After my long post on Sunday where I chronicled what I thought caused my cross country meltdown and what I was going to change to get back on track, I realized I left out a big piece of the puzzle. I listed the workouts I had done for the 7 days leading up to the race, but neglected to look at what I had done for the other 22 hours in the day for those 7 days.
Sometimes, I forget that a schedule that looks good on paper may not work out in real life. This was certainly my thought going into last week. I thought it was serendipitous that a work commitment coincided with this race and that I would just be able to hop from my big meeting in Seattle to Spokane and run my little race. As an example of how ridiculous this plan was, I give you my schedule for the 48 hours leading up to the race (the rest of the week was similarly packed):
0445 - wake up
0515 - meet girlies and run 10 miles (w/cutdowns)
0700 - walk dogs
0800 - check e-mail/work
1000 - conference call
1100 - work
1400 - conference call
1600 - pack
1700 - drive to airport/eat dinner incl. 2 glasses of wine to take the edge off my nervous-flyer nerves
1900 - flt. to Seattle (+1 glass of wine to cope with this "flight attendants please take your seats" flight)
2100 - arrive in Seattle
2145 - catch train to downtown Seattle
2300 - check in at hotel
0000 - sleep (off and on because the d-bags in the room next door were getting their party on)
0500 - Wake up
0530 - Run 6 miles on treadmill
0700 - breakfast and coffee
0800 - all day, very interactive meeting begins--work through lunch
1630 - walk to train station
1700 - catch train to airport/dinner
1830 - flight to Spokane (yet another white-knuckler)
2030 - Arrive at hotel, chat with runners, unpack
0000 - finally get to sleep
My point here is that just looking at my running schedule for the week was a small part of the picture of how stressed my body was. I simply was trying to pack too much stuff in and pushed my body to the limit. I actually think I might have had a chance at a good race, even without a taper, had I experienced relative rest for at least the two days leading up to the race.
I am actually glad I had the bad race when I did, because it is clear that I needed to make some adjustments. Without hitting a low like that, I might not have taken the time to reflect on the simple things I could adjust to improve my performance and recovery (more sleep, recovery fueling, alcohol consumption).
As I mentioned in my post-race post, I plan to continue my training as scheduled. I ran 8.5 slow miles on Sunday and 10 easy miles on Monday with hill drills. Yesterday was my first real test: 21 miles total, split into 5 miles (incl. 3 x 150m cutdowns) + 16 miles (incl. 1 mile at goal marathon pace and 12 x 3 min. hill repeats @ 10k effort w/3 min. jog rests finishing w/10 strides).
I really didn't know how I would feel running the 16 miles in the afternoon. I started outside and quickly launched into the GMP mile wanting to get it over with. I guess I anticipated I would crash and burn, but I felt great at a 6:08 pace for that mile. I jogged back to the gym and hopped on a treadmill to knock out the repeats. Of course, my treadmill boyfriend, Tready, was occupied by a man walking 25-minute per mile pace, so I started out on one of the inferior machines.
I had decided ahead of time to start at the speed and incline combination that I ended my last tempo effort hill workout on and ramp up from there to keep it interesting. So, I started my first repeat at 4.5% incline and 8.5 mph. After the first two repeats, I cranked it up to 8.7 mph. During the 3rd repeat, I glanced back and saw that the old guy was about to dismount Tready. I quickly hit the big red button on my machine, grabbed all of my stuff and sprinted over to my love. I have to give a shout out to Mark (that's right isn't it?) who not only knew my name and said, "hi" to me as I sprinted by, but understood why I was preoccupied with getting that treadmill. He knew that his name was Tready (well, he thought it was Teddy, but close enough). That made me feel a little silly, but also made me smile.
So, I continued the workout and felt awesome as I cranked up the incline and speed incrementally, ending on 5% grade at 8.9 mph for repeats 11 and 12. This is supposedly the equivalent of ~5:30-5:40 pace on flat ground (if you believe Daniels' charts). Then, I went back outside and cranked on some strides feeling super strong at sub-5:00 pace for the last few.
That was probably the strongest workout I've done this training cycle, and I think I needed it to get my head back in the game. One other change I'm making that may be of interest is to run my easy runs a lot easier, like 8:30 pace versus 7:30-7:45. Aside from saving a few minutes of time, there's no good reason to beat myself up on my easy days particularly with the volume I'll be putting in over the next couple of months.
I have another mammoth hill run this weekend: 23 miles including 8 miles run up a hill @ LT effort. This time, I will get to the gym early enough so I won't have to fight for my dear Tready.