Seebo's Run

A running commentary on my training and whatever else emerges from that.

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, April 07, 2008

One Two Punch

Or how not to taper.

Went to a track meet on Saturday. Mostly for the fun of it. Friends would be running and there would be alot of opportunity to hang out before running 5000 meters. I don't have to worry about wrapping mileage around that as, hey, I'm in a taper. Don't have to worry about the time I run the 5000 in because, hey, I'm keying on a marathon. Just for the fun of it.

And it was fun. But its such a different culture than road racing. Kevin and I got there for the start at 10 but it wasn't until about 1:30 that the 5000 meter race started. I hadn't planned on it taking that long. The race went fine, but I realized that running 5000 on a track is much different than running 5k on the road. Its just going round and round. No hills or anything, I figured I'd go faster. Instead I ran a 16:59 (5:19; 5:29; 5:31) for fifth place which felt more like a time trial than a race. This surprised but did not dismay.

I then got roped into running part of the 4x400 relay with a team that needed a fourth. This was amusing to Kevin and Chuck and some others who kindly took the time to explain how to hand off the baton. They were even more amused when our team, referred to as the Misfits, got placed in the second heat opposite the only women's team running, from Goldey Beacom College.

I figured how hard can running once around the track be. And it wasn't. I just ran as fast as I could and it was quickly done. Split was somewhere between 68 and 70 (yes, we beat the other team). What I didn't figure on was how hard that was on the legs. I first noticed it while driving, with soreness in my legs making itself known every time I'd shift (manual transmission). Then just had more achiness than usual walking around.

I nonetheless stuck with my Sunday plan to run up to the Drives, do 8 miles at marathon pace, and cool down for a total of about 14. First 4 went in 24:26, right on pace, and second four went in 24:37, still pretty close to pace but surprising in how I started losing it in miles 7 & 8. It felt like I was holding pace for mile 7 when I lost about 8 seconds, and I felt like I was going sub 6 pace when I got a 6:10 for the final mile. After finishing these miles and slowing down, I realized how done my legs were. The only reason I ran the 3 cooldown miles home was so I'd get there faster. My legs really hurt. I was totally unaware of this while running the marathon pace miles, but realized afterwards that the wheels were starting to come off.

Which I realize is good marathon prep. I think most vividly of Grandma's marathon in 2004, when the harder I tried to keep pace the slower I'd get - a helpless feeling of matter over mind. That was what I had yesterday. I should not have had any problems physically doing this workout, but Saturday's running took alot more out of me than I thought it would. Running the final miles home I visualized running the last 10k in a marathon. If I'm feeling like this then, then its too late. Heroics isn't what its about at that point, the key lies in not overextending in the first place. It gave me a new resolve to start conservative in Boston. I have not ever heard people complain that they started a marathon too slow. We've all heard plenty of folks describe how they started a marathon too fast.

But then I also wish I had a dollar for everyone about to run Boston who harped on how they knew they need to go out slow, and then went out too fast anyway. I hope I don't become another one of them.

And my legs still feel really beat up today. Good thing I'm taking the day off.

6.5 miles on Saturday with warm-up and cooldown, 14 miles on Sunday in 1:44.


Blogger Reba said...

It's good to take a day off - especially when it's your birthday! Happy Birthday Seebo!

11:17 AM  
Blogger John W said...

Happy Birthday

12:33 PM  

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