Saturday, February 15, 2014

I Ran Like A Coward Today

Let me preface this post with ... "it might turn into somewhat of a rant".  But I haven't been this disappointed with a run in a long time.  But looking back, it probably should have been expected.  I was under some strange delusion (probably from the weatherman's forecast) that it was supposed to be 50F degrees this weekend in KC.  But when I woke up, it was 16F, 10mph wind, 90% humidity, and a "feels like" temp of 8 degrees.  8.   I said  friggin' 8.  I'm decent at math, and I can tell you that's 42 degrees away from 50!!!

I had my last 20 miler scheduled before the Little Rock Marathon in two weeks.  Since I've been running primarily on the treadmill lately because of the snow-packed sidewalks, I wanted to get one last good run on some hills before the race.  More than anything, I just wanted to see how much conditioning I'd lost from all the indoors training.

I ran "The Jack" twice today ... dodging cars mostly
It was still pretty cold when I started the run at about 9am.  And it was a later than normal start because I finished watching the USA beat Russia in Olympic Hockey, in an overtime shootout, 3-2!!!  USA - USA - USA!!!  I think it was actually up to about 25 degrees when I hit "Start" on my Garmin, but the air was really damp.  It actually snowed a little and spit some small star-shaped ice pellets during the run.  I decided to route my course along "The Jack" to get a realistic idea of where I was on running hills.  I'd been trying to keep the treadmill runs with some added incline each time, but it's just not the same as real hills.

The Jack
For those new to my blog, "Jack" is our dog's name ... but we mostly call him "Doug".  Don't ask.   But "The Jack" is the quad-crushing, VO2max killing, set of two training hills that cup the South side of Lake Jacomo.  (get it, "JAC"omo ... "The Jack").  These hills aren't the tallest or toughest in the world, but they're great for training, and they kick my butt.   

The steeper, and probably tougher of the two is a 153ft climb over a 1/2 mile.  I think at it's steepest, it's about a 9% incline.  The more reasonable, gradual side of "The Jack" is a 161ft incline over 1.5 miles.  It doesn't seem as cruel to my legs as its steeper brother, but it gives me a workout too.  And as I've said before, hills ... and especially hills around the lake, are where I worry the most about a MOUNTAIN LION ATTACK.  A stupid mountain lion will plan it out, and wait, and try to get me from behind when I'm exhausted from these hills!   He won't be a man and challenge me face to face.  We've never actually seen a mountain lion at the lake, but I know he's out there, just plotting his first move. 

So on a chilly, multiple incline, first outdoors run in a while, with absolutely no sidewalks in site, on exhausted legs from a heavy week of training ... I attempted to run 20 miles at, or below marathon pace.  Am I an idiot?  Most that know me would answer a resounding "YES"!!!

Basically it was horrible.  And I'm not sure what the run really told me.  I averaged a 7:46/mile pace when running, and a 7:50/overall.  I stopped twice to screw around with getting gels and water.  I know on the surface that pace doesn't sound horrible for me,  and considering the conditions, it's not bad.  But I'm most disappointed ... and well, pissed at my mental approach throughout the thing. I ran like a coward.

The biggest problem was the temperature, wind, and traffic.  It was cold, and it really got in my head.   Plus, the city of Lee's Summit doesn't clean off the public sidewalks like in some northern cities.  And when they clean the streets, the discarded snow from the snow plows is shot to the sidewalks and piles up quite high.  We got about 12" of snowfall recently, so even after melting a little this past week, all of the public sidewalks still had about 12-16" of snow packed on them.  You cannot run at marathon pace in snow that deep.  So me, and a few other brave idiot runners were forced to the street ... with cars.  Not the brightest idea, but what else am I to do?

