Sunday, August 31, 2014

Prediction Run

Boy, was today tough.  Temperature in the mid-to-high seventies, humidity at the point of rain without the relief of rain.  These were the conditions for a twelve-mile prediction run on the Bike and Hike with Shelby.  Sheila, our coach at OneLife Fitness, placed us at the opposite end of the path running toward the Towpath Turtles and gave us strict instructions:

1.  No chit chat.  Nothing beyond, "You ok?"

2.  Run close to race pace for the half marathon, but don't go all out.

This wasn't officially part of our instructions, but I knew rule number 3 was for me:


This is exactly how I look when I know I have to run without music.
Normally, Sunday lsd's (long, slow distances) are fun times.  These are the runs where I get to talk to other runners or just listen to my music and chill.  Today was not one of those times.  I knew what I was in for, so I tried to mentally and physically prepare myself for suffering.

Pre-Run Fuel:  Panera Blueberry Bagel with cream cheese, coffee with Thin Mint Creamer, lots of water

Fuel during Run:  Blackberry GU at miles 4 and 8.  Water.  So much water.

Post-Run Fuel:  1/2 cup 1% milk with a tablespoon of Carnation Instant Breakfast drink, reuben, cantaloupe, and yes, WATER!!!

If you read my posts here and here, you know that I am pursuing a time goal for the Akron Half Marathon.  Today was supposed to be a test of how I might do.  It was also a test of how far I've come after 1) breaking my foot and then coming back, 2) losing 14 pounds (and counting!), and 3) stepping up my training and taking it more seriously.  Here are our splits (copied from my DailyMile post):

Boy, was I miserable. I would have punked out if I wasn't certain that Shelby would tell on me. Thanks for pushing me, Shelby! Here are the splits: 
Mile 1: 10:07 Mile 2: 10:12 Mile 3: 9:13 Mile 4: 9:27 Mile 5: 9:25 
Mile 6: 9:15 Mile 7: 9:28 Mile 8: 9:23 Mile 9: 9:34 Mile 10: 9:28 
Mile 11: 9:53 Mile 12: 10:01

It was very tough to do this run.  I felt really good up until mile 7, and then I just went to a very dark place in my head.  In miles 4 and 5 we passed the Turtles and encouraged them, to which they all replied, "Stop talking!"  Sheila had definitely prepped them.  Around mile 7 I started to break down.  I looked to see that nobody was around to see me talk, and I said to Shelby, "I'm going to have a meltdown as soon as we get to Sheila at the water station."  And at mile 8 I did.  I unleashed a string of every variation of the f-bomb I could come up with as I filled my water bottle.  Sheila calmly listened and then told us to get going since we won't be stopping in the race.  I popped a GU and powered on.  I felt a little better between miles 8 and 10, but after that I felt like I was dying.  My mantras were only getting me so far, and I just wanted to stop and lay down.  I kept telling myself, "You can do anything for 20 minutes; just hold on for 20 more minutes," and so on as I got closer to the end.

Overall, I did twelve miles in 1:55, which is a 9:37/mile.  Here is what I learned from my prediction run:

I am most likely not going to hit the sub-2 hour half marathon goal.  I will, however, definitely PR this race, and it's probable that I will PR it by about seven minutes.  That is enormous progress, and I think I will be happy with that.  Twelve minutes is a long time to cut off a PR, and by the way, so is seven minutes.  I have shown growth this year, especially considering the whole broken foot fiasco.  I am continuing my weight loss journey, and if I keep it up (and the weight down!), I should be able to reach that sub-2 hour half marathon goal in a different race.  

This doesn't mean I'm not going to try for it, though.  You never know when you are going to get lucky.