It’s been two weeks since my last entry. That’s longer than normal for me. One would think with the lockdown since mid-March, I’d have more time to be writing. Although, if I’m not doing anything, there’s not much to write about. I’m not a deep thinker.
But I did run a 10K yesterday, as part of the Loop’s Covid-19 series of virtual races, so I should put that down.
Last month I ran a half marathon, since I was about half way through my training for what was going to be the Sugarloaf Marathon in May. Lost my mojo for marathon training after that, so I haven’t been putting in the mileage for more than a half, but I’ve kept up speed work for the most part and I wanted to do something a little more exciting for April, so I proposed Dave’s Double Dog Dare Distance Covid-19.3 Challenge, with a 10K and a half marathon on back to back days (the “.3” was added by my friend, Bangle – get it?). Haven’t doubled up on races since college, so this was new.
Did something else I haven’t done in I don’t know how long, and that’s taper for a race that wasn’t a marathon. I ran 6 miles on Monday, with 4 tempo (7:30-7:54 – not super happy with the slower last mile). Tuesday was an easy 6, running past a local middle school. The parking lot was packed! No idea where all those cars came from or what so many people were doing at the same place. Had to have been 50+ cars. Wednesday was my first farlek in I don’t know how long, either. A real fartlek. No plan, no specific distances or times; just running fast or slow for however long I felt like for 5 miles. Then I rested on Thursday.
So, the 10K.
Wasn’t particularly interested in getting any hills or not. Just stayed in my traditional directional rotation and headed up to the north and west for 3.1, then back. There’s no loop that would give me 6.2 miles in this direction. There was 126 feet of elevation on the way out, all slow and steady, which I got back on the way home.
Jogged out a half mile to the park entrance and started from there.
The first mile felt a little ragged, and it took my a little to get the pace where I wanted (just under 8:00). My plan was to stay there for the out and see if the gradual descent on the way back would give me some juice to finish strong. It was a nicer day than most of this week has been. Temps in the mid-50s but finally a day with not much wind. It’s been 15-25 mph the last couple of weeks.
Just past mile 1 (looking back at the Garmin data), I felt Sammy the Hammy making a little tug. Are you kidding me? I hitched for a few strides, then jogged for about a 10th of a mile, deciding whether I was going to even be able to do the full 6.2, albeit at a decidedly slower pace, or if Sammy was going to shut up and let me race. I slowly built back up to 8:00 pace for about a quarter before dropping off again. There were two young women on the other side of the street who had started a run from the rec center when I made my first turn onto Eight Mile; of course I wanted to look impressive on my side, but Sammy wasn’t having much of that. I did manage to regain my 8:00-ish pace over the next half mile. Maybe. Mile 2 was 8:23 (paces ranged from 8:00 to 9:15).
Maybe not. Sammy and I made another half mile before he gave me more trouble. Slowed from 8:00 to almost 10:00, and it wasn’t getting any better. So I stopped for a minute, and gave him a long, slow stretch. Technically illegal to pause the Garmin, but, as the RD, I gave myself a pass (feel free to give yourself one if you need it). After that he seemed to settle down enough for me to finish getting to the turnaround, which was also the top of the climb, where I hoped gravity would help me out at least a little. Mile 3 – 9:03.
126 feet over 3 miles isn’t very steep, but it was just what Sammy needed apparently. He didn’t shut up completely, but he also didn’t scream all the way home. Once I got back into a rhythm, I was able to get back to and under 8:00, then hold it. Mile 4-6 – 7:57, 7:44, 7:47.
And the final push (although it wasn’t much of a push, really) at 7:25, for a final time of 50:26.
That’s an average of 8:07. Not quite what I was going for, but decent. Assuming I’d have been able to run the whole way without the hamstring issue, I estimate I could have finished sub-49:00. Perhaps another day, when I don’t run with a whiney hamstring. Also, there’s a new blister on my toe, which I haven’t had issues with the Hokas before. That’s annoying.
Anyway, some ice for the evening and some heat Saturday morning, hoping to have a go at 13.1 that afternoon.
I felt better on Saturday than I expected. As for Sammy, it was behind the opposite knee that was bothering me. Just another of those old guy aches and pains, I figured. If the hamstring was good, then I figured the rest of me would be.
So, about 2:30 PM I suited up and ran a half marathon.
I was disappointed in the first mile, which was 9:16, but only because I really thought I was moving better than that. Since the goal was 8:30s, I spent the next half mile trying to calculate how much faster than 8:30 I needed to go the rest of the way to get there. 4-5 seconds per mile was what I thought, to make up for the 45 seconds I’d lost. And, since I’d decided to run the Meadowbrook Hobo Camp route, I was going to need to do it on a net uphill in the first 7 miles.
Miles 2 & 3 were both 8:28. Not quite but close enough, given the elevation, getting behind Target and then the hill between Eight and Nine Mile on the bike path. I rarely see anyone on the bike path when I run on it, but today there was about a dozen riders on the nine miles I was there (miles 1-1/2 to 11-1/2). Some were friendly, some not. No other runners, though. The weather was about perfect. 53o and a moderate, cool wind from the NE.
Mile 4 had a steepest, longest hill of the day. 8:41. Like Friday, I wasn’t feeling great, but good enough to at least give it a solid effort. I was still somewhat confident I could go faster on the second half. (Spoiler alert: I couldn’t).
From 5 to the half way point, it was either flat or only slightly uphill, so I kept the pressure on and did OK, running 8:23 and 8:25 before losing some steam right before the turnaround. The few times I come up this way I still expect to see signs of someone camping out beside the trail but it’s pretty abandoned now. Guess the local sheriff keeps a close eye on the area. The old Garmin sight used to let me see my cumulative time anywhere along a run. Sad it doesn’t anymore. I couldn’t tell you where I was exactly when I turned around. I do know it was almost a half mile later when I remembered that I had a Hammer gel in my pocket.
I certainly needed it, because I was starting to flag. Not a good sign for just over half way. But it was going to be mostly downhill, right? Mile 7 was 9:15. More time to make up.
So, I pushed the next mile (8:20), but it was a losing battle. Miles 9 and 10 were 8:30 and 8:31.
And the tank was pretty much empty at that point. Mile 11 was 9:20. It included the last hill – the only significant one of the second half and I was completely toasted. 8:52 and 9:04, with a :51 second finish (8:19 pace).
Kind of disappointed.
But, you’ll notice I didn’t mention anything about Sammy the Hammy or his whiney little brother, Louie. I thought there was going to be a problem at 11, after a quick stop at a traffic light, but I guess I was going slow enough by that point it was not a trigger for either one.
Final time – 1:54:24. 8:44 average pace per mile. Two minutes slower than March’s Covid-19 half, which had just a little less elevation to the Phoenix Lake route. Granted, there wasn’t a hard 10K the day before and Sammy was on vacation in the Bahamas.
Bangle said I could use an age calculator for our head to head match up. Plugging my geezer-age into the boxes gives me a 1:32:44 (RW & USATF), or a 1:31:41 (mastersathletics.net). Either of those sound a lot better.
I’m going to need a day or two or five to recover from this weekend. I seem to recall mentioning that I just haven’t been feeling 100% this spring. Not too much, though, because it only seems logical that the next step for May’s Covid-19 races is to do a triple. 5K-10K-HM over Memorial Day weekend.