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.
70.3 Liuzhou Race Story
2 weeks ago