Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hoping, hoping to get better

The Boston Marathon is now less than two weeks away, and things continue to go poorly. I had a good speed workout on Thursday, sticking fairly close to my target 6:30 pace over four, 8-minute intervals. But then on Saturday I was slated to do my last long, hard run -- 17 miles, with about 10 of them at marathon pace.

On Friday I noticed that my flu seemed to be getting a little worse, perhaps because of the hard Thursday workout. I tried to get plenty of rest and fluids that night, then drove to Charlotte where I'd be running with a large group from the Charlotte Running Club, who would be previewing the Racefest half-marathon course.

It was to be my first workout with the "seven-minute milers," the fastest runners in the CRC, who for the most part are really 6-minute milers or better. Their plan was to run the course at a 7:30 pace, which happens to be my marathon pace, so I figured it would be a good time for me to get to know these guys. I arrived early and got three warm-up miles in before meeting with the group. Those miles went fine. When the group showed up -- about 30 runners -- it was clear that the lead pack would be running a bit faster than a 7:30 pace. No problem, I thought, and I slowed to join a group of 5 or so that seemed to be running closer to my pace.

After a couple miles, it became clear to me that this pace was not going to be sustainable. I held on as long as I could, then finally slowed to something closer to 7:50. I was on my own now, and stopped to consult a map on my phone for directions. Another group of runners passed me, and I cursed before I realized I could just follow them. Unfortunately, the moment we came upon an uphill, they dropped me. Fortunately, one of them gave me a paper map, so at least it would be a little easier to figure out which way to go. I took several walk breaks, stopped a couple times to look at a map, then to look at my phone when some of the ink on the map got smudged and I couldn't read the street names.

Finally another group of runners passed me -- I was pretty sure this was the final group. I tried to stay with them, but once again I was dropped as soon as we hit a hill. I had run about 14 miles at this point and was struggling to maintain even a 9-minute pace.

Had I done this long run too close to my speed workout? Or was I simply not over this flu yet? I struggled in to finish, just as the final group was heading home. I changed my shirt and drove home.

In a few hours, I had my answer -- I was indeed not over this flu; it had come back with a vengeance.

I took the next couple days off, then tried for another run this morning (Tuesday). I felt a lot better today--just an easy four-miler--so hopefully things are really starting to improve.

I don't want to completely stop working out, but I don't want to overdo it either, so for the next few days I'll be treading a thin line. Hopefully I will gradually get healthier, and I can run Boston at 100% health, if not 100% fitness. Only time will tell.

Details of Saturday's run are below.

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