Monday, May 5, 2014

Spring Season Ends...with a whimper

The last two weeks have been a roller coaster. The Tuesday before Pikes Peek, I found out my grandmother - my last grandparent - passed away. My other grandmother passed away in October. Things are changing; with their combined passing, it seems as if it is an end of an era. I lost 4 days of training that week, two of which was self inflicted and two were the result of intense travel/family stuff. I contemplated racing a fast 10k in Massachusetts in lieu of PP10k, but logistics prevented that from happening. I returned to Maryland last Monday, after spending a day working in NYC on Monday, then set about righting my training before racing the Broad Street Run on Sunday. Frustratingly, my hamstring was super tight as a result of lugging around some film gear, so I had to take another day off and nixed plans for a workout. By the end of the work week, I was running without pain and was heading to Philly with a huge taper..maybe too huge, since I didn't have that many miles under my belt this season. That said, I was very confident, excited to put it all on the line and run my last race of the season.

My plan was to run 5:10s and hit 51:40 for the ten-mile race. GRC's Evan Jurkovich, who is training for Grandma's, was racing and we talked beforehand about this plan. We started out conservative and, over the first 3 miles, slowly passed the lead women as well as about 20-25 other guys who went out to fast. We ate up at least 2 packs in the process. Evan and I hit 4 miles in 20:40, but then he immediately took off. I didn't go with him, per se, but I broke ahead of the pack I was leading in an effort to continue to my pre-goal pace of 5:10/mile. I hit mile 5 in 25:50 - right on schedule - but shortly thereafter I started to get into trouble. The pack that I was leading swallowed me up around 5.5 and I clung to their coattails as we rounded City Hall. A quick glance at my GPS indicated we were slowing down (5:23 pace) so I rallied and slowly crept back to 5:10s and pulled away from the pack. The pack caught me again so I tucked in behind -- again. But, again, the pace slowed down. I still felt confident I could continue 5:10s, but I also knew I wasn't going to get there by yo-yo-ing back and forth with the pack. At about that same time, the headwind, which was omnipresent throughout the first 5 miles of the race, seemed to pick up and it battered runners in no-man's-land and anyone who decided to lead. I tucked in behind the pack, which slowed to 5:20s, only this time I wasn't feeling good enough to run any faster. The pack splintered and for the last 3 miles I struggled severely, my pace dipping into the 5:40s at times. Yikes. My left heel was chaffing due to a misplaced sock and I found myself apathetic knowing that my pre-race goal-pace was out the window. The wind was intense, but I found it somewhat pleasant since the sun had come out from behind the clouds. A quick glance at one of the mile markers suggested it would be difficult for me to break 53:00. For the last 3 miles the race became a "where's the next mile marker"-type of race; I just wanted to get through it. I rallied, or at least i thought I did, in the last mile, but couldn't slip under 53:00. I finished in 53:04 well off my goal time and the slowest ten mile I've run since 2007. No one else, it seems, hit their goal times either -- it was just one of those days. My last 5 were covered in an abysmal 27:15 or so. It was ugly for sure, still I'm glad I at least tried to run my goal race early on, but there is no excuse for falling apart the way I fell apart those last 4 miles. Ugly racing.

I am done racing, I think, this spring, but feel as if I will keep the training going since my season wasn't too intense and I'm not beat up - physically or mentally - from racing.

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