I’ve been trying to write a post ALL day. I even got one written and went to save and my internet became disconnected, so forgive me if I seem a bit irritable.
I ran my last Long run before Seaside yesterday. I was supposed to run it today but for a variety of silly reasons, I decided to do it yesterday.
In preparation for Seaside, I decided to do what I usually have done before long races- with varying success…Cut Off the Caffeine.
I’m a total fan of Coffee especially, and rely on it to keep me feeling pleasant at work…In the past I have only managed to do half caff before races without breaking down, but for some reason I did alright. Monday I had a slight headache. I was off work, so I took lots of nice naps, and made eyes if you will at the coffee pot. By tuesday I felt surprisingly fine. I was all set to stay off the caffeine until a few days before the race.
The day before my long run it dawned on me that I was unsure of how that would work, so I decided my last long- a 12 miler- would be done with me trying to duplicate race conditions. So, Friday morning I awoke early and made a pot of Community Coffee with great relish.
So after being off Caffeine for 4 days I seriously had doubts that this would make any difference. But I noted when I was drinking the coffee that I was indeed feeling a very pleasant “lift” from the coffee.
I got all suited up and went out to get this run done. I was feeling chipper with the caffeine on board and ready to get out there. So I started. I was pleased to see my pace for the first 2 miles to be nice and speedy. about 40 seconds faster than it needed to be, but…I tend to go out fast and then settle into a realistic pace with a bit of a cushion if you will.
I took my first gel when I was supposed to, and still felt pretty good. I kept going and after about 2 more miles I started to feel, well, not so great. I still was running alright, my breathing was fine, my pace was perfect, but I felt a bit detached…
Everything seemed fine but I felt a little unaware of what I was doing. The run started to seem rather long, and I was getting irritated, then all of a sudden, I was at the next town, and the run seemed to be less long. I did another gel (these gels have caffeine), at the appropriate time, and kept running. Mile 5 is one of the most difficult miles for me, simply because it is up a long incline (not really a Hill, but a mile of increasing incline) and right through town, so I have to cross a lot of traffic. But I got through it with a time that I was ok with. Mile six was my “new territory” (which is a joke as I have been on so many points of this trail that I can tell you every nook and cranny.) and I was looking forward to it because I got to run over a small wooden bridge. I had kind of forgotten though, mile six is a nice decline…which of course made the turn around point, and mile seven an Incline. I struggled through mile seven. When It was complete I was back on familiar territory. I felt pretty good and confident. at the end of the mile I remembered that I had my ipod in my water belt. I did not like my 7 mile time at ALL, but I figured it was due to the hill and doing some quick calculations in my head I realized that if I just ran a 12MM pace (which is well above what I have been running) for the next 5 miles I had this run within my time goals.
Except that I could not do it. Mile 8 was off that by about 9 seconds. and miles 9 and 10 are on a nice gently decline, so I thought I would speed up….oh no. I started to feel very frustrated. I could not get my legs to cooperate with my body. I was also noting that I was super thirsty. Every time I had water with a gel I wanted to drink the entire bottle. I had to sort of resist that, because I would have gotten a terrible cramp to be sure. As each mile ticked off, I was sure the next one would be better and that I could regroup. And most of my subsequent miles started out for at least the first quarter at about an 11:20 pace, which is what I wanted. I just couldn’t keep them there. I ended up doing more walking than I wanted, but I was just feeling awful. And nothing I did seemed to help. I was having pain in my hips, but really it was not significant and was not at the surgical area.
Well I finished off the run. My total run was 7 minutes off the goal time I set for myself. Not terrible, but very strange. I was miserable for the rest of the day. Went in and worked for 4 hours and then had to endure a training session with my coach.
So THAT was horrific. Just what I wanted going into my Half Marathon!!! There is not time to do another long before the race, so…here’s hoping that next Sunday is not a repeat of this Friday.
Couple of lessons I hope:
* Initially I thought I had gone out too fast. After looking at the splits (agonizing over them really.), I realized that I really did not go out “too fast”. I set a pace and maintained it for 6 miles- which is half of the run. The second half of the run had very erratic splits which were related mostly to hillage. I did not force the pace I was running for the first 6 at all, I just ran it. I did not even have music to pace me…it was just me. SO…on race day I don’t think I will make an intentional effort to run slower. I’ll just try to find that comfortable pace and stick with it.
* Apparently going off Caffeine and then going abruptly back on it while using Caffeinated gels may have been a bit much for my body to handle. Since my other long runs with the caffeine went find, I went right back on it that day. I can’t say I feel any different- better or worse. But I currently feel so beat up by running 12 miles and then doing 45 mins of drills in one day that I am not sure which way is up. During the run I felt a little jittery and sort of over stimulated there at the end. I am glad I had the opportunity to try this out before race day…and VETO that strategy, though in theory, it seemed like a good plan.
* I may have been a bit dehydrated. Either I started the run out low (I had worked a very busy day the day before and drank very little water) or the increased humidity of Friday’s run left me feeling super thirsty during the run. When I ran 11 miles the week before I came back with my bottle still 1/3 of the way full. THis time it was empty. I immediately filled it and drank the whole thing and then more from the fountain….Soooo will be hydrating probably over hydrating the day before the race.
It’s a very unsettling feeling to have such a crappy run right before a race. Very Humbling as well. I had just seen my Physical Therapist and was a little puffed up- telling him I was going to have a 10 minute PR. I did tell him, you know that things could go either way, but I was feeling sooo confident. Now…I have to admit, I am feeling a bit shaky.
I also need to put this into perspective. Just a little while ago, I was doing test jogs on the soccer field with my Physical Therapist knelt down on the field watching for any hip drop, or problems. I could barely run a mile. My hip was weak and my cardio was weaker. I was so worried about the half because I did not think I could finish it. I was sure I did not have enough time to train for it. Now, I am frustrated because I want a 10 minute PR, and I am unsure I can do that!
Anyone have any suggestions at all. Did I really go out too fast? Or should I just ignore it, and have a glorious time at Seaside?