If you read this blog, you have probably seen that quote before. As I warmed up for my "tune-up race" today, that quote was bouncing around over and over in my head. It has been many months since I really attempted a 10K race. In fact, I have very little experience racing them. Consequently I don't know a lot about strategy for a race of this distance. What I did know: I needed to run a 42:30 to keep with my 3:20 marathon training plan and I had just run 17 miles a day earlier. Honestly, I didn't have high expectations. But I'm not really a defeatist, so I decided the best pace was suicide pace (whatever that is!). After a decent warm up, I switched directions on the track -- to help balance the load on my body -- and started running. With a 6:51 target pace, I decided to bank a few miles below that without spending all my energy. First mile 6:42. It felt pretty darn good. So I banked a few more below the necessary pace (6:35 and 6:29). At the 5K mark I had tied my best pace on this same track (20:20). Hmm, am I going too fast? Can I keep this up? Every time I started to struggle I focused on my form -- lean forward, drive your knees, keep your feet landing under you, use your glutes to propel forward -- and I just kind of settled into a 6:28 pace. I ran my second 5K faster than the first and beat the "necessary" pace by nearly 2 full minutes. If I'm being fair, I should acknowledge that the conditions today were PERFECT. And I always run my best times on that track.
So now I have a decision to make: what the heck do I do on race day? That 10K pace suggests I could run a 3:11 marathon. And that doesn't include the 10 second per mile benefit that I should get from dropping 4K feet in altitude race day (maybe 5 or 6 minutes on race day). Could I really run a low 7 min/mile marathon?! Seems impossible. I am the same guy that was happy to break four hours 12 months ago. BQ is for studs. Only feather weight runners with an insane V02 max can run a sub-3:10 (my BQ time). I still feel like that is an unrealistic goal, but I am insanely happy that I can even think about it. I won't consider revising my goal of sub-3:20 until closer to the race. And it's very doubtful I'll attempt a 3:10 unless conditions on race day are absolutely perfect and I feel amazing at the halfway point. It is too risky. With Leadville training coming up, I may not have another shot at a road marathon for a while.
I have three more hard weeks of training before taper, meaning October will likely be my last 200 mile month of the year. The big run this week is 18 miles with 14 at marathon pace. But what is my marathon pace?! I suppose I'll shoot for something in the 7:30 range.
A quick update on Leadville: registration opens November 1st. They are expecting the 100 mile races to fill quickly. And since I'm impulsive anyway, I will likely sign up early if I am going to sign up at all. At this point I would say it is likely, but I'm still searching within to think it over. If you know me, you know I don't half-ass anything. If I do it, I will build my entire summer around that race (24 weeks and at least 2 tune-up ultras). It's a huge commitment and I'll need a dedicated crew and pacers to make it happen. Stay tuned.
|Wednesday||12||MLR at a pretty easy pace|
|Saturday||17||An LSD run with 1300' vertical|
|Sunday||10||Tune-up race 10K|
|Total||55||About 2800 vertical feet gained|