Spring Race Training: Week 12


Two months out from race day and things are still going well. This was another high mileage week with three hard workouts as usual, one of them a big, scary track session that loomed large over the past few weeks.

One update before I get to the blow by blow: The foot problem is gone. No pain and no more unsightly bump. Cortisone is an amazing substance indeed. One of my favorite comedians, Patton Oswalt, has referred to alcohol as “pain go bye bye juice,” but I’ve begun to think that term is more aptly applied to cortisone.

Last Sunday was a huge effort and it took its toll on Monday. I felt fine in the morning but as the day wore on I felt progressively tired, culminating in total sleepiness at 5PM, which necessitated a two hour nap.

Tuesday was sort of a crappy day. I had terrible insomnia on Monday due to an upset stomach. The run was slower than I’d wanted and my stomach was still iffy during the run. I wonder if it had anything to do with all the crap I ate on my birthday on Sunday. Ya think?

Even though Wednesday and Thursday were recovery days, they nevertheless featured a lot of miles. I walked a lot in the city on Wednesday (and cut short one run by two miles as a result). I was completely fried by Thursday afternoon, which featured a terribly windy PM run.

Friday was a day of reckoning, featuring a speed workout that I’ve mentioned in at least one previous post. Fortunately, the weather was near perfect — almost no wind, with cool temps and somewhat overcast. I hit the track early in the morning to beat the crowds (and schoolchildren) and had what I can only describe as a dream session.

The first few intervals were slightly slow (1:38-1:40), as I didn’t want to run them too fast. By the fifth, I’d hit my groove and was running most of them at 1:37 or within a second either way. The last four were 2-3 seconds faster each than goal time, something I’d planned to try. I felt so good that I was tempted to do four more (to make it 20), but decided that I’d been assigned 16 for a good reason and not to push things. Heart rate topped out at 90%, which was lower than I’d expected. They didn’t feel easy, but they didn’t feel particularly hard either.

Saturday’s recovery effort was another ass-dragging run, when I had to remind myself that I usually snap back in time for the big run on Sunday. I’d also taken care to eat a lot of carbs during Friday and Saturday and hydrate properly so I’d be fueled up.

This morning I headed out for another big run — a 22 mile long run with three fast miles at the end. It was, as usual, horrendously windy. The wind was primarily coming from the N-NW, at a steady clip of 15-20mph. I drove to the halfway point and ran the first six south, so I’d at least have the wind at my back for the early miles. Then I turned around and spent the next 11 miles running straight into a headwind. At Valhalla Dam I turned around and found that the wind had turned to a swirling, shifting wind. It was at my back for much of the time, a side- or headwind at others.

I managed just over 7:00 pace for three miles. My watch goes completely wacky in the wind (explain that one to me — it’s a GPS watch, not a windsock), so I had no idea how fast I was running. Sometimes it would say 8:20, others 5:40. And everything inbetween.

I did my best, doing my three miles in 21:04 (34 seconds off pace). I ran a half mile easy and then decided to tack on another fast half mile to justify the beer I’d planned to have later on. I managed that in 3:30. In all, I’m pretty happy with the run today, even if it wasn’t quite the pace I wanted. 22 miles at any pace is only going to help. I averaged 8:21, which is not bad in windy conditions. As a side note, I  hit the 22 mile mark in 3:04. According to Pete Pfitzinger, this is a pretty good indicator of one’s achievable marathon time.

I’ve received the remaining weeks (plus taper) of my training plan for the Newport race. There are four more weeks of quality running to go, followed by a fairly radical cutdown in both mileage and intensity during the taper weeks. Next week, a recovery week, features another cut at longish run plus 3 miles in 20:30 at the end (Tuesday), some fast 800s on the track, and a mere 16 miles on Sunday with nothing special.