Monday, January 23, 2012

Running is Perplexing ...

Last Sunday I ran the Houston Marathon (will get a RR up one of these days) with my wife, Annie. My job was to be the pacer and push her to a PR so in order to not be tempted to run harder the timing chip was removed from my bib. Mission accomplished as Annie crossed the finish line in 4:07, which was a 7+ minute PR. Since the pace was around 9:20 for the 26.2mi my legs felt fine. I did not taper at all for the marathon and just treated it as my weekly long run.  I ended up running 63.22mi last week and was ready to take on the next week.

Monday (day after marathon) is my normal rest/recovery day so I took it as an off day. On Tuesday the schedule called for 9mi with 5x600s @ 5k pace. I crushed it - the pace for the 600s was 5:38 and I ended up logging a total of 9.6mi. Wednesday was an easy 5mi recovery run and Thursday was 14mi at a general aerobic pace (8:45/mi). Friday was supposed to be 10mi but we had our Tri Club Year End Banquet so due to time constraints was only able to log 6mi. The legs were feeling great going into the scheduled 13mi run for Saturday morning. It was a hot (75*) and humid morning (96%) but the 13mi clipped by quickly. All was good, until Sunday ...

This was a big day. The training plan had me doing 18mi with 12mi @ marathon pace. I needed to nail this run as it is the last marathon paced run at this distance. I picked out a fast and safe area to do the run and was set to go. You'd think on January 22nd that the temperature would not be 72* at 8am with 97% but this was the weather so I just brought some extra EFS Drink. I was prepared to hurt but had no idea it would be this bad.

Long story short: I did it - 7:02/mi pace for the 12 miles. 

It sucked, bad. I wanted to slow down and quit pretty much the entire run but kept pushing. I needed this run and when I finished, felt awful.

The car was parked next to a Starbucks. My bottles were empty so I went inside and got a big bottle of water and a coffee. I sat down at a table and could not move. It took me a few minutes to get the plastic cap off of the water bottle. It was ugly. 

Not sure how long I was sitting there? It could have been 5 minutes or 30 minutes, sort of a blur. Finally got some water in me and chased it with coffee and managed to waddle out to the car and head home. 

Walked in the door and told Annie that I had finally broke myself. I had hit my goal pace but the run had physically defeated me.

I spent the rest of Sunday laying around watching Football and feeling like absolute ass. I've had some difficult days training and racing but this was one of the worst. With some travel for work scheduled this coming week the training plan changed to have a 10mi recovery run today (Monday). By Sunday night I had decided that based on how I was feeling my body needed and extra day or maybe even two days.

Until I got home from work this afternoon and decided to go to Run Club and just do an easy 5mi. I figured that these 5 miles were going to be awful but something happened this evening ... best run in weeks?

I ended up doing 10mi and felt absolutely wonderful the entire time. Strong, powerful, fast. A mere 12-hours earlier I was thinking of never running again and my body and mind were fractured. 

Isn't it amazing how something as simple as running can crush your soul one day and put you on top of the world the next? Perplexing and Exhilarating, all at the same time.

Thanks for Reading,

Jeff

31 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this. I have been having some serious ups and downs in my training and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. One horrible run will almost have me in tears because I doubt I'll hit my half marathon goal in March, but then I'll have a great run and all those thoughts will vanish... Running is a crazy thing.

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  2. Here's my scientific take on what went down with you - shit happens.

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  3. You are an absolute running beast. Even though you think the run broke you, you will go out and do it again... right?

    Congrats to Annie!

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  4. I have learned that some days you have it and some days you dont, in the long run, it all works out

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  5. I think you have reached some new level of runner status?! This sounds like something an accomplished runner would experience:)
    Nice job Annie on the 4:07 - well done!

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  6. First, congrats to Annie on her PR!!

    Second, 7:02 for 12 miles is INCREDIBLE!!!

    So now its hold that for another 14 miles? Urf.....You can do it Jeff!!

