This first week of my McMillan training plan for the LA marathon looked fairly reasonable. All of the workouts, on paper, appeared to be things I could do. The total mileage looked roughly in line with what I'd been doing prior to the Phoenix Rock 'n Roll. I wasn't particularly concerned.
Uh huh. Well, looks can be deceiving and this week kicked my ass.
Monday was a scheduled rest day and I did a couple of miles of light walking at elevation at the Grand Canyon.
Tuesday called for a 30-40 minute recovery run. I opted for 31:31 to close out 3.01 miles at an average pace of 10:29. For some reason, anything less than 3 miles just doesn't feel like a run to me.
Wednesday, I moved the scheduled workouts around because my life started to get in the way. For my second non-running day of the week, I opted into some super easy cross-training with a quick trip to the gym before date night: 11 minutes rowing, 10 minutes recumbant bike. Yes, you read that correctly: 21 full minutes of cross-training. All I can say is that without the schedule forcing me to do it, I wouldn't have fit anything in. So while 21 minutes is pretty lame, it's not quite as lame as zero. In hindsight, leaving the non-running cross day in its original spot on Friday might have been a good idea.
Thursday, I did my weekly afternoon run with a friend who's a mentor for TNT. She has an obligation to "host" a run each week, and I join her. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), none of the TNT folks usually show up. So it's typically just us. This week, we did 5.61 miles in 53:06, for an average pace of 9:29. My schedule originally called for 40-50 minutes, but I figured the extra 3 minutes couldn't really matter too much.
Friday, I met H at our usual spot and we busted out the scheduled fartlek. Holy crap, this workout was much harder than it looked on paper. 15-20 minute jogging w/u; 5-6 X 3 min @ 8:15/mile w/1:30 jogging recovery; 15 minute c/d. Looked difficult, but doable. In truth, I'm not sure I could have done it. We settled on 5, not 6, and added some extra recovery for a bathroom break and a longer jogging interval after one of the speed segments. Even with those modifications, one of the 3 minute segments just didn't want to go faster than 8:30. This is definitely one of the harder workouts I've done in a long time and yet it totaled 5.66 miles in 58:18 -- an average pace of 10:18. So deceiving. It was at least twice as hard as those numbers would make it seem.
Saturday, the schedule called for a 30-40 minute recovery run. I waited 'til the evening and ran with E. 3.08 in 30:00.58 @ 9:45. Yeah, I hit it, but *nothing* more. I was tired.
Sunday, the schedule called for 16-20 miles. Yikes! I hadn't done anything that long since CIM. H agreed to join me and we decided to do a very easy 16. I planned a loop that had almost no climb to speak of, just a few small rolling hills and an easy rolling 200 ft climb from miles 8 - 12.5 and then back down for the final 3.5 miles. The weather was nice and cool, and I thought I should be able to keep an average pace of 10:00/mile without too much trouble. After last weekend's race at 9:10 and the prior weekend's easy 10 miler at 9:39, I figured 10ish was a good target pace.
Saturday's fatigue should have clued me in a bit. H and I started out by effort and were both surprised to see miles 1-3 click by on the flat bay trail in a descending pace despite even effort: 10:12, 10:28, 10:34.
Okay, fine. I reassessed. Humbling, but I guess I'd have to try pretty hard just to keep it below 10:40. So that's what I tried to do.
We managed to do so for the next 3 miles, but with a ridiculous amount of effort. How could 10:40 be so difficult when just last week I'd managed 9:10? H and I discussed that Friday's fartlek must have *really* taken it out of us. I decided that this new training schedule plus recovering from the race is no joke. I also realized that perhaps moving the workouts around and the 3 extra minutes above and beyond the high end of the scheduled range on Thursday may have been a bad plan.
On mile 8, there are a few bridges with reasonable sharp climbs and drops, and sure enough, we clocked in even slower with a 10:47. For mile 9, the steepest part of the climb, we slowed to 11:00. I was very surprised. The weather was wonderfully cool. I was hydrated, had gu, didn't have any stomach issues, and yet, despite putting in quite a bit of effort, I just couldn't seem to pick up the pace.
Finally, I made a deal with myself, I'd keep it below 11:00/mile 'til the end of the climb to the water fountain at mile 11, then I could stop and fill my bottle and recover a bit before doing my best to finish the climb and the descent as best I could. I managed, but barely.
On the descent, I picked up the pace as best I could and finished the final mile in 9:56.
In the end, I finished 16.01 in 2:49:19 for an average pace of 10:35. Nothing close to what I thought I'd be able to do, but I'm proud of it nonetheless. This effort was huge on the mental side and I kept pushing for the entire run. I didn't stop to walk once (not even when taking my gus) and only stopped to fill my water bottle at the fountains and for a couple of stoplights.
Total mileage for the week: 36.95. Highest for the year and it's only going up from here.
Here's to hoping next weekend's long run is *much* *much* easier since I won't be moving the workouts around.