Monday, 20 April 2009

Success and Second Thoughts

Run: 24km @ 2hr22 (Greenbelt Trails)

First, let's get the success point out of the way. In my short "history" as a runner, the 21.1km distance has not been kind to me. More specifically, my right foot, which gets painful aches near the 3rd and 4th toes. This strikes anywhere from 11km to 19km, depending on form and fatigue. Sunday's long run was the first time ever that I've been able to run a full 21.1km without taking a break or dealing with this foot pain. While unofficial, I've got a new PR for the 21.1k distance - 2hr06. Deep down I just knew I could do the distance, and I wasn't letting anything stop me...including the massive blood blister that made itself known 18km in. No more double-soled socks on long runs for me.

A bit more success, too. Yesterday's run was the longest non-stop run I've ever done. The last 500m got pretty tough as things started to fatigue away, but overall things felt pretty good and held on to a smooth gait too. Really, it turned into a very good run for me. Lots of quality came out again.

I managed to find a babysitter so I could do this run, and she is my daughter's favorite. She's such a great role model for my daughter - at 14, she's a serious goalkeeper in competitive soccer, and probably trains similar hours each week as I do. She's very responsible, very attentive, and loves to watch my daughter. My daughter had a great time with her, while I had a great run - that helps to remove any guilt from the parent.

The run itself was different - I didn't want to be running with cars, or even near cars. The sun was out, the temperature was warmer than usual, and I just wanted to enjoy the day. I decided to run the Greenbelt trails around Kanata and Bells Corners. One of the fun aspects of these trails is the undulating terrain - rollers, long-duration hills, curves, shade, it's all there. I headed east through Kanata towards Bells Corners, then north towards the 417 highway. I was curious to know how the bridge expansion was going, so I went that way...and found out that the entire area was fenced off. I had to turn around (which I did expect), aimed back for Bells Corners, and trekked east again until I hit Moodie Drive. I then spun a 180 and went back through Kanata and towards Stittsville. I checked the time when I hit Terry Fox Road and realized that it was time to start heading back (I didn't want to go less than 2hr15 or longer than 2hr30). The entire time I experimented with gel and drink intake, and managing form and HR through the different terrain.

The last bit of the run suddenly became extremely difficult. I was wobbly side-to-side when I stopped, my head was surprisingly fuzzy, and my hip muscles felt like they weren't firing at all anymore. I knew I wasn't in any danger or risk, but I was surprised at just how I felt.

But it did make me question my current ability. With the National Capital Marathon just a few weeks away, I'm wondering if I've had sufficient volume and run training that I'd complete the marathon. My wife asked the same, as she appeared more concerned than usual at my state last night (I think the 2" blister freaked her a bit). I've gotta tell ya, I'm seriously considering not doing this event. My hybrid marathon/tri training plan certainly hasn't helped as much as I had hoped - the run volume is lower than it should be for 42k training. Yesterday I was seriously wondering if I could physically complete an additional 18k to hit that marathon milestone. I've got some thinking to do.

Today, I'm feeling better than I expected. My body temp is a bit higher, and I'm stiffening up a bit here in the office, but overall it's not that bad. Maybe I'm not so far off, and maybe my fitness level is still improving, but I need to make sure that I'm not going to jeopardize the rest of the season with an ill-prepared marathon run.

But for now, I'll focus on getting un-stiff and ready for tonight's anticipated swim.

1 comment:

Setanta said...

Hiya fella,
With the Marathon on the 23rd of May I would have to say that if you are having problems with a paced 24km run then you are undertrained for the distance, I would be doing you a disservice to say otherwise (or not comment).

Give yourself another go at a 25km+ run as you could have had an off day, but if that dosent feel much easier then I would temper your expectations for the marathon by setting a very (very) easy pace for the first half with a target to finish in good shape or the other strategy is to plan in a certain amount of walking in the second half of the race. A good friend of mine uses this approach to train and race with her man (my best mate) who is kind of mega fit.

As you say you could blow your season and motivation with a poorly prepped race.

Drop me a mail to setanta at dspsrv dot com to discuss further if you want.