Monday, February 22, 2010

A Chink in the armour?

I Saturday I woke up and volunteered at a new 5k race. This race was a brand new race in the community and I really like to support people taking the initiative. I would have like to have run the race and I think I could have PR’d but I thought better of it. I needed to get a last good tempo run in this weekend and I did not want to compromise my recovery. So instead I just showed up to see if I could help out. There were a lot of pacers at the event and it turned out to be a huge success!

After the race I was going to get a nice bike ride in – there were 2 scheduled. One was at 11AM and the next at 1PM. In my foolish mind I actually thought about doing both of them. I showed up at 11AM and although there were a lot of cars at Jackson Station there were no cyclist. Not to be discouraged I set out on my own. I made this a good tempo ride and pushed a little harder than I would have on a normal solo ride. My bike fitness has really suffered. On the way back I ran into Raland and Lance. They were getting a few extra miles prior to the 1PM group ride. I turned around and added 10 extra miles to my 20. I enjoyed catching up with the guys. At this point I knew better than to jump on the 1PM ride.

I went to a wine tasting on Saturday night and had a good time. I did not go overboard but it was definitely not in the race plan.

On Sunday I was going to run a comfortable 10 mile tempo run at marathon race pace. This would be at a 7:06-ish minutes per mile. I was not looking forward to the run. I dragged my feet for about an hour waiting to see if the rains were going to come. It was in the low 40’s and I did not want to be caught in the cold rain. The skies did open up and it poured for about an hour. I was glad I waited.

My enthusiasm did not increase but after the rains stopped I did venture forth. I was tired from the night before and overdressed for the run. The rains had brought much warmer temperatures and coupled with the humidity – I was burning up. That is a fear that I have been having – training in the cold and then the heat gets turned up. Fifty degrees and 100 percent humidity takes precious seconds away from my pace.

I started the GPS watch and lined up with my ‘virtual nemeses’. I have been running a lot faster than 7:0X and this show have been confidence boosting. The run was hard from the first mile. Not cardiovascular wise but muscle fatigue. I was getting worried. I completed the run the appropriate time span but all I could think about was 16 more miles… 16 more miles… I took some post run nutrition and relaxed. I did not want to take any chances and grabbed an afternoon power nap. I was tired and enjoyed the rest.

Five weeks ago I did a very similar run. 10 miles at 7:0X pace. It was a hard effort. It was challenging. It gave me so much confidence to be able to run a hard effort in training. This was the same run but this time it was demoralizing. Looking back at the data I actually ran this 10 mile tempo at an average heart rate that was 6 BPM lower (Jan 14 – 171 BPM / Feb 21 – 165 BPM). That is encouraging.

I don’t like to make excuses, however, I do like to analyze the data and make corrections. I believe that the harder than normal cycling played a large role in my legs feeling fatigued. I also think the night out and the alcohol played a factor. And last I believe the weather played a role. The good news is that I can completely control 2 of the 3 prior to race day.