The Logical Philosopher

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How to set a PR at your next Marathon

So after 40 days of not-so-intense training, I did the marathon again today.

I can say with conviction, that less training will actually increase your time. And by less I mean about 70% less than recommended.

Here's how it went:

3km - my neck started to seize up. Usually it starts to seize on my long runs, around 23km. I am 20km early for a blowup. Or a 15km blowup, depending on who you are.

5k - I realize my 6am breakfast is now digested, and I am hungry. Luck me, I have a gel pack on me. Mmmm, vanilla goop for a snack. I also realize that I haven't raced for 3 years, which means I haven't practiced running and grabbing water off a table for 3 years. The grab goes well, the drinking it without spilling 95% onto the ground does not go well.

8k - my knee starts to tighten up and I start to think my Chiropractor may be right. I decide right then and there not to give her the satisfaction of being right. Foolish or Wise? you ask? Only the next 38k will tell....

10k - time = 54 minutes, right on pace for a 4 hour race. I look back and I am about 1/2km ahead of the 4hour pace bunny. Right then and there I decide to see if I can run a sub four hour Marathon. I think the endorphins had a large part in making that decision for me.

18k - the elites pass me (at their 28km mark) and I feel slow. And fat.

21.2k - time = 1:57. Still ahead of the pace bunny. I would have slowed down but he wasn't that cute.

26km - I am officially doing the longest run of the year. Surprisingly my mind has not reach the WTF are you doing to your body point in the race.

30km - time = 2:45. Sweet. I am on pace for a PB, and despite the burning sensation and numbness in my neck and hands. At least this race the burning sensation didn't happen elsewhere (that for another story).

32km - I lose my Motrin somewhere in a portapotty. I was sore, but not sore enough to dive in after it.

34km - I start to walk and get passed by the pace bunny. My blister, which feels larger than my entire foot, has reach boiling point. Pull off my shoe and a grain of sand falls out. Not any grain - a small grain which I suspect was entirely shaped like a pointy star.

I think back to a race I did where I saw a sign "You think 10k is easy? Well, you are in luck - the race just got easy."

I also reach the WTF are you doing to your body point in the race. I pushed it out. It was an epic feeling of mind over matter.

35km - I hear someone yell at me from behind. (full disclosure: I was delirious in pain so I am paraphrasing what I heard, from what was said). "Hey LP, nice post yesterday. Your Chiropractor sounds like a bitch!" I turned around to see my Chiropractor. Boy, can you say Awwkwarrrrrd!

38km - I realize that pain is temporary, but a sub-four hour marathon lasts forever. I pretend I am blocking out a 3 and 5 year old running around on Christmas morning after eating candy in their beds. Yes, the same technique can be used for blocking out physical pain.

39km - This song comes onto my iPod

I guess it is the Eye of the Tiger of the Rap generation. Whatever, it seemed to work.

Then, right at that second my GPS battery died and my Average Pace and Race Countdown. All I can think is Shit, now I have to go oldschool and do pacing math, which will probably reinforce the 'WTF are you doing to your body' thought process.

40km - I realize that yes, pain is temporary, but it is also right here, right now.. Again the Block your Children technique comes in handy and I put my head down and just give 'er.

My final time was a 4:02, a full 13 minutes faster than my PR, of which I did after 13 long weeks of training. Pfft! I think. Next year I wonder if I can do a sub 4 hour marathon if I cut it down to just 30 days of training.

Epilogue - It took 20 minutes to walk to my car, even though it was less than a km away. I didn't even make it across the crosswalk while the light was green. My time may have been faster, but my epilogue is going to be much slower this time.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day 39 of my 40 Days to a Marathon plan.

So in the past 39 days I managed to increase my mileage 130% per week, slightly above the doctor recommended increase of 10%.

I went from:
Drinking beer most of the summer, and generally lounging about on Hornby.

To, starting in the first week of September:
A 5k run (to make sure I could still run)
A 10k run (to make sure I could still do 10k)
A 8k speed run (to make sure I could still run fast)
A bike ride (to the running store to pickup some body-glide)
Then a 16k, 21k, 26k, 10k, 25k, a 20k and then finally, a car ride to the chiropractor for a pre-race checkup.

To say she was not impressed at my 40 day plan was a slight understatement. This was her rant: "You know, both you and my husband, you're crazy. He decided to do the same with only 33 days notice. And you know what?" At this point there was no replying, as I saw her talk with the same fury that LP-ette talks to me in. "Let me tell you what. I have to pick up the pieces of both of you! No sympathy here! None! Don't come to me when you're broken!"

All I could think of was about her husband beating me by one week less of training. Damn. If I was only lazy one more week, I too would be that cool.

Today I found myself in a bind - with a knee problem I couldn't stretch out I needed an emergency chiropractor visit to loosen things up. I am not sure what was worse: My wife's face when I said I was leaving a family function to go to the Chiropractor, or my Chiropractor's face when I showed up in her waiting room.

"Have I told you that you're stupid?" she asked me, as she inflicted a serious amount of pain during her adjustment. "I mean, seriously."

The only reply I had was one of pain. "Holy crap, where you are pushing, that really hurts."

I laid on her table for awhile, while she continued to prod and adjust my knee. "So will my knee hold out?" I asked. "It feels like if it will either blow up by 10k, or loosen up and I'll be good to run."

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure your knee will make it to 10k. Don't worry about that, just worry that at 15k something else in your undertrained body will blow up."

So wish me luck tomorrow! With all the motivational talk I've been given, I am sure that the eye of the tiger feeling I have will be the only thing pulling me through!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Battleship Grey

How come people at the dentist's office just don't listen?

To the 5 year old at the dentist today, who washed his hands with the Listerine, next time listen to your mom when she yells 'NoooOOO!!!". Yes, Listerine will sting those cuts little man.

To the self important business woman who kept trying to book a facial with multiple massage parlors, that just happen to fit into her "important and full schedule", next time read the sign that says "For the comfort of those in the waiting room, please turn off your cell phone or blackberry". Oh, and yes, we all heard you then whisper "Is there any students available to do it at a reduced rate?".

To the Hygienist that kept leaning on my face to get a better reach with your tool: Yes, for the last time, that hurts. My head was not meant to deform into the unnatural shape of your tool, particularly when the tip is pointing into my forehead.