Archive for April, 2010


April 30, 2010

I did the wrong thing.

Never having carbo-loaded before, I just assumed I was supposed to drink recovery drink for all my carbs. Not sure why I assumed that. Perhaps because that’s what I’d always been told to do before. Perhaps because both Rusty and Mike told me to begin that way (and neither explicitly said to switch to real food), perhaps because it was just easier to calculate grams of carbs.

I went through a huge amount of HEED.

Rusty seemed concerned.

Oh well.



April 28, 2010

I’ve never done the depletion/carbo-load cycle before, but since I hit the wall around mile 20 in my last marathon I’m trying it now.

Sunday I stopped eating carbs. No grains, no fruit, no veggies, no bread, no beans — most of my normal diet disallowed. I did a run, 90 minutes at 80% HR, where I saw pitcher-sage for the first time, and an odd looking plant it is. The sage was the highpoint of the day. I was hungry when I got home. I ate up all the chicken I’d cooked up the day before (and which I’d assumed would last a couple of days). I was still hungry. The store had no tuna fish so I bought smoked salmon, only to discover it was far too salty to subsist on.

Then I felt nauseous. I’d been warned that I would feel “poorly”, so I’m not too worried.

It seemed I was drinking a lot of water. Perhaps the salt?

The next morning I had a five mile easy run. I felt I had no energy (Already? it had only been a day). It wasn’t my legs which felt tired but my whole body. Perhaps I’d not eaten enough and just starved myself? Coming back home I was so tired I walked the last 100m.

I soaked some smoked salmon in water (to get rid of some salt) and scrambled it up with some eggs and cheese, for breakfast. Went to my yoga class and got a head rush each time I came from down dog to standing — at least I did at the beginning of class, by the end I seemed OK. Which didn’t make sense to me.

Half a pound of chicken for lunch. Bike ride and a hike up cold spring trail. Starving. Oh, neat, the Dudleya are in bloom finally.

Half a pound of chicken for supper (bit more really). Still hungry. Cheese “sandwiches” (that is, peanut butter spread on a hunk of cheese).

I still seem to be drinking a lot of water. Hmm. Usually I eat lots of fruit, which contain lots of water, maybe I have to make up for that? Or it could be that protein metabolism produces urea which must be dissolved in water to be excreted?

Tuesday, more scrambled egg for breakfast. A pilates class. Again I feel light headed when I stand up. Somehow food doesn’t seem to last. I’m hungry again.

My legs feel tired just biking around town. Perhaps they really are being depleted of energy stores?

Even though I eat before going to pottery class I’m already hungry again when I get there. I don’t understand it.

I eat more when I get home, and then go to bed. I feel so nauseous I can’t sleep for a long time. Eventually my stomach calms down.

Wednesday I have a simple workout: 1.5 mile warm-up, 3×1 mile @ 6:30 pace, 1 mile cool-down. Rusty has hinted that if I’ve depleted properly I won’t be able to complete the workout. Now 6:30 pace sounds easy. I can run a half-marathon at that pace (faster, actually); doing three miles with a 2 minute rest between sounds easy. On the other hand, I remember how on Monday it felt as though I could barely run easily… So I have two worries: That I’ll fail to complete the workout but will have to try and it will be really unpleasant, or I’ll succeed and show that I haven’t depleted properly.

It’s very windy and chilly as I head up to the Wilcox. Running my easy lap, I just feel beat. I’m nervous as I get ready for my first hard mile. Off I go. A little slowly at first (a 6:40 pace over the first quarter mile), and then I hit the wind. My legs feel tired. Back around, out of the wind and done. 6:27 (89%). More difficult than a 6:30 pace should feel, but not horrible. So I feel a bit more confident after my rest on the second lap. But this time I feel exhausted fairly quickly, but I glance at my watch and see I’m running a 6 minute pace. Back off. Into the wind again and, again, I’m tired. And then around and out of the wind. 6:20 (91%). Now I’m starting to worry that it will all be too easy, that I haven’t depleted and the torture of the last three days has been for naught (or for very little). Third lap. My legs are tired right at the start. And more tired when I hit the wind. I’m starting to hope that I won’t be able to finish this one, but when I’m out of the wind things get easier and I finish in 6:28(91%) again. One more trot round the loop, and then back home. Now it all feels very easy. Much better than I felt on Monday, even though I’ve worked harder. Did something go wrong?

Home. And carbs.

Giants past

April 12, 2010

Less than three weeks to my race day now.

I thought I would look at past races. Maggie suggested that I might win it, which seemed unlikely to me (but kind of her). I went and looked at the old results. As I suspected, no real chance of winning: the slowest race was won with a time of 2:50:00 — too fast for me.

Looking at the results is rather depressing. Winning times have been getting slower over the years. In 1973 the winner finished in 2:17:43, and all through the ’70s the winners were comfortably under 2:25:00. In the 80s all the winners were under 2:36:00. In the 90s again under 2:35:00. But in the last decade, the fastest time was 2:35:30, and most winners were in the 2:40s, except for the one at 2:50:00.

How on earth did we get 30 minutes slower over the last 40 years?

I suppose the there are two likely explanations: 1) US runners have declined a bit and 2) there are now a lot more races, some of which have more prestige (money) attached, and the good runners go elsewhere.

(And checking from Maggie’s perspective — in 2007 the womens’ winner finished in 3:17:08 — Maggie might have won that year, she would have more of a chance than I).

If all goes well, I hope to finish between 2:55 and 3:00. Looking at the winners isn’t really significant. What is the competition like between those times? So I built myself a little table of the last decade

If I finish at these times,
what place will I be?
2:55:00 2:57:30 3:00:00
2009: 4 4 5
2008: 6 6 6
2007: 3 4 4
2006: 3 3 7
2005: 2 2 3
2004: 5 5 7
2003: 6 6 7
2002: 8 12 13
2001: 9 12 13

So — I guess I can hope for second place, but will probably be around 5th or 6th. Again it looks as though there is a decided decline in good (Mmmm. perhaps that’s extreme, in mediocre) runners over the last decade.

Is this good for me? Or not? On the plus side — well, it would be kind of neat to finish in the top three… but on the minus side — I’ll be out there mostly alone, there is unlikely to be anyone running at my pace, so I’ll probably go more slowly than I would if there were competition…

Still, I might be able to see someone ahead on a long straight stretch. That might help…

Waiting is hard. Three weeks to go.


April 9, 2010

I’m sure something will go wrong. I have never been able to train for and run a good road marathon. Nothing serious has happened yet, but there are three weeks still to go.

It will probably be my shin splints. I thought I’d gotten over them when I was just running on the trails, but they came right back when I started training on the road again. Each time I do a hard road run they let me know. They don’t like that. It hurts for several days thereafter. Slowly they calm down, and then I do another hard run. I think they are getting slightly worse from week to week. Tapering soon. But will that calm them down? And even if they get calm, will they last through 26 miles of running hard?

Then I see Jill and Maggie have troubles with their legs. Maggie injured with 4 weeks to go, Jill with 3. Their marathon is two weeks before mine, and now time has marched on to the point that I’m right about where they got injured. So will I get injured tomorrow? Will my shins get really bad and not be able to recover?

And there’s the old fallback of just hitting the wall, running out of energy. I’ve only hit the wall once in a marathon, but it was the race I was running fastest and thought I might actually do well in — ie. what I’m hope for this race.


Poor Eeyore.

(Pictures of Eeyore by Ernest Shepard from The House at Pooh Corner)