First week over 40 miles this year? 40.55 including some walking? Why yes, I'll take it as the 2012 high water mark, thank you.
Today's US half (my 8th time starting this race in a row) plus additional mileage was instructive, and I think I have a good set of *reasonable* CIM goals now.
I seem to be struggling with gastrointestinal issues this year in a way I haven't in the past. It started in February with my enjoyable failure at the Kasier Half Marathon. Nothing traumatic on any occasion, but it's been happening on a semi-regular basis this year on long runs and races and when it does, it sure slows me down.
Today, I took a 5 minute bathroom break at the turn-around point at the Golden Gate bridge, including an extra 0.25 miles of jogging and questioning the non-English-speaking run volunteers for directions, which was super frustrating, because I knew Wei(4) and Jian(1) but I had forgotten the middle tone and syllable. Thankfully, after a while, repeating "toilet, please" and doing a suggestive dance seemed to do the trick. The silver lining is I doubt I'll forget wèishēngjiān (Mandarin for toilet) ever again.
I'm going to do some historical research to figure out what I'm doing that's different than in years past on my races and long runs, in terms of food. From what I've found so far, when I was younger, food just didn't matter. I mean, on my 31st birthday I did a Sub 2 half after a multi-course Italian dinner of celebration, pasta, cheese, truffles and wine. Ahhh... to be young again. This time, I struggled after a dinner of pasta pomodoro and non-alcoholic beer.
I do know that a lunch of a light salad and soup or a sandwich, with a bit of easily digestible protein and spicy broth-based noodle soup for dinner is probably the best pre-race option for me. I'll try to make that happen for CIM.
Today's long run was good. 1.5 miles easy jogging to the start. The Garmin claims the race was 13.38 @ 10:47 including a 5 minute pit stop and some slower hills and crowded aid stations. If I remove the pit stop it was 10:12/mile. Not bad at all since I reigned myself in because I knew I had several more miles at the end -- almost all of the running was at 10 min/mile or faster, including 4 miles at sub 9:45. My final miles were 0.5 jogged back to the hotel slow and then the remaining 3.65 on the treadmill as 1.5 miles @ 10 minutes/mile; bathroom break; 1 mile @ 10 minutes/mile; 0.15 walk; final 1 mile @ 10 min/mile. The 0.25 walk to and from brunch got me over 19.
All told, 19.23. Not the scheduled 20. But I feel very good about it. In particular, I was glad to do the last bit on the treadmill near the bathroom (because I needed it *again*) and because the TM is very helpful at forcing you to keep the pace. Also, I was sore enough to ice twice today (so far).
I understand that this race is quite lame compared to last year's 2:06 for the same race. But, I didn't *race* and it was much warmer (high of 79F vs. last year's high of 59F). Even so, there weren't any bridge construction slow downs or the extra hills at the turn around this year. The reality is, I am nowhere even *close* to the level of fitness I was at this point last year.
So, my new CIM goals are as follows:
1. Eat to avoid any race-day digestion issues.
2. Run an even or negative split race. I'm trying to decide between starting with the 4:10 group or the 4:25 group or going it alone somewhere in the middle. I'll likely have to decide this one closer to the actual race based on pacing for my last 20-miler and the remaining mid-length tempo runs.
Wish me luck.
Also, send good thoughts to those on the east coast recovering from Sandy. I was proud to be a runner while reading about how well the running community dealt with the news of NYC's marathon cancellation (despite the fact that it should have been announced earlier).