Monday, February 7, 2011

I've Got Some Work To Do

The last three weeks, I've had some good runs including two 14+ milers where I held 7-minute pace or faster. Naturally, I had high hopes for my upcoming race, the SF Half Marathon. But come race week, I felt flat on every run, barely able to hold 7:45 pace. I carried on with my training for the week including a 63 mile ride with about 5000 feet of climbing the day before the half-mary. The plan was to train through the half-marathon and race on tired legs, but still go for a fast time; basically what I want to do in a half or full ironman.

Race morning, I didn't feel good nor did I feel bad, just a bit of heavy legs. As I waited at the start, this thought came into my head, "shoot for the stars." It set me right and I smiled to myself, hoping race day magic would come through. The plan, like all of my run races, is to start conservative and let the speed come naturally. When I ran my 2:39 marathon, my first mile was a 7:30 and I just kept building until I was running 5:50's, and then I just held on for dear life the last 4 miles. I really like this type of race strategy. I hit the first mile in 6:30, and I waited for the natural speed to come. The natural speed never came and I held 6:30's all the way to mile 8. I was content with 6:30's and I decided to focus on my nutrition and set myself up for the last five miles. The last time I did this race, I fell apart at mile 8, suffering from both calf and quad cramps and hobbled my way to the finish. I was determined not to make the same mistake. I really thought I had both my pacing and nutrition dialed in so when I made my move and picked up the pace at mile 8, I was shocked to feel a calf twitch half a mile into the pick-up. By mile 9, both calves seized up. In a nutshell, the finish was identical to my race in 2006, hobbling the last 4 miles to the finish (except in 2006, I hobbled to a 1:23.xx time and this year, 1:26.xx, an all-time worst half-marathon time). But there was a silver-lining.

At about mile 3, a runner comes up on me and tells me that he reads my blog, too funny. Good on ya Frank and thanks for the mid-race laugh. The other silver lining? I am highly motivated by disappointment, and I was disappointed in my time (but not my effort). Disappointment drives me to work harder. I've got some work to do.

6 comments:

Jill Costantino said...

Kiet - I think what you accomplished this weekend is AMAZING! Look at everything you are able to take away from this race! Keep on keeing on and don't be disappointed it's a learning experience! That is amazing 2:39 marathon holy smokers!

Beth said...

And the other silver lining is, you have plenty of time to do that work as it's only early Feb!! :) I say way to get through it and get the job done, no matter the time. Happy recovery! :)

Teresa said...

Kiet, you ARE doing the work....just need a little more rest. What you are learning now is KEY for later. Awe...the silver lining!!
Keep it up friend!

tn

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Cramps. Ouch. And yet you persevered. That's the true test. Glad you found some silver linings to focus on. And love the smile!

Charisa said...

There are such things as off days as well. Keep at it!

Libby said...

man. bummer. you know you are doing all the right work though and the goal is CDA and canada, not a half mary. we (including you)all know that you are a very fast runner. this was just training day. on to wildflower! how is you calf this week? something still up there? you think it was nutrition? or fatigue? make sure you recover right before you channel that energy into training.
ironically I think I may be about to do the same thing. 13.1 on sunday, my longest run since world's? 8 miles. should be interesting lol... but its for breast cancer and its so moving. I can't say no to this race. it gives me the chills and makes me cry every year....