Monday, August 16, 2010

Feeling HOT HOT HOT!

In eight weeks I will be among thousands of runners at the sold out Portland Marathon.  October 10, 2010 or 10/10/10 cried out to me as a day I MUST run a race.  If only the race would start at 10:00 a.m.this year, it would be a PERFECT day. 

Deeming this the perfect day, I have set upon myself a seemingly impossible goal:  3:10.  Yes, it is rather lofty, especially considering my personal record (PR) is 3:17 WAY back when I was in my 30s.  In the last 2 years my marathon times have mostly been in the 3:20s and since I have entered the mysterious age of the 40s, finishing times have slipped into the 3:30 range.  I have many excuses reasons why my times have slowed:
  • I'm old (er)
  • I have no coach
  • I trained for a 50 mile race and my body adjusted quite well to the slower training pace
  • I enjoy dessert a little too often
Despite the news story:  Older Runners Getting Faster

My dog-eared copy of Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger (affectionately known as Pfitz) and Scott Douglas is walking me through a training program to get me race ready.  If I followed the program a little more closely, my race performance would improve dramatically.  For example, yesterday's scheduled run:  20 mile long run. 

According to Pfitz, "Long runs shouldn't be slow jogs during which you just accumulate time on your feet.  The most beneficial intensity range for your long runs is 10 to 20 percent slower than your goal marathon pace."
Okay then...let's say my goal marathon pace is 7:15 (for a 3:10 finish).  It's time for runner's math:
  • 7 x 60 + 15 = 435 seconds
  • 435 x .20 = 87 seconds
  • 435 + 87=522 seconds
  • 522/60= 8.7
  • .7 x 60 = 42
  • Thus, I would need to avg. 8:42 at my slowest during a long run. 
Math class came in handy at last! 

I have *loosely* been following the 70 miles per week 12 week schedule (referring back to the 55 MPW schedule when I'm feeling overwhelmed). The 70 MPW or more 18 week schedule helped me get my 3:17 PR at Boston in 2008. 
*Loosely (taken from Gingerpedia):  referring back to official schedule every other week and realize you did not complete any Lactate Threshhold or speed work but came close to total weekly mileage.

Back to yesterday's 20 miler.  I procratinated starting my run and each passing minute seemed to drive the heat up a degree.  I knew I had to do this alone and the more I thought about it, the bigger the task seemed.  I filled my camel pack with my iTouch, cell phone, Clif Shots, Ibuprofin, $20 (in case I needed a taxi), and Aquafor.  After dropping my daughter at a friend's house, I finally exited my driveway at 11:15 am.  A heat wave tried to dissuade me from leaving but I pushed through it.  I decided to wear a tank top and shorts and risk a heat rash.

King 5 News Reported: "
Temperatures on Sunday reached record breaking highs. SeaTac set a new record of 96 degrees, breaking the old record of 92 set in 1967. And Olympia hit a new record high of 97 and Bellingham with a high of 90s"

The camel pack sat on my back without mercy.  I trudged through the first few miles, running along a rural road, heat waves lapped at my feet.  Mile four, and sweet relief!  Sprinklers are on at a little league field.  I take a detour, stand in the cool water and stuff my tank top into my camel pack.  Modesty is out the window today. 

I make it to the waterfront at about mile 7 and stop to use the restroom and top off my water.  Bonus: I could sit in the cool bathroom. 

A little over 8 miles and I see a foot ferry dock.  My pace has been slow and I decide that soaking my feet in the water would be heavenly.  Sitting at the dock for 10 minutes, reveling in the cold water, I take out my Garmin and see that my average time is around 10 minutes per mile.  Ugh.  I tuck it back in as I don't want to know my pace until I'm done.  Plus maybe today I can get a little color on my left wrist.

Reluctantly I put my shoes on and make it to the 10 mile turn around point and happily head back toward home.  I try not to think about me being on the waterfront and my home being nowhere near water.  At mile 13 I stop at the 76 station and get Gatorade and add it to my depleting camel pack.  Money did come in handy today. 
Mile 16 gifted me with the sprinklers again.  This time I practically bathed in them before dragging my sorry self back onto the pavement.

From this point onward, I would run from shade to shade and either completely stop or walk through it.  My driveway never looked so amazing!

Thankfully I never ran out of fluid and my body felt fine although exhausted from the heat. 

8:42 or better average?  Not today.  It was a 10:21.  One of my slowest training runs in a very long time. 

20 miles done, no heat rash or sunburn.  Normally this waterfront route has a number of runners and bikers.  Today's count:  4 bikes and one lone