Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hubris / biting off more than I can chew? and chickens coming home to roost...

So what I omitted to tell you in my last post was the conversation Sally and I had while out on our 18 miler. One particular part of our conversation at least. I was giving Sally my blow-by-blow account of the Stamford 30K (when you're running 18M with a friend you have the time and audience for this kind of conversation..) and Sally said - well that puts you on course for a Boston qualifier in London. I asked her how so, as 9:00 minute miling gets me round a marathon in 3:55 - not the 3:45 which is my age group qualifying time. Sally's logic was that Stamford was so tough that I should be capable of the 8:30ish pace necessary to qualify... Abandoning reason for a minute I got swept up in the reverie of the thought. Wow. BQ. Can you imagine? The glory and triumph would be mine.

Now Sally has an agenda. She BQ'ed last year. (I'm sometimes amazed that she's still my friend. Remember - I took her out for her first 10 miler. That was me! And now look at her. She's like a whippet!) So of course Miss Sally wants me to qualify so we can both trek out to Boston together next spring..

Anyway - I've rolled the idea around in my head for the past week or so. You know what I mean. Obsessively checking race calculators etc (to run 3:45 I must run a 10K in x, a half in y etc).

But then I've had a few runs in the past 2 weeks which have slapped me round the head with a reality check. I had an 11 miler on the treadmill, with speedwork, which didn't work. And yesterday I was intending to go out for 15 with 12 at race pace.. Well. It did not happen. I was SO tired. I barely made it to 6.

So let's recap here. My running is going really well. Really well. I'm running comfortable around the 9 minute mile mark and I'm happily running a mileage I could only have dreamed of in the past. The Pfitz is definitely helping me to up my game - enormously.

But I also have a life. A busy and fairly stressful job. 2 little kidoodles who need various bits of time, input and attention. A husband who ALSO has a busy and stressful life. This past week my wonderful parents were with me and I ended up staying later than my normal 9:30 curfew a few nights. I wouldn't have missed it for the world but it's undeniable that I'm paying the price for it now. Late night (with parents) and early mornings (with type A 6 year old) mean that I am shattered. Chuck in a 45+ mile a week training schedule and you can see there is no make-up in the world that can cover the bags under my eyes.

In the spirit of doing the opposite of me, I'm thinking I should not be pushing my luck. If I can get round in 3:55 that would be a massive (17 minute) PR. Last year I had no idea of how I would ever get to that time. Now I'm thinking that, with everything going my way, I can do this. But going down to 3:45 is, I think, over reaching for this race. I think that with a few more training cycles I can do it but right now it's too far to go in one fell swoop. Too risky for injury as well...

So here I am - what do you think? I asked my osteopath when I went for my tune-up the other day (he's suffering from over training at the moment, by the way, it even happens to the pros) and he said - devil's advocate - "can you imagine how you'd feel if you got round in 3:48? You'd think maybe your start was too conservative...". Thanks Jonathan. That helps. But thinking about this - say I had the wind in my back, perfect weather, energy levels that I can only dream of - and I got round in 3:48? What I would think is "omg what a PR and that BQ is definitely possible"....

Now onto the pressing matter of today. I'm meant to be going out for 15M with 12 at race pace. I set out for this run yesterday but abandoned it as I was just exhausted. Ran 6M instead. Today is the last day in my silver bullet extra week of training - as of tomorrow I am caught up with the Pfitz program and following the 6 weeks to goal (or 7 weeks today) program to my goal in 7 weeks. What do you think I should do? Should I skip the 15M and give my body a chance to rest, before the last hard 7 weeks of training? Or try to get this 15M in somehow? Thoughts, opinions and commiserations welcome...

I have no running photos to share at the moment - my camera really is bust, I fear, but let me take this shameless opportunity to show off my lovely daughter who is going to a new school in April and has just got her new uniform through - is she not gorgeous?

I hope all your running is going well and would love your input on my running, racing and personal strategy..

16 comments:

Susan said...

Gorgeous girl indeed!

I say skip the run in favor of rest for a butt-kicking last few weeks before London! Of course, new mommies always preach REST! :)

Hmm... I say just see what happens with regards to a BQ (snap!) and don't stress. I think I have run best when I "didn't care." Who knows - you may have wind in your sails and happen upon a BQ! It DOES happen to some folks, I think. But obviously I am no expert.

If anyone can manage all this, it is you. I know you have a lot going on, so just do your best and see what happens. I'd kill for 3:48!

