"Breathe, breathe in the air"
Over the last week I've been frustrated with my running. Pre-marathon I was pretty happy with where I was pace-wise while managing to keep my HR under 137 bpm. However, since I started up again after a 2 week recovery period, I am nowhere near where I was and it's quite aggravating. Additionally, my PF flared up quite a bit after yesterday's run which is another reason for my grumpiness.
Just like every other run this week I made sure to get a good warm-up in and strarted off on the slow side to prevent any HR spike at the get go. Since I wanted to watch the LA Marathon before I hit the road I got a late start and the temps were in the mid-70s when I finally got out and I knew this could cause some overheating if I wasn't careful.
The first mile, like all others, went pretty well at 10:15 as my HR came up gradually but quickly. Pre-26.2, if I had warmed up properly and started off easy it took over a mile for me to get my HR up and even then, I would be able to coast along in the mid-9s at 133-136 bpm without any issues. Now, I'm hitting the 137 mark within the first .75 miles and have to back off even further.
As the next few miles went by I was resigned to the fact that it was going to be another slow slog especially with a fairly stiff breeze coming out of the southwest which would slow me down even more.
Suddenly, as I was working past the 5 mile mark it hit me; I wasn't breathing! Ok, I wasn't holding my breath or anything like that, it was just that my breathing was shallow. I'm not sure what caused this eureka moment, it was possibly a deep inhale that dropped my HR suddenly, but there it was; just breathe.
Early on as I began with the Maffetone Method, I made the observation that I could somewhat regulate my HR with breathing deeply but somewhere along the line I forgot all about this; aerobic training equals maximizing oxygen consumption. Duh! How could I have forgotten something so simple.
So I began taking big deep breaths as well as exhaling with force to clear the CO2 from my system and my HR immediately dropped as my pace quickened. Things even got better as I made the final turn toward home onto a slight decline and with the wind at my back. Could I really be pulling mid-9s? Indeed I was and as I crossed passed 6 miles I gave a little extra kick for the last .1 just to remind my legs what it is like to go fast.
There you have it, another 6.1 miles on the road to BQ.
In other related news, I have officially made the leap and have signed up for Last Chance BQ.2 - Chicagoland in September. It's time to put my money where my mouth is and make the commitment. After weighing all the factors, cost played a big role but wasn't the deciding factor. Ventura could have been done for less but Chicagoland will be much cooler and is set up for a better chance at a BQ. This gives me less than 6 months to get my act together. While the real meat of training will be in the extreme desert heat during the summer months, this will be a major benefit in the cooler climate of Illinois come September.
Now I just need to get over this damn PF.