastic course. I am taking a Nitzschean approach for the remainder of my training: whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.
Now of course, this is manifestly untrue. It risks overtraining injury, acute injury, burnout, etc. But right now, I don’t have a choice. I have to do better, and fast. I have less than six weeks until race day, and I need to make some major upgrades to my abilities between now and then. So yesterday I laid down a really hard run, especially for mid-week.
After work, I went out for a tempo run. I had 7 miles on my schedule. I did 10. I had no pace on my schedule, just get the miles in. I pushed hard. I wasn’t close to my race-pace 10 mile PR, of about 84 minutes. And I did pause my GPS watch to pee and fill up my hand held water bottle a couple times. But those totaled probably 5 minutes. The rest of the time I ran at or above my half-marathon PR pace. 10 miles, 1:31:15. 9:04 pace.
My hamstrings and quads are sore, my knees hurt (especially the right one), and my abs have been cramping nonstop for four days now. But if I’m going to upcycle this jelly-sack I call a body into something that can run 26.2 miles in 40 days, I need to accept that there’s gonna be some pain. Pain is ok. As BB always says: if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
We have 20 miles on Saturday morning. I need to fuel better (350ish calories during the 18 mile run was not enough), but I’m finding it hard to power stuff down. I feel like I need to work on food early in the race, and then more sugar-based fuels toward the end. A quick calculation shows that I ought to be getting around 250 calories an hour while I run, based on what my technology thinks I burn. So I’m going to shift it up and see what I can do.
I think I’ll be ready, especially if I really do kick up my speed and distance to compensate for my lack of fitness coming into the training season. I can do this. I know I can because I have before. Now that the weather has broken, and I’m running in temperatures ranging from the high 40s to mid 60s, I’m feeling better and turning in faster times. My fitness is way up over two months ago. But I have a long way to go, both literally and figuratively.