Thursday, July 31, 2008

NYC Nike Half-Mary

My last post was a six-word prediction to follow up on Flying Pigtails
request. Being that I tend to follow trends (as I have seen these kind of 'requests' posted several times) I continue the trend with my race report in a 'concise' six-word sentence: It is definitely not the shoes!

Last year, Haile ran the course record wearing the same shoes I wore this past Sunday. He ran a sub-one-hour time. Because I had the same pair of shoes, I figure at the very least I could run my current fitness. Having ran a four-mile tempo run in just under 28 minutes the Wednesday prior suggested I could run "a" half in 7:11 pace. Alas, I knew the weather was going to be less than ideal so I adjusted it to 1:35 total time; I was confident, I thought it was doable.

Four weeks before the race had me running a mere 4.5 miles. The following week I ran a whooping 3.5 miles (sarcasm intended). Then I suddenly ramped up the mileage and ran 54 miles. And 54 miles the week before the half-mary. Two weeks of 54-miles back-toback. In fact, I was to run 5 recovery miles on Saturday, but I decided to not run them at all as I had only slept one hour on the red-eye on my way to the big apple on Friday night.

On Saturday night I slept a not-too-shabby 6.5 hours, as I woke up at 5:30 AM local time (2:30 to my circadian rhythm). I showered, had a banana to prevent cramps and was on my way to Central Park. I made it there with just 20 minutes to spare. On my way to my corral I spotted Uptown Girl who was chatting away with a couple of her teammates. I stood there for a few seconds not knowing whether to say hello or just let her be. I decided to call out her name and introduced myself. I felt so foolish afterward for not introducing myself by my Christian name, but such is life. I also felt awkward since she was obviously enjoying the conversation with her teammates, so I made it rather short.

I moved right along and placed my self in the 1000s corral. I look to my left and who do I see? The speedster Chelle, who was talking to a friend. I though of walking over to introduce myself but stayed put; after all she seemed to be enjoying her conversation. It is worth mentioning that she is a sub-1:25 half-marathoner and I call myself a sub-1:30 halfer. Originally, my goal was to finish NOT more than five minutes behind Chelle. We happened to be lined-up between the 1:30 and the 1:37 pacers.

The race starts and less than half-a-mile later the 1:37s pass me with so much ease it was ridiculous. At this point I knew it was not going to be a good race. I tried to push the pace but my legs were just not cooperating. My breathing was fine; in fact it felt too easy; it would only get labored at the hills, particularly the Harlem hills. At the one-mile marker I lost sight of Chelle and her friend. I plod on feeling sorry for myself as I just could not pick up the pace. I kept telling myself that it was just too crowded; but that was just silly, I did not have any legs.

I actually felt I gave the race a good effort and tried several times to lengthen my stride to no avail. At four miles I sighted Chelle and her friend once again and gave chase only to lose them once more half a mile before we exited Central Park. I had been averaging just under 7:30s for the Central Park miles and was hoping to drop them to 7:10s once we got into the flatlands. I did get a minor boost when we went onto 7th Avenue but it was short-lived as I felt 'lost' once we passed times square. At ten miles I was still in sub-7:30 pace, but soon thereafter I felt so tired, my legs felt made of lead and wished I could keep a sub-eight minute pace for the rest of the 'race.'

As it turns out I only lost 30 seconds in the next 5-k as I concentrated on my breathing and my shuffling gait. Right around the 11-mile mark, I spotted Chelle and her friend once again and tried to catch up to them, but my legs where not there. I guess I left them in La-La Land. I crossed the finish line in 1:38:32, 7:31 pace, feeling so tired I skipped the five miler cool-down I had planned as I was supposed to run 18 for that day.

As I was 'recovering,' I see Chelle jogging and called out her name. We chatted for a few minutes and I headed to the subway station nearest me. I was in my hotel by 9:30.

While in New York, I ran four days: 13.1 on Sunday (7:31 pace), 6+ on Monday (9+ pace), 10 on Tuesday (7:43 pace- all in Central park, with five sub 7:25), and 7.5 on Wednesday (~8:10s). All I can hope is that come November 2, I can run close to the pace I ran this past Sunday as that is the one monkey I still have on my back: five NYCMs and NOT one under 3:40.

Have a great day you all.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chihuahua Bites the Soap

It was three weeks ago on a Thursday night (June 26). I was to take the red eye to Mexico City. The prospects for running in Mexico were not good and thus my desire to get in one more run before my departure.

Not even half a mile into the run and these two midget dogs (Chihuahuas) start chasing me and barking at will. Normally I would not give my back to a single dog, but these were Chihuahuas for crying aloud. One of them manages to get really close to me, but I think nothing of it; they will just get tired and leave me to my running. Boy was I wrong. He sinks his incisors into my left calf and pain shoots thought my nervous system immediately. I turn around and start chasing them while they keep barking at me. They don't come back and I continue my run. The bite was significant enough that my calf bled and pain accompanied me for at least a quarter of a mile before the endorphins took over.

I ended up running eight miles without any more incidents. The following 14 days would have me pound the pavement only once for 4.5 miles. The question was not whether I lost fitness with such low volume, but how much.

Last week, on Monday to be precise, I came down with food poisoning (FP). It was probably the worst FP I have ever got. I was bedridden for a whole day. On Tuesday I felt fine with the exception of feeling hung-over (without the benefit of having been drunk). Wednesday came and foolishly I had a rather big meal that had me losing fluids a couple of hours later. You see, I was ignorant to the fact that one is supposed to eat light after getting FP. After taking yet another imodium, I felt fine on Thursday. Alas, I had another large meal on Friday, and again back to losing fluids.

I wake up soon after 5AM on Saturday as my left calf was turning into a bar of soap; man was that painful... and I consider myself to have a high tolerance for pain. I massage it and walk around for a bit. I head back to bed. A few minutes later it is my RIGHT calf that decides to turn itself into another bar of soap ARGH! One is bad enough...

Obviously, a week of losing fluids and electrolytes left me in bad shape.

This Sunday the Pitz-Douglas (how come when referring to this program Douglas is never mentioned?) called for 15 miles... and that was my intention. But as soon as I hit three miles I knew it was not to be, so I decided to cut it to 12 and run three more at night. It was wise. I even had to take a shade brake as I was really close to heat exhaustion just after 10; I almost walked the remaining 1.75 or so miles.

Where am I right now, as far as running fitness? I feel I am about 7:40 MP, which would forecast a 1:35 half on the 26th. And that my friends is my goal, give or take a couple of minutes (more likely give as it's supposed to be in the low 70s). I am also counting on dropping 15 seconds from my current MP at the end of this cycle. That is all... for now. :-)

Carry on,