It is the day before the Rock’N Roll marathon (half marathon) and this has definitely been a lack luster season of running. There have been a couple of highs and many more lows. Even back in December I knew that the dream of a sub-3 would be a near insurmountable challenge. My volume was building. I was ‘tricking’ myself into transforming my easy run pace of 8 minute miles to 7:30 minute miles.
In the beginning of my running season I had a good performance in an afternoon very warm 5k. There was zero prep and I signed up at the last minute (I had to take the clock to the race). I end up within 10 seconds of my 5k PR (which was set in 2009 – the last time I raced a 5k – 19:09 PR). That was a good showing to kick off the season. Next I ran the Hobble then Gobble 5 mile and also had a good showing. The weather was cooler and I won my age group finishing 4th overall. Oh yeah, I also had a stellar run in the Mighty Magnolia Triathlon back in October – I believe I had the 4th fastest run overall and placed in my age group – my run split was 19:01 for 3 miles – Not back for me, especially after a challenging bike).
I dropped all of the bike training to concentrate on the marathon. I took the scheduled recovery days. I raced the Ole Man River Half in early December and once again I got a PR (I think 1:27:20ish – I have PR’d this race the past 4 years. But this time it was only by 7 seconds. A PR but not the big gains that needed to achieve my sub-3.
Next I raced the Oh What A beautiful Day 5 Miler. The weather was much warmer than the Hobble then Gobble. I performed well and finished 2nd overall. It was a tough race – I had gone out too fast for the conditions and was starting to fade at the end.
And that is where the big mistake was made. The weekend before the 5 mile race I had run 20 miles at an average of 7:2X with the last couple of miles at a sub 7 minute pace (I’m thinking back – the last several miles were in the low 6:40 range). This had been the second 20 mile run in my build and I was feeling the power.
The day after the 5 mile race called for a 22 mile run. I have to run these out and back so that I do not have the opportunity to cut them short. My left knee (ITB) started to hurt at around mile 10. I pushed it to Sumrall and turned for home. I had 12 miles to go with increasing pain. With about 6 miles to go the run became a shuffle and then a run / walk shuffle and then a walk / shuffle.
I was done at that point. I took a couple of days off and hit the trace again. I was running easy with some friends and the pain came on quick and hard. I had to walk back to the gym.
From that point on the volume stopped. My long run was 4 miles for about a week. I gradually got it back to 10ish but the hopes of the sub-3 marathon were dashed.
However, this forced taper brought the speed. I was running short 6 milers at a 6:40 pace often. I also put together a reverse ladder of 10 miles starting just above 7 minute pace and finishing with a pair of 6:15 miles. This is not my speed. I was flying – average pace for those 10 miles was 6:33.
The next weekend I wanted to run a steady state 10 mile run at a 6:30 pace. The weather had turned much warmer and more humid. I was not successful. While I was able to hold 6:30 for many miles the upper middle miles fell apart. I finished the run 2 minutes off pace with an average of 6:40.
With the forced reduction of volume, due to injury, I executed a near perfect taper. But, it was a couple of weeks too soon. Today, just before race day, I feel lethargic. I have packed on about 6 pounds from my leanest two weeks ago. The weather has turned warm and rainy.
These are not the conditions for a sub-3 marathon and not even for a half marathon PR.
I will still have a lot of fun with friends at the race but there have not been very many results to show for the hard work. I am okay with that. I had big dreams this year.
I am ready to push through this race and start building again.