Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gone With The Wind

This morning I got up early to do a 3 mile goal-pace run per Hal Higdon's intermediate half marathon plan.  For the first time ever, I have been incorporating structured speed work into my training with the hopes of breaking two hours in the half marathon.  It's a sad and sordid story, but my current half marathon PR is 2:00.04.  Yes, I missed personal running glory by 5 lousy seconds.  This was a couple of years ago and I'm sure later I will elaborate on how I somehow pulled this almost sub-2 hour performance out of a hat and have no clue how it happened.  But the thing about coming so close is that you realize it's possible and I've been thinking about going after that goal ever since.

I had to put it on the back-burners for a few years as I was concentrating on my best imitation of an endurance tortoise.  But with a good base after doing Goofy and Napa I decided I was ready to kick it up a notch.  I've been doing a modified version of Higdon's plan.  I have been trying to follow his prescription of intervals, tempo, and goal-pace runs since I really have no clue how these things should be utilized.  

I have definitely seen gains in my running pace.  An easy pace for me used to be in the high 10:00's during Goofy training and now I'm back down in the high 9:00's to low 10:00's which I consider to be my average plodding pace.  However, I still consider a sustained 9:00 min/mile effort to be more of a 10K effort vs. a half marathon effort at this point.  

So this morning I figured I could rattle off three 9:00 miles with some effort, but hopefully nothing too painful.  I do most of my pre-work early runs on a bike path along the beach.  The unfortunate side-effect of this is that the area can be very windy.  Since it is a straight bike path you generally get a glorious tailwind in one direction and a nasty headwind in the other.

I got out of my car and was blasted by wind.  Wonderful.  I took off running south to warm up for a bit.  The wind was at my back and I felt good.  Garmin reports I did a 9:58 pace for my warm-up period.  Then I turned north into the wind to start the 9:00's.  Thinking back I should have planned a little better.  Maybe warm-up into the wind so I could start the pick-up with the wind at my back.  At any rate, the wind was kicking something fierce today.  It wasn't just gusting every now and then, it was a constant tirade with butt-kicking gusts thrown in for good measure.  I was really trying to up my pace and Garmin said I did that first 0.5 mile of the pick-up into the wind at a 9:50.  Umm...okay, I was just plodding along not even trying and hit a 9:58, and now I'm pushing really hard and you say I did a 9:50?!

Let me officially declare that I HATE RUNNING INTO THE WIND.  I kept up the effort for probably 0.25 miles more and threw in the towel.  I just didn't have it in me this morning.  I probably should have given it a perceived 9:00 effort and told Garmin to shove it where the sun don't shine but I didn't.  I pulled back to a comfortable pace and decided to run 4 miles easy.  Well, it didn't feel all that easy because half the run I was fighting GOD.  I believe this was the last goal-pace run of the training program and it obviously did not go well.  Oh, Wind, I shake my fist at you!

1 comment:

bunnygirl said...

We've been having a lot of wind here too, lately. Running in it sucks, but not as bad as cycling. I guess that counts for something.