Most of the time I think this goal of achieving a BQ in September isn't very realistic. After all, I've only gone 26.2 once where I crashed and burned at mile 20 finishing in 4:22. But then there are the runs like today's 22 miler where my confidence is is buoyed by the fact I ran the same course that I did just a month ago but was 50 minutes faster. Granted today's weather was more conducive to a speedy effort and I wasn't pushing the pace then but still; 50 freaking minutes!
As expected it was a cool, overcast morning in what has been a cooler than normal May but there were going to be no complaints here; it will be hotter than hell here soon enough.
After an easy warmup mile it was time to get up to speed. The plan was to take advantage of the conditions and build on last Saturday's LR by keeping my pace in the 9:30s for as long as I could. Really it was going to be up to my legs to dictate how fast the run was going to be and the first 5 miles I was right where I wanted to be.
The run was progressing nicely and with no sun and no wind I was fully in a groove. My legs also wanted to go faster so I let them. This had the potential to turn out badly but you don't know what you are capable of until you push the envelope. With that said, I ripped off miles 6-10 in the 9-teens and was feeling really good.
Had to make a a quick pit stop just after the 10 mile mark but still I was cruising right along. Then, just before I came to the mile 11 split, it happened.
Training is the time to make mistakes and try new things so today I gave the lace lock technique a whirl on my Tempos. Maybe I went too tight but nothing seemed out of place except for some added pressure on the tendons at the base of shins but suddenly my right leg was collapsing beneath me. There was no pain or anything, the leg just couldn't take any weight.
I though for sure this was going to doom what was shaping up to be a great run as I hobbled onto the shoulder of the road. Shit! Since this had come out of nowhere and the weakness was in the lower leg I though that with the only change I had made was the lacing, I untied my shoes, removed the locks and re-tied it in the normal manner. You can imagine the relief when I took that first step and all was well. Crisis averted and I was back on my way.
Now I'm not sure if it was the short breaks, the extra sleep or the small bit of carbs I had last night and pre-run but I was feeling some of the spring coming back into my step. Whereas last Saturday I started to slow by mile 9 and was over a 10 minute pace by mile 13, this week's mile 13 was my fastest at 8:55 with mile 14 not far behind at 9:03. Granted the conditions were far more favorable but still; I was doing something right.
I backed down a bit but was able to maintain what felt to be a relatively easy pace in the 9-teens from miles 15-19 even though my legs were starting to feel somewhat heavy. With 2 fast miles left I gave it a little extra effort to finish up strong and clocked miles 20 and 21 at 9:09 and 9:07 respectively before I slowed it down for a final cool down mile.
The only thing left to do was to shower, have some bacon and egg that Christine was preparing after her 5 mile walk/run and take a short nap. Need to recover with 11 miles on the schedule tomorrow.
Moral of the story, dream big or not at all.
Week ending May 16th - 49.3 miles