I'm still trying to figure out what went wrong on Sunday. I just had a very humbling day. It's not so much the pace that was slower than I thought, or necessarily how I felt afterward, but rather just a feeling that things aren't going the way they need to be going.
On May 16, I ran 18 miles in 3:02. Now, a month or so after, it took me 36 more minutes to run two more miles.
Again, what happened?
I felt so strong, so invigorated after that 18-mile run. I was ready for San Francisco, knew I was going down the right path, knew I was going to rock it. Now, I've lost a lot of that enthusiasm. I still had it before the run but afterward, I 'm just left scratching my head wondering what's going on.
There's a few things I've thought may have contributed to the run.
* Garmin: Having misplaced my Garmin is just unacceptable. It should be as well-kept as my shoes and my sunglasses. Had I had my Garmin, perhaps I would have been able to monitor my pace more closely and could have picked up the pace when I needed to. I am not to a point where I can just run at a certain pace and know I'm around, say 10:00 or 9:30 pace or whatever. I'm not. So what I thought was a 10:00 pace was probably more like 11-plus. I had my Garmin on the 18-miler and it helped to prod me along, especially towards the end.
* Week off: My week of rest might have been a setback. I mean, it helped a lot with my Achilles. The discomfort has all but vanished. But that may have come with a price.
* No hills: I was running Mt. Rubidoux at least once a week every week since March. That was a tough challenge and it really helped me strengthen as a runner. I've lost some of that strength since I've not been running hills.
* Fewer days: Along with a hiatus on hills, I also have cut back on the number of days I run in order to help deal with my Achilles. Maybe that's combined to have slowed me down some.
* Eating habits: I could improve on my eating habits. I'm not as disciplined now as I have been. That "I run so I can eat a bit more" mentality is unfortunately present, but I need to have that discipline and commitment rise again and be on the forefront of my mind.
* Warmth. I ran the first 10 miles - to the halfway point on the map I'd marked out - in about 1 hour 42 minutes, which is a little north of a 10-min mile. I was actually trying to get between a 9:38 and 10:38 pace and would have been happy anywhere in between. So, the final 10 miles then took me about 1 hour 58 minutes, which is a pace of nearly 11:55. I trudged through that. The sun might have had something to do with it. I'd wanted to leave at about 4:15 a.m., but instead, with searching for my Garmin and just taking too long to get my stuff together, I left at 4:37. The sun was out, well, it was already getting light outside at about 5:20 but once it hit 7 a.m. the sun was brighter and I could start to feel the warmth. Maybe that had something to do with it.
I'm not sure if it's any one reason or a combination of reasons but my run on Sunday was not pleasant. I need to get another run in soon so I can just forget about it and move on. I also need to re-dedicate myself to my meal plan, and throw in some stinking cross-training sessions and speedwork. I would also like to start running more days during the week, but the World Cup has me watching more games and has me busy with work. There are some days I've been writing and editing and posting stories for several hours after the game's ended and that just is a bit stressful at times. But I still should be able to find time to run. Period.
I do have one weapon on my side, something I'm going to share on another post, but aside from that I need to dig deep down and figure out what's going on with me. I don't want to feel like 20-mile runs are bad, that running that distance is a letdown, but that's what I'm left with.
And until I figure out what can be changed and go about doing that, I'll be worried that similar runs will be in my near future. The San Francisco Marathon in on July 25, less than five weeks away now, and that is not a whole lot of time for me to figure things out and work to improve. So I have to get on it soon.