Monday, June 4, 2012

Going the distance . . . going for speed

You can't have your Cake and eat it too.

Some days I feel like my running has become so secondary that it's screeching to a halt - literally. I'm so slow these days. I knew that I wouldn't be running a half marathon pace for Barb's race, but now I actually feel like it will take me too much time to get to the finish line.

The Biggest Loser is a terrible representation of how you should lose weight, but I just can't help but watch their tearful transformations and all of the randomly placed plugs for Quaker oatmeal. Every week the contestants go head-to-head in some kind of physical challenge; the winner gets money, or a prize, or sometimes a one-pound advantage during the weekly weigh-in. There have been multiple challenges where the contestants had to carry weights from one side of a field to another, and dump the weights in a bin. The first contestant to transfer all of the weights into the bin was the winner. Some of the contestants took more weight and less trips, and some took less weight and more trips. Both good strategies depending on your ability to lift more, or ability to move more. (I don't remember who won, but it's not important.)

My goal for Barb's race has been "just to finish" but that is a bunch of BS. The way I see it - the longer it takes me, the longer I'll be trudging through the race route, wishing I was finished. I'd like to get 'er done as quickly as possible, not because I think I'm going to win, but because I'd rather be finished in closer to 6 hours than closer to 7 hours. Can you blame me? I recently had an email conversation with another Barb's participant who wants to finish in under 9 hours!

9 freakin' hours. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

I really look up to those people who are happy to "just finish" but I don't know if I can do it. I supposed it depends on your experience, and what you find to be enjoyable. I enjoy picking up the pace a bit, and getting to my bagel and bananas sooner.

Another analogy - We all know that driving slower uses less fuel, but if the tank is running low, don't we want to get to the gas station as quickly as possible? So much could happen while your car is inching towards the nearest fill up. I say, just get there as fast as you can, and maybe the momentum will allow the car to idle the last two blocks to the station.

Conundrum of the century: Unfortunately the more I go for the distance, the less speed I seem to have. On Friday I did a pretty steep trail run; on Saturday I did a 90 minute bike ride, followed by a 30 minute run; on Sunday it was a 50 minute swim followed by a 60 minute run. By Sunday I was pretty tired, but felt like I was pacing along during the run, which I did on my typical Los Gatos Creek Trail course. When I looked back at my Garmin for pace per mile, I was 2 minutes slower than my regular running pace. Yikes. The thought of a slower than molasses half marathon really freaks me out. The more time I'm running, the more time I have to run out of juice.

I already know my swim will be super slow, and I don't even know how to speed it up. (This is a post for another time. Comparing my swim speed to that commercials with the guys swimming through caramel. Great. Now I'm hungry. Sheesh.)

Plus the bike is LONG, so I have to keep jamming up those hills without killing myself for later. Maintain, maintain, maintain. There will be some map study of the bike route, and a trip up to Guernville soon. Hills near mile 45 should be a pleasure. I'm hoping the next 10 miles are downhill, but prob not.
For the next 7-odd weeks, I need to learn how to put all of these events together so I can finish all of them, and not at a snails pace.

1 comment:

  1. A couple things I have learned over the years:

    1. Recovery is as, or more, important than training.

    2. Starting on the slow side and sticking to a pace you can keep the whole day will give you a better time than killing it but not being able to keep up that pace. (I proved that on the Davis Double this year, I killed it the first 50 miles keeping up with a fast train, and it killed me in the end, finishing in over 15 hours...)

    3. Hydration, electrolyte replenishment, and calorie intake can be tricky to figure out, but once you find a system and process that works for you, you'll know it. (The better products are more than worth the extra price)