Wednesday, August 27, 2008

35k is still 35k!

Wow -- its been a while since I've made a post. Probably because I didn't have much to report, I guess. Since Virginia Beach, I've still been running, but I haven't been as singularly focused on my time. Instead, I've been working on personal bests in shorter distances.

I set a PR in the 2nd Annual Canada Day Lucan to Exeter or Exeter to Lucan Invitational Shamrock Half Marathon (ACDLTEOETLISHM - Gaelic for: will run for beer) with a time of 1:39:43. I set a PR in the Ailsa Craig Gala Days 5k of 21:07 -- taking a full 4 seconds off my time from the previous year. So my speed was, apparently, not waning.

But then came the A Midsummer Night's Run in Toronto and I was to pace Paula and Jenny who, I thought, were both going for a 3 hour time (6 minute k's x 30k). Jenny had been training very well and the day of the race announced that she wanted to do 5:40/k -- enough to bring her in in under 2:50. Pretty aggressive considering her last 30k run was the Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton which she did in 3:06:18. So it worked out that Paula would run with Bob and Wendy Fraser, who were looking for the same pace, and I would pace Jenny.

Well, it was an education. I hadn't been training like Jenny was and by 20k, my hamstring was talking to me in the form of cramps. I tried to run loosely but I was eventually running with power from only one leg -- shades of Virginia Beach. At 26k, I gave Jenny the GPS and told her to go ahead -- that I would just slow her down from here on in. I walked for about 200 m. through some of the nicest Toronto real estate along the Toronto beaches -- stretching my thigh as I walked -- and then started to run at my typical pace and it felt okay. Before long I was within a few hundred metres of Jenny and with about 300 m. to go, I finally caught up to her and we crossed together in 2:47:55. But I definitely knew I wasn't in the same shape I was when I ran in Virginia Beach.

The next real test was a 35k training run with Paula just this past Tuesday (August 25). We ran around Ailsa Craig and then from A.C. to the Tim Horton's in Lucan, and then made our way back. But by 28k into the run, I was starting to feel the effects. Paula even asked if I was okay -- a bit bizarre for the pacee to be asking the pacer. But by this time we'd been out for about 3.5 hours -- and it was starting to wear on me. We kept going and ultimately finished very strongly -- both of us.

Paula said afterwards that it was one of the better training runs she'd had, which made me feel good considering how I felt in the middle of the run. But even after the run, Paula was chipper and upbeat, and I felt less than optimal until a few hours later.

Soooooo... the lesson is that training matters, irrespective of your typical running speed. And that a 35k run is still a long run, and 4 hours out on a road is a long time. Certainly no taking it for granted.

This pacing is an excellent way for me to keep relatively fit leading up to Boston. The ideal situation is for Paula to get her BQ, me to be pacing her every step of the way -- the same way Brian did for me -- and for us all to be running in Boston in 2009. Just that thought alone is keeping me motivated!

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