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|
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
|Another look at "The Jack" which had 8" of snow on either side, forcing running to the street ... not safe!|
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!