Getting closer to Boston, but more issues to resolve.
Good warmup, good breakfast, all gauges in the green. I'm ready for this sucker.
Last race was Portland and a 3:37; lots of the usual hamstring cramps in the final 8 miles coming off the bridge. This training cycle went better, and I was hopeful that I've figured it out.
Back in February, I suffered a mild calf strain. Seems like my calves are the biggest issue during hard training; definitely my Achilles heel. So to speak....
Because of the calf thing, I backed off on long tempo runs in the last couple of month and was hoping it wouldn't be a problem.
Started the race slow. My standard plan is to let the pace group go for about the first 5 miles, then slowly reel them in. Done.
Approaching 8 miles, I steel myself for the 19th Street Hill. I've taken a beating on this slope before, really going anaerobic way too soon, then suffering the rest of the way.
This time, I rocked it.
I crested the hill with the pace group, then freewheeled on the way down. And smiled.
Near 10 miles, some idiot woman in front of me sees a spectator friend with a camera. The runner slows and poses, right in the middle of the road.
And right in front of me.
I'm locked and loaded, just focused on the task at hand. No bozo is going to distract me. Nor will she slow me down; I put a forearm in between her shoulder blades and keep rolling. She apologizes; I don't acknowledge.
But the running gods took notice.
I realize that I'm working fairly hard to maintain this pace, and I'm not halfway yet. This could be trouble.
13.1 miles in low 1:42. Right where I need to be; the problem is that I don't know how long I can hang on.
Did I mention the hamstring tightness that began at 8 miles?
Couldn't believe it. 8 lousy miles???? That's definitely going to be trouble.
and it was.
At 16 miles, I begin to drop back a bit, trying to baby the leg. Once the legs seize, there's no unlocking them. That's experience talking.
I was carrying a larger than normal load of salt caps, so I start pounding them. And my stomach felt fine, so I jammed all the calories I could down my gullet.
Didn't matter; the legs locked at 21 miles. But at least I wasn't hungry!
The last 10k wasn't horrible like in years past, but it wasn't much fun, either. I couldn't open up my stride for very long, and I was also getting winded. But I still kept hoping my quads would relax, and I kept an eye on the clock.
With 2 miles to go, passing Skinner's Butte, I need to run better than 5:30 miles to the line. Not going to happen.
I run a respectable last mile, and the last 400m was at 7:26 pace. Decent finish, just under 3:32. Will have to re-evaluate my training.
Once I got out of the car after driving 130 miles home, my hammy locked big-time. Had to stand in the garage for 5 minutes immobile before it loosened.
Remind me again why exactly we do this?
With a somewhat disappointing day behind me, I needed some way to regain my self-respect.
Light bulb goes off. I grin.
After 3 glasses of wine and a huge dinner of lasagna, know what I did?
Yup. Ran a mile.
Wow. It really hurt. The first 300 meters, I had a complete loss of motor control. Literally staggering. Once my legs loosened a bit, all that food and wine in my stomach became a larger issue. Ugh.
The good news is that my recovery the next couple of days was much better than ever before. That one lousy mile made a big difference.
But I know what I need to do: spend Tuesday nights with the Footzone running group. It's a series of speed workouts that will really help me develop some more gears.
Gonna get me some new wheels and bust this sucker.