Saturday, January 7, 2012

Taper "Long Run" with the BAA

Target: 12-14 miles w/some portion @MP
Actual: 9 miles easy, 2 miles @11:50, 1 mile easy, 5x1 min. on/off, 1/2 mile easy
Total: ~13.5 miles @1:36

For my last "long run" before the Trials, Jordan and I decided to take a Saturday trip into the city and hook up with BAA coach Terry Shea and his wife, Carly, among a few others. Jordan planned to run a progressive uptempo with the boys, while I was aiming to get in about an hour of easy running before dropping the pace for a few miles.

In the past several days leading into this run, my body has been a mess. Not only has my foot still been achy--nothing debilitating, just a nagging, dull discomfort that refuses to subside--but I woke up on Friday morning feeling like absolute death. Fortunately/unfortunately, I'd already decided to take the day off for the sake of my foot--my first day sans running since late August--which meant that after struggling to spend a few minutes being productive at my computer, I had enough free time to stumble back into the bedroom and pass out for another hour before getting ready for work. I spent the entire remainder of the day feeling, for lack of a better description, decidedly out of sorts. Tired, achy, warm and vaguely uncomfortable. I instantly flashed back to the day before when I'd taken my absent coworker Mattison's mouse--which, in my defense, he'd originally stolen from me--and ignored the warning from my other coworker who warned me that Mattison had been deathly ill before leaving work the previous day. I'd shaken off his suggestion of sanitizing the mouse because, really, how long can germs last?? If I was about to find out that answer the hard way, just a week out from the biggest race of my life, I would be livid. After barely surviving the entire day at the office, I curled up on the couch, choked down a meager dinner (that's when you know something is wrong with me) and collapsed into bed at 8:30, an hour which is considered early even by my octogenarian standards. But wouldn't you know, my eyes snapped open at 7:30 on Saturday morning--yes, that's an astonishing 11 hours later--and I felt good as new. Phew!

And so, back to the run: 9am, Harvard track, Jordan and I, Carly and Terry, a few other BAA peeps. We set off toward the Charles and embarked on the same 4.2-mile loop where I'd tempoed with Terry and Emily last month. After one easy loop together the group disbanded; some to pick up the pace, others to begin a workout and Carly and I to the indoor track bathroom before continuing with our easy run. Though the weather had been downright frigid the past few days, this morning brought temps in the low 40s, negligible wind and bright sunshine--quite pleasant by Boston winter standards. We chatted through another loop before I dropped Carly back off at Harvard, at which point I planned to attempt a few uptempo miles. Though I felt infinitely better than yesterday, my legs were inexplicably heavy and I was doubting my ability to run sub-7 pace, much less sub-6. I was able to huff and puff my way through two miles in 11:50, but good grief did it feel hard. This was roughly the same pace I maintained when cruising through longer intervals on Tuesday, so needless to say today's efforts did not inspire much self-confidence. Even the one minute portions felt forced and awkward, all energy completely sapped from my legs. Considering how strong my training has been and how confident I've felt over the past few months, this isn't exactly the best timing for a complete physical meltdown. At this point I'm trying to engage in positive self-talk and remind myself of all the marathon paced workouts I've nailed, trusting that the fitness is there. There's absolutely no benefit to dwelling on the negative, so as I jogged back to the parking lot I sternly instructed myself to shake it off and chalk this up as one more sub-race pace "workout" in the bank.

Fortunately, the rest of the day left little time for self-pity. After the run we went straight to Carly and Terry's for some late morning turned early afternoon brunch and coffee, then Jordan and I headed across town to visit Jeff "G-Unit" Gaudette and his better half Melanie for the afternoon. In addition to being Jordan's current and my former coach, Jeff also used to own a massage therapy business, so naturally I implored him to come out of retirement for a pre-Trials rubdown. He was happy to oblige so long as he still had a good angle on the Bruins game, and I'm confident his handiwork will help flush out whatever is ailing my tired legs. Several hours and a plate of homemade nachos later Jordan and I hit the road back to Marblehead, happy to have enjoyed a relaxing Saturday in the city with new friends and old.