Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stompin' My Way Towards the Almaden Times Classic 10k FInish

The body is an amazing piece of equipment. It can be put through hell and accomplish some amazing feats, it can perform well under pressure and can push harder and longer than you would have ever imagined. Just the same, sometimes your engine needs a rest, needs to be able to recover from the gruelling expenditure from the weekend previous.

Almaden Times Classic 10k - 53:09 (8:36 pace; 99/272)

I didn't know what to expect from this one. On the one hand my legs felt good. They didn't seem too stressed from the 50k from the weekend previous. On the other hand I knew I hadn't had too much rest and I hadn't ran hardly at all since then, so I didn't know whether the legs were ready.

I arrived that morning with grandiose ideas. I'm running a marathon next weekend and figured a long run would be good to do the weekend before, so why not run the 10k, then turn around and run the course again to fit in a half marathon. Once I woke up I realized I was tired and maybe doing a half mary wouldn't be a good idea. So I lugged myself the 20 minutes to the start and toed the line.

Right away I knew this would not be my day. All I really wanted was to run a sub 8 minute mile pace. Simple, I thought, because of the 7 10ks I've already ran there was only one that was over an 8 minute pace, and that one was a trail 10k with a huge elevation gain, so it was realistic. Now I knew I wouldn't be able to do that.

The first 2 miles were sub 8, coming in at 7:43 and 7:56. Not bad, but not good, because I already wanted to take a walk break. My legs felt like they had bricks tied to my feet. When I would run I could run fast, and it felt good, but it didn't last long. This resembled more like the end of a marathon or 50k when your legs are heavy and tired. Your endurance is still there, but the legs can't do what you want.

I took a lot of walk breaks this time. I knew that I wouldn't be able to run a better 10k, or at least run one the way I had wanted to run it, so why torment myself? And so the day went. This was the first time that each successive mile was slower than the previous. The only pace that was faster was the .2, and that was because with a half mile to go I turned the afterburners on and took off, running as though I hadn't ran at all. I mean I was passing people as though they were standing. So it showed that I had it in me to run faster. The problem was that a half a mile was about as far as I could go until my legs gave out on me.

What went wrong? My engine just needed a little time to cool off, to re lubricate and bring itself back up to optimal performance. Add to that not training as much and it would mean that my recovery time would need to be longer. So my original idea of running a half mary, let alone a 10k, so soon after running a trail 50k the weekend before was not realistic. Will this effect the marathon next weekend? I don't think so, but who knows. I think it best that I take care of my engine, of this piece of machine, and let it build itself back up to its optimal performance level. I may do some light running at marathon pace, which would be around a 10:30 pace for a 4:30 finish. Either way, my training is not what it used to be, so I need to stagger my runs more (whereas at the height of my training I could run a race virtually every weekend, and had ran 2 50ks within 2 weeks) and focus on recuperation until my training returns.

A disappointing 10k that taught me a very good lesson.

1 comment:

Bill Carter said...

Hi Brian

You have to take it easy on yourself. You have put in a lot of miles lately and they truly do add up after a while. I think your 10k time is actually quite respectable. I also think it is a good thing to do a race every now and then when our legs are just totally gassed. It helps us on those days when we are well rested and going after a PR.

Best of luck.