Sunday, April 20, 2008

Where Have You Been?

I've kind of gone AWOL lately. Part of it is that life has been busy, but that is usually the case for me. The real reason is that I kind of crashed and burned after my last marathon of the season, the Austin Marathon on February 17. I think I'll leave the details for a separate post.

On the running front I hadn't really recovered from the Houston Marathon on January 6 when the Austin marathon rolled around. I was back to running, but the my endurance and speed never came back. I felt good going in to the race, but my plan was to run a conservative pace and see how things went. I planned on running about 9:45 pace, which is normally a pretty comfortable pace for me in training. But this is what my pace and average heart rate looked like during the race:

Mile 1: 10:11, 157 bpm
Mile 2: 10:23, 161 bpm
Mile 3: 10:06, 165 bpm
Mile 4: 9:13, 163 bpm
Mile 5: 9:27, 164 bpm
Mile 6: 9:46, 165 bpm
Mile 7: 9:52, 161 bpm
Mile 8: 10:24, 163 bpm
Mile 9: 10:10, 162 bpm
Mile 10: 10:27, 162 bpm
Mile 11: 10:39, 159 bpm
Mile 12: 10:59, 160 bpm
Mile 13: 10:48, 159 bpm
Mile 14: 11:26, 154 bpm

The first two miles were uphill so I wasn't too worried at the outset, but as thing flattened out in mile 3 and went down hill in miles 4 and 5 I began to sense trouble. Miles 5 and 6 were flat and it was a struggle to even get to 9:46 pace and I knew I had to slow down to even hope to finish. But it was all down hill from there. When I hit the hills in mile ten my body quickly disintegrated and by the halfway point I hurt so badly that it was all I could do to shuffle along. When the five hour pace group passed me I decided to drop out because if I was able to finish at all it was going to take five and a half or six hours and it simply wasn't worth it to me. I'd already finished a marathon this season and finished others so just finishing wasn't a big deal for me. My body clearly wasn't recovered or ready and I walked. I stopped at the side of the road and got out my cell phone and called my wife to have her pick me up at Northcross mall. I actually continued to walk past mile 17 where I met my wife and went home.

I really didn't feel bad about it. I'd started the season injured back in September and had rehabilitated enough to run within a couple of minutes of my PR at Houston. Austin was simply a lesson learned that my 43 year old body needed at least a couple of months to recover from a marathon before I could do another. I'd done it the previous year when I ran Dallas at the beginning of December and then had a good race at Austin in February.

I really didn't start running semi-regularly again until the end of March. I ran the Capitol 10k and the Bun Run 5k, but I wasn't in shape for them and ran them just for fun. In fact, while I'm entered in all my normal spring races I don't have any goals for them because I'm focused on recovering from marathon season and just building up a good mileage and endurance base with a focus on weight loss. In other words, I'm in my off season and running for pleasure.

I've already entered next year's Houston marathon and the lottery for the New York Marathon. That means, with this year's lesson learned, that I have no intention of running the Austin Marathon next year. The big goal, however is to get down to 205 pounds. Harumph. Like I've never had that goal before.


MattMan said...

Based on my sporadic following of your blog, Bull, I can fairly comfortably say I'm proud of your achievement here.


Well, like me, it has seemed that you have a tendency to push too hard, to your own detriment.

In looking at your page & heart rate log here, it's obvious that you refused to go beyond your limits and exercised great restraint in the face of sure internal disappointment.

And, beyond that, you realized at some point that there simply was no longer a point in continuing, that there was a lesson to be learned here and you were going to learn from it ahead of a typical schedule of further self-destruction. :)

So, kudos to you. I aspire to gain such self control as you of learning the over-doing-it lesson. :)

Bull said...

Thanks for the kind comments. Yeah, I tend to be a little obsessive. The marathon has a way of teaching humility and restraint. You simply can't tough it out and try to write checks your body can't cash.