Cruising into the taper

Nov 12th, 2010
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Filed under Running, Speed work, Theory

Wednesday’s run played out the way many of my “I really don’t want to go out and do this” evening runs play out. As I sit at the foot of the stairs on the bottom floor (that’s right baby, Daddy Fat Sax has 3 floors here!!) and fumble with my beanie, gloves, ipod, shoes, etc, I find ways to procrastinate the opening of the door and the exposing of myself to the cold and the dark. I “accidentally” drop my gloves repeatedly…or put them on inside out. “Whoops!” I think to myself, methodically removing them and fixing them with you might call a negative amount of hurry. “Hmm, my right shoe feels a little tight…better re-tie it,” I’ll think, only to untie and re-tie it to the exact same tightness as before.

Eight minutes later I’m finally opening the door, grudgingly breaking into a jog towards something. In the case of Wednesday night, the track that sits about 1/4 mile from my house. I’m most impatient in these early minutes when I’m still not used to the cold and I still feel like crud (an early-part-of-the-run tradition for me). If the ol’ ipod though can find the right song early enough, I can be more quickly inspired.

And as I’ve written before, it’s typically these runs where I end up feeling the best. The ones I have to push myself to even begin. The ones that seem the polar opposite of what I would rather be doing…laying under a blanket on the couch with the gf, standing directly under the hot water in the shower, sparring with the cat while wearing 5 layers of soft fabric (we tend to keep our house a few degrees warmer than a meat locker). Sure enough, after about 10 minutes of deliberate jogging, my heart rate rising and my core temperature acclimated, I was actually by god looking forward to the track workout.

Dist.  Laps  Time   5kPace
800m     2   2:45    17:11
1200m    3   4:17    17:50
1600m    4   5:42    17:49 
2000m    5   7:12    18:00
1600m    4   5:38    17:36
1200m    3   4:10    17:22
800m     2   2:36    16:15
9200m   23  32:20    17:34

The excitement lasted maybe a lap or two of my ladder workout (800m-1200m-1600m-2000m-1600m-1200m-800m). The goal was to do something fast, but nothing crazy, in order to save the withered-feeling feet, shins, calves, knees, hips, and groin (at least my quads are feeling…average). The opening 800m went a few seconds faster than planned, and each repetition thereafter followed suit. I kept the effort fast but relatively comfortable, the closest I got to 100% effort was on the final 200m. I then came home and checked a site to see what a low-mid 2:50ish marathoner should be hitting those splits in and saw I was pretty much right in the ballpark. Funny how these times scale down so perfectly sometimes.

That all said, I’m ready to be done with the 2010 “season.” I intend to take December completely off…only running at all if Claire wants to do some easy miles, or a burly guy threatens me. Waking up these past few weeks has been a chore. I take the stairs down one step at a time in the morning, a combination of the previous night’s run and the fact that it’s about 21° in the house at 7am. I’m already convinced this was a very successful season for me, and I feel confident I’ll toe the line at Seattle in at least comparable shape to my Portland experience in 2008, which by itself is miles ahead of last year’s White River-induced hibernation. Whether I’m able to *finish* comparably to Portland ’08 is another matter, but as I’ve learned, distance running is often not just the race itself but is instead the time spent preparing for the race. While that may sound like the mantra of someone who usually fails at races, I can’t help but partially agree. I know I’m in comparable shape thanks to nearly a whole year of work, whatever happens for 3 hours one Sunday will happen. With just a couple weeks of tapering ahead of me, I feel safe saying I’ll be healthy when the gun goes off. At least as healthy as someone training for a marathon can wish to be.

Winter training is for the birds though (how I trained for Boston in ’07 I don’t recall)…so I’ll hammer 26.2 more miles and then start inhaling the nachos. That is after all why I run. For the nachos.

Filed under Running, Speed work, Theory

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