Thursday, September 6, 2012
I shook out the cobwebs Saturday at the Kentland's 5k.
The "G" word was shouted through a microphone and I did my best to hold back as a horde of high school runners, and others thinking the race was only a quarter mile long, surged like a fast-moving tide towards the first turn. I felt awkward in the mix, but wanted to refrain from going out too hard. I saw teammate Dave Wertz ahead of the fray, so I surged to catch him about a 1/3rd of a mile into the race then we started to settle into pace. I hit my first mile in what I think was 5:01 - precisely what I had in mind. Now in 4th place (Wertz was 5th) I threw in a surge and started after the lanky Ethiopian ahead of me. Surprisingly I caught him before mile 2 (10:06 or so) then set my sites on evil Benedict Sloane and his Ethiopian boxing partner about 15-20 seconds ahead. Knowing that catching them was fool's gold, one always needs something to chase. The constant turns and hills always make Kentland's a challenging course. I grew tired, a result of my lack of fitness, but tried to press the effort as best I could. I ended up getting 3rd and running 15:48.
To be honest, I thought I'd run faster, but I didn't put a lot of effort into thinking about the race beforehand - I just wanted to go out and see where I was at. It's the slowest time I've ever run here. Sure, the day was humid and my spring season ended in mid-June instead of the usual early May, but it's always disheartening to run slower. I think this underscores where I am at in my running career right now. Simply put, it's getting harder and harder for me to run fast these days. While it was never easy, per se, I definitely notice how my legs (and body) react getting to a place where I am ready to role. Five years ago, I could drop a 53-second 400m any day of the week, whether i was running 0 miles per week or 70. If I tried to hammer an all-out lap today, I'd be lucky to break 60...and luckier if I were able to run the next day. These days, running 70-second quarters even hurts. Maybe it will get easier the more I work at it, maybe it won't. Regardless, this seems like a new reality.
My hamstrings were smoked after the race, so I nixed the idea of a long run on Sunday and instead ran an easy 9 on the towpath (7:00 pace). I hit about 75 miles for the week.
Feeling better on Monday, I ran semi-long (12) from the Line with the team.
Tuesday was a very easy (7:20 pace) 10+ with Luff, Koonce and Snyder on the towpath. We saw a number of critters and even witnessed a giant tree crashing through the woods.
After running 4 in the morning, I met the team on the track Wednesday night for 2 x mile before taking to the CCT with Outlaw. I hit 4:54 then 4:49. We then ran 3 min on, 1 off, 1 on, 2 off x 3 sets. The "3"s were suppose to be run at 5:00 pace while the "1"s were run at something closer to 400m pace. I barely hung on after the first rep. I watched Outlaw vanish in the dusk as a I rolled around like Zatopek (only slower) somewhere in his wake.
I'm running the Park's Half Marathon on Sunday as a workout. Hereinafter known as "Operation Cage", I'll attempt to place an invisible box (or cage) around me while running in an effort to maintain 6:00 pace for 10 miles. Ideally, I will creep into pace then settle into what I'd like to call a comfortable marathon pace. Then, I'll (hopefully) pick up the pace.
PHOTO - 2006 Park's Half Marathon