Training, February 27 - March 4 and Albany Marathon Race Report

Monday: 6 PM - 6 miles easy.

Tuesday: 7 AM - 2 mile warmup, 2 miles in 5:27, 5:39 (11:06), 2 mile cooldown (6 miles total).
Plan was 3 miles at MP, my standard marathon-week workout.  It was a bit windy, and I sometimes struggle to run fast in the morning, but still, this was a bit ridiculous.  Running MP effort, or even slightly harder, I was well off of the MP that some of my other workouts seem to indicate.  It happens sometimes.  I've heard anecdotes of sub-2:10 guys who struggle to run even 3 miles at MP during the taper.  Just the nature of things.  You're not always going to feel good.

Wednesday: Off - Felt like I needed it.

Thursday: 3 PM - 5 miles easy with 6x strides.

Friday: 8 AM - 3 miles easy.

Saturday: 7 AM - 1 mile warmup, strides and drills, Albany Marathon - 6th place, 2:38:53

Sunday: Off from running.
10 AM - 6 miles of cycling to help stimulate recovery.

Summary: 47 miles

Obviously a disappointing result in Albany.  I felt decent enough as we started the race, and though it was raining heavily for the first 5 miles or so (and on and off the rest of the race), I didn't feel like that was too significant of a detriment.  A pack of five developed in the early miles, and we were generally running around 5:25 pace.  I unfortunately did a lot of leading in the opening 10 miles, and I fear this may have taken more out of me than I realized.  When I finally dropped back to draft for a bit, the pace lagged significantly, and then when one runner stopped momentarily (going back for water), the other three (I believe) Kenyans dropped it pretty hard.  I covered the move, but things went south fairly quickly after that.  I cramped up a bit, and really started to struggle.  Once it was apparent that my race was over, I backed off a fair bit and essentially jogged it in.  Was really struggling with the cramping for a while too.  

Beyond the above description, I'm not really sure what specifically went wrong.  I knew my training was iffy for a number of reasons (mileage; inability to get in a significant portion of work for a variety of circumstances), but that said, I was/am very fit.  My USA XC result shows as much, as do some very solid workouts—some of the best of my life.  In the end, I'm not trying to make excuses.  I didn't perform to my potential.  It happens, and you move on.  I've never been one to get particularly down about a bad race.  I still have the fitness gains from the last block of training, I just don't have the PR to prove it.

This was the planned end of the phase for me, so I'm taking a break—a couple of real down weeks—which I haven't done adequately in over a year.  (My break after Grandma's Marathon was too short and I started doing workouts again too quickly.)  After that, it's going to be some base type of training for quite a while, really pushing the mileage up, but also doing a lot of ancillary muscular work and general strength work.  I've got the American River 50 Mile coming up rather quickly—less than 5 weeks away. I won't have too much training under me yet, but I'm still looking forward to the challenge of the race and think that I should be able to run pretty well there if I keep it conservative early.  By way of comparison, when I went (sub*) 6 hours at TNF Wisco last year (more elevation change than AR50 and no bike path), the longest run I'd done was 28 miles.

"Whatever I do I want to do to the best of my ability. My personality is such that I can’t just do something a few times a year for fun—I have to achieve a certain level of competence."
     —Marty Liquori