Monday, May 14, 2007

Reality Bites!

Sunday- 6 miles easy
Monday- 17 miles-2 w.u. 2x2mile-12:48, 60min jog, 2x2mile 12:47

Okay the reality of physiology pretty much blows. Okay I am improving and tonight's workout was something I could not have come close to two months ago but damn. I feel like I suck. And since I am thinking I suck now, what the heck kind of shape was I in LAST YEAR at this time???? What the heck was I doing trying to run marathons and ultras thinking I was a contender and a somewhat "elite" ultrarunner. No wonder I had so many DNF's. And all the races I did finish were disappointing and necessitated about 2 weeks completely off for recovery. I was soooooooooo out of touch with my actual fitness level it is disgusting to think about now.

Tonight's run was a classic jtupper ( Jack Daniels- letsrun message board handle) workout. In fact I got it from him off the message board. I was going to run a similar one (3 miles at lactate threshold followed by an hour running at easy pace, then 3 more miles at lactate threshold) For me currently about 6:25 pace per mile with my easy pace being about 7:45. But, I modified it to make it a bit harder and do 2 x 2mile at LT pace with 2min rest still bookending the 60min run.

I ran an easy 2 mile warm up and felt like the first 2 mile was a bit more pressing than it should have been. I ran even splits and managed 12:50. I used the measured PT test course tonight so I know it was exactly 2 miles. Then I was barely ready to go again after just 2 minutes and the second one sucked! I was breathing heavy 4 minutes in and it felt hard. 12:46. So then I go off to jog for an hour and really felt heavy legged and tired. I got hungry too so 36minutes into the hour I stopped at my hooch and got a gel and drank some coke. Since I was only half way through the workout I mentally was pretty down. I began thinking about the times where I have run 6-8 milers on a treadmill at 10mph with out problems. How I ran a 2:09 20 miler before the JFK 50 miler in 2001. How in my very first marathon I managed to run 2:02 for 20 miles. And tonight 2 miles at 6:25 pace was this hard??? Damn..... I suck.

I was thinking recently about the amazing running Greg Crowther and Patrick Russell have been doing and how their blogs have been an inspiration. Yet still, deep in my mind, I thought in a trail 100 miler I bet I could beat them. I just keep thinking that I am the man and trails are MY THING and I could tough it out better than them...or anyone. Yet, pure physiology is what it is. I have been crushing myself with SOLID workouts for 12 weeks now and still am light years behind guys like this in terms of fitness. The pace I struggled to hold for 12 minutes tonight these guys can hold for 4 hours...and I used to be able to do for 2 hours! WOW. I have a long way to go. It just takes so long to improve it is frustrating. Like all Americans I want instant gratifying results!

Anyway...I did tough out the run. I came back to the 2 mile course and ran 12:44. Then took THREE minutes rest and ran 12:49. It hurt. I skipped the cool down as I hate cool downs in general and it was already 7:38pm and I needed to go shower and get to the dining hall by 8pm as it closes.

I so wish running was a skill sport like playing pool or even Tennis. Something where the 40,000 miles of training I have logged in the last 18 years was cumulative and my ability at running never receded. I wish that the level I obtained in college just continued to escalate day after day and time off did not drop you back so far down. Man, that would be great!

ALAS, perspective! Here you go: On this base there are about 250 US ARMY soldiers. All of us have to do a 2mile run as part of our bi-annual fitness test. Of the 250, only 2 other guys have been able to break 13:00 in the 2mile in the 11 months I have been here. So tonight sprinkled in a 17 mile run, I ran sub 13min for 2 miles 4 times. Thus I am LIGHT YEARS ahead of all of these Army punks here. It is all perspective............................................
I guess I need to remember that.


GotLegs! said...

Greg, sounds like you're being pretty hard on yourself ... but who am I to say. I've never been at your level of fitness. Forgive me for coming into the middle of your story but I was wondering, do you have anyone to run with out there? It would be tough to run in a place like that alone ... that's all I'm thinking. How things get better for you and you return home with some successful races. *tc

Loomdog said...

Tony, Yes I was a little hard. I guess it is the coming out of delusion effect. When you go 5 years with out any speed work and run 1/3rd to 1/2 of the mileage you used to you get in a lot worse shape. Yet, my mind really had not accepted that. Sure I knew I was not AS FIT, but I had no real concept of how far below my previous self I had fallen.

Now that I am working hard to climb back to my fittest self ever.( yes, completely one here runs more than 4 miles at once) The realization of how long that is going to take is a bit depressing. I suppose it is like the fat guy who puts on 40lbs and thinks "if I diet for a month or two I could be back to where I was".....The reality is like damn....It is going to take a YEAR or TWO to get it back. I am just waking up to that reality now. I figured in February when I started training seriously again that I would be fit enough to seriously challenge 6 hours and for the win at JFK 50 in Novemeber. Now I realize that won't happen. On the bright side I sure as heck will run a lot better than I would have!

Sarah said...

Hi, Greg -

I think that your diet analogy is a really good one - fitness is very similar psychologically, in my mind.

It's kind of like, when you gain weight, "It's SO much work just to lose a few pounds, and I have SO MANY to lose!! Is it worth it?!?!" It's very easy to become discouraged and just give up - the light at the end of the tunnel (goal weight) seems so far away and the increments toward it so small.

So that fact that you can end your comment knowing that, while you may not be in the racing shape you'd thought/hoped come JFK time, you'll run a lot better than you would have had you NOT started training so hard is GREAT!! You just have to keep seeing it that way - each day, you're getting closer to your fittest self ever and you will get there eventually if you keep up the good work.

Hang in there - you're doing an amazing job of training over there all by yourself. And you'll be back in the States before too long - what a boost THAT will provide!


Loomdog said...

Thnaks for the positive vibes guys! They always help.

crowther said...

Hi Greg -- good luck staying patient as you try to get back to where you used to be fitness-wise. Although my speed may seem intimidating to you right now, I went through my own period where, due to injuries and other factors, I was far below my peak. This period lasted from March 2002 until roughly October 2005.... So yes, comebacks can take a while. Hang in there!

Michael said...

Hey Greg, a friend told me that the 10 K world record holder can run two sub 4-minute miles during a 10 K. Is that true? That's crazy!