Another look at "The Jack" which had 8" of snow on either side, forcing running to the street ... not safe!
Running in the street kept my focus the whole time on passing cars and not getting mashed, instead of maintaining my pace and controlling my breathing.  Most drivers who weren't on their cellphones as they passed were considerate and moved over a little.  But an a-hole in an Audi gave me a little "fly-by" while motioning to me to "use the sidewalk".   Yeah buddy, I would if I could.  A waved, "thank you" to him.  But other than that, there were no incidents.  But in some places, I was literally a few feet away from cars traveling 45-55 mph.  Too close for comfort and I wouldn't recommend it.  In fact, I would encourage everyone NOT to do that.  I just lost so much energy dealing with that.

But the long and short of it is ... that's what you have to deal with sometimes on a long run.  You don't puss-out and use everything as an excuse like I did today.  My pace was nowhere near what I wanted simply because I didn't focus.  I really backed down to all the challenges presented to me today, and just "got through" the run.   To be fair, I think running inside so much has actually sapped some of my fitness, but two weeks before a race, this run should have been much better than this.  Anytime it got tough, whether the conditions, or my conditioning, I just backed off the pace a little and didn't push it.  So that's why I say I ran like a coward.

So my plan for Little Rock might be altered a little.  Honestly, this run took me down a couple of notches.  Since I turned 45, and moved into another Age Group, I thought to myself, "Eh, BQ'ing shouldn't be too hard this year!"  What an arrogant thought.  It was definitely a goal for this race.  But sitting here right now, I'm not sure that's going to happen.  I'm trying to stay somewhat positive.  I mean, there were some real ACTUAL challenges to the run this morning.  My legs were exhausted before I even started.  But I just feel like I'm not really where I need to be in preparation for a marathon.  Hopefully a little taper period will get my legs re-energized.  Anyway ... hope your weekend run was better than mine!
... be great today!

13 comments:

  1. Come race day, with no cars and no other distractions, I think you will do great!. Can't wait to read about it!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Are you an idiot? Or are you an optimist? There's a very fine line of distinction between the two. I find myself walking on both sides of the line quite regularly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm an idiot Char ... without a doubt! But I get your point. By the way - serious question, do Australia send anyone to the winter Olympics? I'm sure they do, but I haven't noticed any athletes from your country.

      Delete
  3. I may have only been running for two years, but I think I can call BS when I see it. You had a bad run in bad conditions. Don't start talking yourself out of doing well at Little Rock. Put this run behind you and get your focus on the big game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I won't dwell on it - and I hope you're right. I just had something else way different in my mind planned for this run.

      Delete
  4. That was just crappy weather. You'll be fine. Glad the mountain lion didn't get you. I'm kind of laughing at your hills. My longest hill is less than a tenth of a mile! Your hills sound like mountains to my NOLA legs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly Grace, the hills were probably what kicked my butt the most. Treadmills just don't provide an accurate simulation, and that's what I'm most worried about for this race.

      Delete
  5. From my perspective, you done great! That road looked scary. No one around here would be doing 45 on that road - that's a 70-80mph road. They do 40-45 in the residential areas! Be safe! I'm rooting for ya'!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well thanks - yeah, I probably pouted about that one a little too much

      Delete
  6. I don't know how you guys do it with running where it snows - ugh. But honestly that is really dangerous running the road next to cars, that basically knocks out a whole lane that traffic cant't travel. Though I guess you were running when there wasn't too much traffic on the streets (Sat at 9 AM). But still that seems really risky. Not saying you deserved that Audi 1 finger salute, but not sure what else the guy coudl do. I would probably do all my running on the treadmill during the winter even though the treadmill is really boring due to safety reasons. (or somehow find a trail that is runnable during the winter)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Geez why don't you just put yourself through a meat grinder, throw yourself under a bus, and then bury yourself in a hole. :-) One run does not define your training or who you are or where your at as a runner. We all have bad runs. Heck last week I did 17 miles at a 8:21 pace and was hanging on for dear life at the end. Don't let this one run change your expectations for your marathon. And chalk it up as a good training run in tough elements.

    This is Rachelle by the way! It was nice to catch up with your shananigans today.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by ... your comment's always welcome!