Friday, October 28, 2011

Too Late, He Hit the Panic Button

I know you're getting tired of hearing this, but I had the best of intentions this week. I knew this was probably my last chance to pound the midweek miles and still have a chance to taper properly. I ran a tough 4-mile hill workout on Monday, and was fired-up to get out again on Tuesday night. The crisis of willpower that's haunted me over the last month was over.

But then, I started coughing. By the end of the day my throat was swollen and hurting quite badly, and I knew a run was out of the question. On Wednesday afternoon, my doctor hooked me up with a ProAir inhaler and prednisone, both of them steroids, and they made a huge difference almost immediately. Though I felt much better, I still felt like I had too much tightness in my chest, so I put my run off until this morning.

Since a winter storm (in October!) is barreling toward us as we speak, scheduled to drop 6-10 inches of snow tomorrow, I decided to make this my long run, which was scheduled to be 12 miles. I ran 12 miles in 2 hours. Not bad, in and of itself.

For a variety of reasons, most of which have been under my control, I clearly haven't done what I've needed to do to be ready for this marathon. For most of October, nailed my long runs but managed only one or at most two midweek runs.

As I prepped for Shamrock, my level of focus was just so much better. I've trained for both marathons during two of the busiest times of work I've ever had, but while I used work stress as motivation and looked forward to my nightly runs in January and February, in October it became a reason not to run. In hindsight, I think my IT band injury was the best thing that happened to me. I was running very good 16 or 17 milers, right on schedule, and then WHAM!, I could barely even do 5 right after the injury. It made me work really, really hard to get back. I didn't get all the way there, but under the circumstances, I think I did the best I could.

This time? I did a great job staying ahead of schedule all summer and had some great long runs in September and October, and maybe I rested on my non-existent laurels a bit too much during the week and I definitely feel a little burned out on this running thing right now. I certainly took advantage of every possible excuse. I guess it helped that I hurt my knee in late January, a month and a half before the race. This fall, I ignored the warning signs till it was almost certainly too late.

I have to run 26 on November 20th. I ran just 16 this week. And even with my 20-mile long run last week, I still got only 26 miles total last week. If I were a wiser man, I would probably switch to the half marathon. I'm just going to do the best I can on race day, even though it won't be very good even by my Shamrock Marathon standards. With a little bit of walking, I made it through 20 miles just one week ago. As long as I don't let my endurance decrease any further, I think I can finish this race in the approximation of one piece.

My plan? Officially I should be tapering, but I'm going to try to have a last tough week of midweek runs, and then get a last good long run of 18-20 miles. I'll try to follow that with another good week of shorter midweek runs, and then my last long run is scheduled for 8 miles. To make up for the abbreviated taper, I'll do probably do two 2-mile runs and a walk during the last week instead of the two 3-mile runs.

Wow, that was a downer. In summary: Cats...playing football!


  1. Don't sweat the lack of taper. It's over-rated, even for marathons. All they do is ensure muscle and liver glycogen is at maximum.

    60 hours pre-race start eating more carbs and three-four days before the race do a 26k (16mi) steady run, two days before do nothing, and the day before go for a nine mile slow paced run - it won't do any miracles but you won't need to taper either. :)

  2. Thanks Danny, it makes me feel better to read that.

    Carb loading is the part I'm awesome at.