Road Warrior said...

I can certainly see where she gets her good looks!

I'm with Susan on both points. Give yourself a rest reward and get ready for the weeks of training.

As for the BQ, run your race and just see how it goes. If you get closer to the 3:55 mark, then you can shave another 10 minutes off your next one. Enjoy the distance is my philosophy.

aron said...

well i know you took the rest day and it sounds like it was a very smart move!! you have some serious training weeks coming up and i think your body will thank you :)

dont stress too much about the BQ. see how the rest of your training goes and you can always run a fall marathon with a BQ goal. CIM i had to take 24 minutes off my PR to BQ and i think that shook a lot of my confidence... this time knowing i have to take off 4 minutes is a huge confidence booster, just knowing i was so close. you will do great whatever your goal is :)

akshaye said...

She is so like a mini-me version of you!

You have a lot going on, so I would not worry about the BQ. If everything falls into place race day, you will have a solid chance of getting it. Good luck!

Irish Blue said...

I second what Susan said - rest and then kick butt next week. If the BQ happens, it happens and you're on your way to Boston. If not, you'll get there soon, I have no doubt about that.

Your daughter is too cute for words. Looks a tad like her dear mom.

SeriousRunning said...

I think you should go for getting your 15 miles in. Maybe you only run 10 miles on a run and the add the other 5 during the week on other runs. Don't worry about running the mileage at race pace, just get your miles in. 7 weeks before the race is when you should be working to build your base of mileage, so any distance helps, no matter what the pace is. Once you build that base then you won't feel overtrained when pushing yourself in other workouts later giving you the motivation and energy to finish up your training plan strong!

Marathon Maritza said...

Well, I know you rested, and that's what I would have recommended anyway!

How is everything else going? I know you are busy, and I know there are many people who need you in your life...and I know I have room to talk not being a mother or wife or anything, but just a little reminder to remember to take time for yourself. You will be much better all all the 50,000 things you do if you are rested and meeting goals of your very own.

She is gorgeous! But then again, the apple does not fall far from the tree. :)

Lots of love!

jen said...

Love the picture! You must be so proud. :)

I don't know for sure what you are capable of running in London, but be aware of the danger of going out at BQ pace. You could totally bonk and even give up your goal of finishing in 3:55. It's a risk. I think you'll have a better idea in the coming weeks of what to shoot for. No matter what, you'll set a PR and be on top of the world. :)

Maddy said...

I am so far behind on checking blogs. I see you took the rest day, which I would have suggested anyway...

As far as a BQ, I would suggest playing it by ear that day. If you're feeling good and the stars are alligned, then go for it! To be that close and have those thoughts in my head... Ohhhhh, I am so excited for you!

ShirleyPerly said...

I see I'm too late to offer advice about the 15-miler but it did sound like your body was telling you something. As for the BQ, if in the next few weeks race predictions based on shorter races indicate that you can run closer to a 3:40, I'd say go for the 3:45. Most of them tend to be on the ambitious side and if you go out too fast, as Jen said, you can blow your chances of even going sub-4 or worse, get injured.

A sub-4 race time in itself would be a huge PR for you and something to be incredibly proud of. You still have time to run another marathon in the fall to go for the BQ if you wanted and still run Boston with Sally in the spring

ShirleyPerly said...

PS - Lovely photo of you and your daughter!!

Bootchez said...

You and your daughter look gorgeous!

Not that I'm really one to offer advice, but I agree with the other commenters -- don't obsess too much over the BQ -- go out and do what you can, and if on race day you've got something extra in your tank, then lay it out then. Just enjoy your race and lay down what you can. Don't hurt yourself either mentally or physically.

jeanne said...

i am useless. i have no idea, except i think there comes a point when your body is screaming at you to give it a break already. generally you know it when you get there.

as for bq (which for the longest time i thought meant barbeque, seriously): I also have no idea!

oh also: that is quite possibly the cutest child I've ever seen.

no need to thank me i'm here to help. :)

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peter said...

I think breakthrough races just fall into place. You have to do the trainng, of course, which you are doing, and then you line up and go and sometimes it just happens. When I despaired of ever breaking 4 hours, suddenly I ran a HM/M double at Disneyworld and smashed 23 minutes off my PR, everything just came together. I wasn't stressed about it beforehand because I wasn't actually trying to achieve a sub-4, I was just rying to put those two races back to back. (Goofy Challenge.) It just happened. I think someday your great race will unfold before you when you aren't necessarily expecting it.

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