Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Concrete: My Frienemy
At the last possible moment, Emily called and said her bike shoes were in the trunk of her car, which I was driving. It was 6:59am and I had to meet the LASP at 7:00am. I jumped out, told the crew I'd be late, then bombed up San Vicente Ave towards Soul Cycle. I returned to the parking lot, a tick before 7:20, and proceeded to seek out the crew, which should soon come into view running my direction along the Santa Monica bike path. I joined them 2 miles into my run and the pace was already fast - 5:30. I hung on near the back and attempted to warm up. Eventually the pace slowed down (they were running an "off" for 5 miles), but even then the pace still was not slow - 6:15s. Making the commute towards Venice Beach even harder was the fact I was running on concrete. We ran out to the end of the Venice Beach pier, then turned back north. They started their second 2 mile "on" and I tried like heck to hold on by running 5:15 pace. By the time I hit 10 miles, in 60:30, my legs were cooked. By the time I hit mile 12, which was it for me, my legs downright hurt. The pain was very similar to the type I experienced in Phoenix...and then, it dawned on me...
Had I run enough hard tempos/long runs on asphalt? Most of my controlled tempos were on the dirt roads up in Poolesville and although they were not soft, especially in December, they certainly aren't as hard as asphalt roads. Was not running enough on hard surfaces my problem? Could the problem be this simple?
I relayed my fact-finding to Coach Jerry who, in turn, replied: "it bears repeating that the number one goal is to avoid injury, and while the trail running might not have been the absolutely ideal prep for phoenix, at least you got to the starting line. hard tempos on a concrete path would likely have yielded a different, less happy result."
He, of course, had a point, but it pains me to think that the "Failure in Phoenix" could have been avoided simply by running more - a little more - on hard surfaces.