Half Marathon Results and Report

Time: 1:33:35 (first place was 1:15:22)

Place Overall: 20/329

Male Overall: 18/179

30-39 Category Place: 6/49

So on paper that’s a pretty good race. My best HM yet. Yet I’m not thrilled with it.

There were no highs or lows like this race last year but I felt like I was pulling my body along for the first 10k and the last 5.

There’s a misalignment in my running now, I don’t know where but last year I was just giving a solid effort at all times and digging deeper and deeper and always finding the reserves I was looking for.

Now part of me is always saying would you go! to another part which replies I am going! and the first says no, faster! and the second part replies I am going faster!

But the story of the race is really simple. Having learned my lesson I stayed behind the 90 minute pacer thinking I’d overtake her around the half-way mark and that did not happen. Her lead kept increasing and I was just not in my zone for the first quarter of the race, as usual.

I ended up trading back and forth with a black guy who had great form for just before the half to just before the finish. He slowed down up and down hills and at aid station so I’d get ahead and he’d overtake me on the straights. We hugged like super old friends at the finish line. This is a runner thing but I think concert-goers get it too, a pure unspoken camaraderie with a total stranger.

There was no dark tunnel this time. It’s cool running the exact same course as last year because I remember how I felt at K17 running over the exact same steps. It’s when I coined the term dark tunnel for myself and started believing that K17 is where the worst devils live.

Not so this year. I knew I was finishing strong…ish. I tried to dig deeper but my body was like no, we’re on budget and we’re not spending one cent over or under.

It’s a product of racing so much which was my stated goal from last year, to race more and take the bad edges off. I remember saying I need to race more so the pressure doesn’t shake me, the unexpected becomes expected… and that’s what’s happening.

Now I need to work on not being too professional, too organized. Get back to giving it all and digging deeper to break through and get into the white tunnel.

This race last year I came out the brutal despair when I saw the clock and still had time and I started pushing and things started going white but the line was right there and the clock was inching up to my PR and I could still make it… I crossed the line panting and babbling and high-fiving. It was amazing. I went from thinking I’d race once a year and this is awful to thinking I need to race again as soon as possible and as much as possible.

This year was like, k solid time, improvements marked, nutrition taken care of. And we were home 3 hours after we left and it’s like it wasn’t even a break from normal life.

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Race Report: The 10k

20190615_091736Totally pumped all morning, moving weight, warming up, doing sprints at the start line, feeling like a psycho.

Then countdown, run, and I was like am I having a panic attack? Just instantly jelly legged and gasping hard.

All that psychoness evidently didn’t translate to confidence.

I settled into an uncomfortable but strong pace and soldiered on. I was like, this is almost over, it’s only ten k, I can see downtown from here no problem.

So I just rolled along thinking I might get 45 minutes and that’s okay.

Finally with 3k left I went thru an aid station, tried to drink some Gatorade and splashed it in my eye, but they were playing Tom Petty and it really perked me up, which was dope. I fell into the a good zone, started to push the pace and pick people off… making fun of one guy in particular thinking you probably listen to tiesto.

I was so in the zone and happy about that when I came around the corner and saw the clock at 41:something and I was like oh shit, the race!

I started the final big kick, just ripped across the line like a destroyer, I decelerated quickly to not wail into the people milling around but inside I thought that would be fantastic – just body check someone 80ft across Olympic Plaza and put all that force I just generated into something.

Official time 41:47. Better than my best in training which was 42:48. So even when I felt like I was struggling I was on pace and everything was objectively going great. Lesson learned: it takes 7k and a Gatorade to the face to get warmed up and in the zone.

Official place in the Sporting Life 10k June 15th 2019: 50th of 577.

I Finally See The Benefit Of Fallowing Someone Else’s Plan

And it’s how to take it easy.

I have a go hard or go home mentality and I fell into the trap of thinking a workout that doesn’t make you sweat, doesn’t make you hurt, doesn’t take a significant amount of time, can’t be really good for anything.

