The long workout this week called for 10 miles easy then 8 at a 6:50 pace. I still think of a 6:50 pace as easy — even though it no longer is.

When training for Catalina I did a 20 mile workout with 10 at a 6:30 pace. So 8 at a 6:50 pace should be trivial.

I thought the same last week. We had 10 miles at 6:50, then 5 easy, then 2 at 6:30. Lauren had no problems with it, while I struggled to keep up with him, and then totally failed to speed up for the two miles at the end.

I decided to make up for it this week. I’d do the last mile at a 6:30, just to prove to myself I could speed up at the end.

Well, I couldn’t. When I started the hard part I passed Maggie, who blithely told me she was a little ahead of pace after 8 miles. I was a little behind pace after 1. It only got worse. I ended with a 7:05 mile. I could even hold the pace.

Again, I could not speed up. This does not bode well for my long distance endurance. And I realized…

I’m no longer getting better. In fact the last two long runs I seem to be getting worse. Have I fallen into overtraining yet again?

Will I run the first mile of the marathon at 7:20, the next at 8:05 and then realize it is hopeless, give up, and walk back to the start?

Not as bad as it was before, I hope. And with luck two weeks of taper will pull me out.

Or is this normal exhaustion at the end of a long training period (except I haven’t really been training that hard or that long. This should be easy; damn it). Maggie and Lauren don’t seem to be having this problem; it’s just me.

Rusty told me I should get a pair of light weight trainers for the marathon. My racing flats wouldn’t do for this long a race (I suspected that), but my normal shoes wouldn’t either.

So I went in to Joe’s for light weight shoes. I was given only two choices. Neither felt good. I chose the pair I thought was the least abusive to my feet. After running 23 miles in them I had a large, painful blister on my right least toe.

Rusty told me I needed shoes that felt good (shoes rarely feel “good”, my feet are weird, I’m almost always forced to compromise and chose the least bad). He suggested I try another brand, (the new store seems to have a third choice).

These don’t rub my toe, but they seem to push my knee out of alignment, after today’s 18 mile run the left knee felt odd and was clicking on every step. Then when I finished my arches felt completely abused, as though I were heading for planar fasciitis. I think I’m better off with a bad blister.

Or maybe with the normal trainers that I know I can tolerate.

Rusty wants me to start out the race slowly, then speed up to 6:50, and then half-way through speed up further. I don’t think I can. I have not managed a single workout where I could speed up at the end.

Perhaps my body doesn’t work that way? My natural inclination is to start out a little fast and try to hang on as I tire. I can’t imagine doing the reverse. Certainly my training indicates that speeding up will be difficult.

On the other hand, I have no hopes for doing well on this race, so why not experiment? Rusty says this (slowly speeding up) is the way to race. So do the books I’ve read. I’ll try it on this race I’ve given up on. If it works, great, I’ll have faith in the technique in the future.

But if it doesn’t work, well I won’t have lost much.

Annie dreamed too; but her dreams were interesting. I wish I could dream of giant teratorns to pull me from the waters, much preferable to my rather dull worries.


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