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  7. If every day was an up day, we wouldn't appreciate them. Nice job pacing and also on recovering.

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  8. There is something about reading one of these reports that is relatable even if I can't wrap my brain around ever running that fast. Congrats to your wife on the PR and to you on helping her get there. Way to go on both the brutal and awesome runs.

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  9. Jeff, have you always been that fast? Your times are amazing! Great job for not giving up. My run was exactly like that x10 on Sat. Still haven't recovered. I hope I bounce back soon! Till then, I'll keep swimming and biking. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. when I was young I was fast. But then I got fat and slow. Four years ago I could not break 30mins in a 5K.

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  10. You are morphing...
    Morphing into the world of gazelles...
    It is a natural thing grasshopper...

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  11. I think that is one of the reasons that we keep running. You never know what the days run will hold and it always exciting to find out.

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  12. Awesome job. That is a great pace for the 12 miles.

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  13. SOLID F'IN RUN!!!!

    Dude, you are probably pretty damn close to peaking, hence the defeated physical exhaustion.

    Keep pushing through, you are pushing your body's limits and it will reward you in the end. Just get through this last hump man, this is the last wall you have to climb to guarantee race day success.

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  14. This happens to me all the time. Way to keep at it!

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  15. DANG SON!!!!!! holy 12 mile pace!!!!!!!!!!

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  16. 7:02? @ 75F effin a bro...

    nice work.

    and really at Marathon pace temerature makes a bit of difference IMHO

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  17. I always remember a quote from somewhere (who knows where)...you have to appreciate the bad runs and be thankful for them-- without bad runs, there wouldn't be good ones. :)

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  18. 26 mile training run .... way out of my league regardless of pace. I've found anything over 20 miles owns me. Glad the last one went so well. I think sometimes our bodies conspire with our brains to humble us a bit.

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  19. WOW!! You'll remember that run for a long time! Congrats on an impressive pace, but more importantly, incredible toughness and focus fighting to keep it up for so many miles.

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  20. Well said my friend. Perplexing for sure.

    SOOOOOOOOOOO happy for Annie.
    and
    Nice job on your "training run" ;)
    Love it.

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  21. Swimming is perplexing. Yesterday I was on such a high and today was a wet noodle day.

    Great job on the 7:02 splits and getting back on the 'horse' and running again the next day.

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  22. Great job on the breakthrough, amigo!

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  23. Hey Jeff!! What an awesome run!! The ones taht hurt tend to be the ones that help us the most I think.

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  24. It's fun to see your progress. Hitting those 12 miles was a huge milestone, especially after pacing a marathon (woo hoo to Annie) and then running the additional 10 less than a day later. You are doing it right man!

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  25. Blogger must be broken again... I just had 3 of your old posts show up in my Google Reader that I had never seen before.

    Trust in The Plan. Pfitz knows his shit and knows that he isn't going to truly break you; just take you down to the point where you muscles can recover and rebuild themselves even stronger than before.

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  26. I think it is because you are just the best!

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  27. Wow! Great run...the fact you pushed so hard is impressive. Makes me think of what Runner's World just posted a few days ago on FB "They said I couldn't do it. They said the road was too long, the journey to arduous. They were wr -- Hold on, Dry heaves."

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    1. Look, I'm sneaking in through the back door by using the reply tab! Awww to what Annie says above--you are a lucky man!

      Way to crush it, even if it hurt like hell. Just remember that on race day, you will be tapered and feeling fresh, so that pace will work just fine. And it's great that you then had a good one soon after. To borrow a phrase from a certain blogger--you've freakin got this!

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  28. This was an awesome post! I am inspired by your perseverance and determination! I am not a good runner at all, but I run anyway because I love to do triathlons. You put it perfectly, running can be "perplexing and exhilarating at the same time." Great writing! It's nice to know that even someone who runs as fast as you do has an off day every now and then. And way to go to your wife on her PR!

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