I struggled through the taper before the marathon trying to keep my fitness up but not push myself and add any fatigue, in fact to be as rested up as possible, and I don’t think I did a great job. Furthermore, anytime I’ve had to recover or take a deload week I’ve struggled and I ended up doing what seemed like too little, resulting in difficulty coming back.

So after the marathon, the recovery week that I’m actively in, I knew some workouts would be good and some bad and blah blah blah and rather than program for myself (or especially wing it day by day) I looked at Krissy Moehls recovery week plan since I’m reading her book Running Your First Ultra.

And the glory of it is it’s simple. It’s lighter workouts than I would ever normally do but I’m not nervous that I’m doing too little because I’m listening to someone much more experienced than myself. That’s the benefit of someone else’s plan, being okay going not-hard, and knowing how not-hard to go.

Anyone can go hard, really. Some people are way too easy on themselves but mostly in our community the problem is everyone wants to go level 10 most of the time. Get to that feeling where you must have done something.

So it’s nice to run 3 easy miles and say okay, I took my prescription and I can stop.

Today’s a rest day again then tomorrow is 5 steady miles or an hour of cardio, in my case the elliptical, then Saturday is listed as 5-8 miles and I’m back to normal.

Now of course there’s a danger in following a program too and it’s worth saying because we have a fresh example in Jon. Let me quote him as loosely and sarcastically as I can.

Jon: Hmm, my knee hurts but the plan says 16k so 16k it is. Oh, now my knee really hurts and it’s doctor time and I’m not running the race and in fact not running again for a year, wish I’d stopped during the 16k.

But again I benefited from having a plan after the race because I had a lot of aches and pains that I feared could be injuries and wouldn’t have ran but Krissy wrote that the easy miles were mostly a test to see what’s up and that really helped. During the easy run I mentally kept an eye on all the hot spots and felt them clear up or flame up and I know better now what to stretch out and watch for.

So it’s not a matter of listen-to-the-plan or listen-to-the-body, it’s a matter of planning to listen to your body.

Videos I Liked This Week

Starting with a sad one. I’ve watched Buff Dudes for a while and I saw the surgery and the recovery and now he’s all clear to start working out again. But it’s so clear he’s emotionally struggling, he mentions depression several times and the pep talk he’s giving the audience is really him talking to himself. It can be so much easier to be positive when giving advice to someone else than when we’re alone in our heads.

 

Tom Delauer of course, he does 3 or 4 videos a week I’m bound to like one. And this one it’s just ’cause he acknowledges that keto is trendy and talks about where to go from here. That’s practical non-optimism right there. Keto isn’t going to take over the world but it’s popularity will have done some good.

 

 

This chap I just found likeable. He’s clearly already very athletic if his first training run is 8 miles and he’s skiing all the time so his first marathon time is a good 3:30. There’s a recklessness that I like in the way he signs up and trains that takes the looming fear out of the marathon.

 

and of course of course What I Learned, the best videos on the Tube. Watch anything of his I swear.

Put Your Pre-Race Jitters Into Your Mobility Work

It’s taper time and for a lot of people it’s the most emotionally wrought part of the training cycle.

What if we didn’t do enough, we ask ourselves, maybe we should put in one last hard effort?

One this can set you up for injury but more likely you’re just nurturing fatigue to make sure you have it on race day.

I read a thing last night that said you lose about 10% of your fitness during the taper and yes that’s unnerving, but you gain 20% in performance by not being fatigued.

You want to have a great race and up until now more training was the answer. At 6 weeks out you can go nuts with hard training, fasted work outs, multiple sessions a day, and you feel like you’re putting huge deposits in the fitness bank and it feels great, you feel in control.

Now that it’s time to back off, two weeks from the race, it feels like giving up control. Because it is, because you have to. You can’t control the race and you know it. You tell yourself you can when it’s a far away abstract but up close and personal you know the truth. You are a very small and race day is very big.

