Saturday, April 2, 2011

Great Bay Half Marathon - Pre-race

Tomorrow James is running his first half marathon - the Great Bay Half in Newmarket, New Hampshire. I am running as well. I wasn't sure if I'd be ready for the distance, but I am. I'm not sure whether to race or just to do it as a steady training run effort. My priority is this modified big day on April 16 (40min swim, 3hr ride, 1hr30min run) and don't want to set myself back on that front. I have had difficult recoveries (what is my frame of reference really?) after my races in the past. My posterior tibialis often acts up when I go hard/fast and long and takes weeks to get back to normal. There is a part of me that feels that given the volume I have trained this past month and my solid long runs that no workout shorter than 2 hours should be that hard, yet I know what my body has had to say about that in the past. I don't know what to do. So I don't have a race plan yet. What do you  think? Go hard? Hold back?

My PR is a 1:52 (first and only open HM). I ran 1:52 two weeks ago for the first 13.1 miles of a 13.5mi long run. McMillan says I could run 1:47 based on recent 5k and 10k training runs. I strongly believe this is overly generous though b/c both of those efforts were on the flat (along the Charles River for the 5k and at the track for the 10k) and I tend to fall apart with any hills thrown in. When I think about racing even at the pace I ran 2 weeks ago (8:30-8:35) I start having doubts. I don't know why.

I have been making silly excel tables with paces and HM times (with a range for a total distance of 13.1 to 13.25, depending on how I run the tangents and how bad the congestion is with the first 2.5miles of the course being with 1000 5k runners). I didn't admit it to myself until just as I have been writing this but there is a little part of me that secretly (or not so secretly now) would be really stoked and proud to break 1:50. That's an 8:20. I don't feel that I am there yet. And yet, I had an 8 mile run at 7:58/mi the same week I ran the 13.1 at 8:33/mi. I had hard rides 5 days that week, no taper. I have been feeling confident on my runs. I have been a good cheerleader to myself. I have been improving. I'd like to psych myself up for going after a goal.

I hear a lot of people talking about needing to learn or already knowing how to suffer. Perhaps I shouldn't admit this but, I'm not sure that I want to suffer. I suffer enough. I'm doing this to suffer less, to enjoy myself more. It makes it hard to wrap my mind around this aspect of racing -- suffering. I wonder if there is some other way of thinking about hard efforts.


1 comment:

  1. I used to be a believer in suffering. Now I will say that I suffer some in training (but not much really, maybe 10% of my training). In my best running races - and I have a few really good races this year - my runs felt easier even though the pace was something I did not dream of. My point is, I think we often put limits on ourselves (our brains do that, as means of keeping us safe, though they tend to overreact). With an 8 miler @ 7:58, you could run a 1:44 even with the hills (just go on your small gear and keep cadence up on the hills, and then big chain ring on the downhills). I say go for it, race it. You will recover! Warm up slowly (9:45 or slower) for a mile before, though, and then let your body settle into a pace that is not super fast, but that you think you can maintain, and give your all after the half way mark. You've got the endurance from all the biking you've been doing, and you've got strong legs for the hills. You may be surprised at what you can do if you let yourself do it! Good luck! I've done that race in the past, it is very nice!