Sunday, February 6, 2011

A 15-mile recovery

My original training plan didn't feature a 5K race yesterday; I was supposed to do an easy 5-mile recovery run. So I knew the 15-mile run I had planned for today wouldn't be easy.

But when I arrived at the CVS to meet my fellow DARTers, there was a big group, and everyone there was faster than me, and planning a shorter run that I was. I should probably have realized this right away and taken off slowly, but instead I got caught up in the moment and dashed off at an 8-minute pace. Under the best conditions, I can probably sustain that pace for 15 miles, but today wasn't the best conditions. In addition to having done a hard run the day before, I had forgotten my GU Chomps at home, so I had no food for the workout. After about 3 miles, Chad and I decided to slow down a bit and the other runners took off ahead of us. But we were still knocking off 8:10-8:20 miles.

After 8 miles, we returned to the CVS, Chad was done for the day, and the other group members weren't anywhere in sight -- as it turned out, they had taken a slightly different, longer route and weren't back yet. I decided to drive home to eat some Chomps, get my iPod, and run the last 7 on my own. Normally I would eat 4 Chomps — about 90 calories — every 4 miles. Today, I was only getting half of that. After running on my own for just a mile or two, I began to realize that the last half of the workout was going to be a lot harder than the first half. My hips were sore, probably from yesterday's hard run, and as I ran farther, both legs began to feel it as well. I tried to maintain the pace I'd been running earlier, but my legs just wouldn't cooperate. This graph of my pace probably tells the story of the workout better than words can:

By the end of the run, which I cut mercifully short at 14.47 miles, I was struggling forward at just an 11:00 pace. I finished, but it wasn't pretty.

Here's a summary of the week's progress:

6 runs
50.42 miles
2752 feet elevation gain
390 feet average elevation gain

As planned, this was a short-mileage week. Somehow I thought I was planning just 45 miles, but clearly I simply added wrong when I was planning the week— I executed all my runs, basically as planned. My knee is feeling much better. I also got a PR in the 5K distance, and although the long run wasn't great, I got it done. Next week, I've got some serious mileage planned—about 69 miles, including a 14-miler on Wednesday and a 21-miler on Sunday, my longest run yet.

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