Naturally to try and get back to that feeling of control you want to go back to the behaviour that induced it – in this case hard training.

But don’t give in to that urge.

Instead refocus it on mobility work. Take all the free time you have now that you’re not hard-training and finally get in all the foam rolling and yoga and shit you never get around to.

Exercise like a grandma, weird looking corrective exercises with tiny weights and lots of movement with toe taps. Hit the elliptical.

Use that meditation app, go get a massage, do a sauna. Do all the self-care stuff that’s great for running and fills up time so you’re not just sitting there fearful.

If you have running buddies then joke about how nervous you are. If you have a blog then write a post detailing all the things you could do to take your mind off feeling unprepared and frame it as advice for others.

And sometimes – sometimes – give in to the urge to blow off steam with pizza and beer. Don’t try to stay so sane you go crazy.

The Importance Of Running Like A Complete Pussy

I am finally unlocking the Easy Run. The Ultimate Challenge of so many runners.

Ben Parkes was talking about it recently on his youtube that learning to actually do easy running and recovery running was the final step that unlocked getting to sub 3 hour marathons.

For me it’s about Connective Tissue. I read recently that connective tissue, meaning joints, tendons, cartilage, and whatnot, is the last thing to adapt. First is neuro-muscular (i.e, the mind-muscle connection), then the muscles themselves, then finally after 4 months your bones catch up after drilling tiny holes in themselves.

The body is weird.

This is why people end up injured. Their muscles have adapted so they’re stronger and faster so they go for bigger loads and stress out the still adapting connective tissue.

This is where getting a lot of light miles on your legs comes in. If you ran hard intervals or long runs in your comfortable-hard-fun-running-push-yourself-pace like I do you’d never get enough miles to adapt your legs fully.

Sure, we’re in the adaption zone for our muscles and our cardiovascular system but we’re leaving a precious third thing behind in our connective tissue.

So I’m successfully running at 10kph or below for some time everyday. And yes, I have to positive self-talk that no one thinks I’m a pussy. The struggle is running and NOT feeling like you’re getting any benefit, just leisurely moving.

It feels so good to lean into it and get that sprinter posture like you’re a fucking machine and just go. Yesterday I did 5k at 15kph. And even when it felt bad it felt good. I never believed I was going to make it without slowing done. It was a dog fight. I was dripping sweat and in my usual state of being so flushed in the face it unnerves people. I felt elevated the whole rest of the day.

Now two days of tapping along like a noob, being sure I could speak a whole sentence and/or take ten nasal breaths. Trusting that the work is getting done.

Running Update: The Trials Of Running 18kph

I did it for one minute.

I set the treadmill to 18kph thinking let’s see if I can get to three minutes and instantly was like let’s just hope for one.

It was an ambitious test, I’m doing my intervals at 16.5kph and it’s the right amount of strenuous. I’ll do six intervals of four minutes on four minutes off at that pace and call it a work out.

At the even faster pace I might do an intervals like 30 seconds on 2 minutes off. The belt on a treadmill takes 20 seconds to get up to speed so I’d have to get it going, stand on the sides, hop on, watch 30 seconds, hop off, slow it down. A tedious process and why I’ve avoided doing really short intervals thus far.

It makes me think that when the weather is runnable again I should do some acceleration work, just practice going from still to race pace at my own tempo rather than the glacial pace of the mill.

In marathon news: it’s 3 weeks away and this weekend will be my last long long run, then the taper begins. I’ll reduce the number of intervals I do and other than that I don’t know what else to do to taper. I’d like to get in a few more saunas and even a massage before the race I know that. And before every previous race I’ve cut caffeine for the week leading up so that it’s nice and effective on race day.

What I’ve read lately is that you want to be doing race-level efforts every three days in the taper. So maybe 10k at 14kph on Wednesdays and weekends is what I’ll do. But I’m just gonna play it by ear, keep doing tabatas on the air bike and use that to check if I’m recovered or not.

Okay, 23 days remaining…