Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Man Without a Plan

By 10:00 a.m., "Kansas" was an inferno. As I strided down River Road for the second time in as many hours, my mind began to wander. "What the (blank) am I doing?" I enjoy running long, but 20 miles? It seemed like a stretch especially considering the fact I now have zero races on my schedule. How will this fit in? But, I had no one to blame; I was the one who suggested running here this morning… 

I recently was put on hold for a job that would have me heading into the field in October, but when I inquired further I learned that the job actually starts in late September, which in all likelihood throws out any plan of running the Twin Cities Marathon on October 6. That said, despite the fact I seem to be rounding into decent shape these last two weeks, I am far from being comfortable/competent in racing a marathon again. Phoenix still haunts me and I have far too much to do and far little time to get those things done in the time allotted. In addition, I am not even (officially) entered in the damn race yet. Perhaps it's a blessing in disguise. But, if not Twin Cities in early October -- then what? Right now, I am a man without a plan and that’s a scary proposition. It’s one thing to run 50-60 miles a week, which includes the occasional long run, and have fun with it, but running upwards of 80, with workouts and meat-grinding 20 miles, seems downright stupid. I need a damn plan! In the coming days I am going to look long and hard at a calendar and see what race distance I can be ready for come late September – then I shall attack. For the time being. I suppose I’ll just train… 

On Monday, I met Luff, Wiggy, the Outlaw and one of their mutual friends for a run at Old Angler's Inn. Regrettably, Outlaw fell hard 2:00 into the run and tore a ligament (or something like that). He limped back to the car then found his way to the ER. Terrible news, but he'll be back. The rest of our party got in 9. 

On Tuesday morning, I grinded through 11.5 miles - down and around the Walter Reed Annex trails. 

On Wednesday morning, I shuffled an easy 4.5 making sure to never dip the pace below 7:30/mile. I was pretty tired so that was pretty easy. That evening, I met up with the GRC at B-CC for the weekly workout. On paper the workout seemed easy - 5 x mile cut down (2:30 rest) starting at 79s and working down to 75s (by rep # 5). The "A" group, which I'd normally be a part of, was starting out at 76, but I figured that was too quick for me right now. I opted to do something in the middle and ran: 5:14, 5:12, 5:08, 5:05, 4:56. I'm not going to lie - it was a grind. The humidity complicates everything. Saturday's workout still lingered in my legs as well. Still, this is what workouts are for and suffice to say, I got worked out. It was a 15 mile day. 

On Thursday, I ran an easy 8 miles alone. 

On Friday, I ran an easy 8.5 with Luff and Jimmy. 

On Saturday, I drove out to Edward’s Ferry – early – to meet some dudes – Dickson, Texas Paul, Kieran and Evan for 20 miles. Luff would join us for 13 or so. We started out running 7:40s, then quickly worked our way down to 7:00 pace. By mile 5 or 6 we were humming along at 6:30 and by mile 7 we were averaging 6:15-6:20s. We mile 10 in 67:00 and then refueled. It was humid, but not terribly hot, nor sunny. All our shorts were soaked and we contemplated our next respective moves. We wanted to push the pace, but another 10 miles was a long way to go – especially in this humidity. We took off down the towpath once again and tried to stay calm and sober. I sat in the back of the pack and stared at my GPS. Our pace creaked down from 6:15 to 6:05 to 6:00. After one last splash of water at the old pump at mile marker (1)3.8, we resumed our threshold. Tex and Kieran were breaking away. Dix said he didn’t want to push it (I guess 5:55s isn’t pushing it for Dix!) and Evan didn’t know what he wanted to do. I wanted to stay in contact with Tex and Kieran, but I also didn’t want to crumple, fall apart too early and shuffle it in – I really wanted to get in a respectable 20. I didn’t have much time to ponder my options, because before I knew it, the Irish-Texican duo were off down the trail. I split the difference and ran 5:45 pace for the next 3 miles hoping to catch a second wind. By mile 16, Kieran had dropped Tex and was in the process of opening up a ton of real estate. Unless I ran 4:45s, I wasn’t catching the Irishman. I set my sights on Tex and when I got to “Kansas” I doubled my efforts to reel him in before mile 18, but it wasn’t happening. My GPS got to 5:36 pace, but that’s all I could muster…and I couldn’t muster it for very long. I folded like a cheap suit once I hit mile 18. I shut it down, but worked on trying to keep my form composed during the later stage of a long, hard run. My last 2 miles were 6:15 and 6:30, but covered the back 10 miles of my 20 in about 60-minutes. It was a good run for sure. 

On Sunday, I met Jimmy at The Line. I was understandably dragging and got in 9.5 miles. 

80+ for the week.

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