Saturday, May 10, 2008

Minor Confidence Boost

10.43 miles, 1:33:30, 8:57 pace, Max HR = 160, Avg HR = 131, 13% Z4, 55% Z3, 28% Z2

I have to classify today's long run as a success. I honestly started this run ready to call it quits at any minute, not knowing if I would be able to go one mile without the sensation that I could be causing long term damage to my Achilles. But I finished this run without anything other than minor discomfort, and that included a 7:36 pace over the last 2.22 miles.

This was the confidence boost I needed to roll into the Ogden Marathon in one week. I'm going to be ok.

I joined Stephanie and her group today, thanks to a piggyback invitation from Cory. Cory has battled his fair share of injuries this season, and it was nice to see him in good shape. Cory and I will be running the upcoming marathon together, and I'm hoping to help him have a breakout performance. We have several potential goals:
1) 3:20:00 -- This is Cory's Boston Qualifying Time (7:38 pace)
2) 3:29:45 -- This equates to exactly eight minute miles
3) 3:40:17 -- This time or better represents a PR for Cory (8:24 pace)

Cory will ultimately decide what our initial course of action will be. And between the two of us, I hope we collectively stick to our goal as the race unfolds.

As you may know, I have a tendency to be dramatic regarding running. Please allow me the following discourse. A Marathon is like a living being. You never know what you're going to get. You could be married to your spouse for fifty years, but you will never be able to completely predict subtleties in their mood change. Marathons also have their moods: weather, course conditions, how that pre-race bagel sits in your stomach, the degree of mental fortitude you have that day, your own emotions. You never know what kind of mood your marathon will present to you, and you never know when that mood will change. Like a marriage, the best you can do is to show respect and react appropriately. What's behind you is over, and what is in front of you means nothing if you don't properly handle the present. I don't know what our goal will be, but I do know that it has to be approached incrementally. I'll focus my energy on doing whatever is necessary for us to survive, one mile at a time.

You may interpret that preceding paragraph as experience. But if you've been reading my blog for long, you know that I lack experience as a runner. I try to offset that lack of experience through reading, asking questions of mentors, and practicing visualization. LSU's most successful baseball coach, Skip Bertman, is a big proponent of visualization, the act of mentally projecting yourself into a "game-day" situation.
A firm believer in visualization, he once told his players to lie down on the locker room floor before the first game of the year, close their eyes and use all five senses to imagine themselves standing in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

A body is only good for a limited amount of top-notch marathons. A batter has a limited amount of opportunities to face the star pitcher of the league. An executive has limited number of times in front of the board of directors. Everyone knows that "practice makes perfect", but there are numerous studies which say that visualization is nearly as effective when additional practice is impractical.

The next time you race, picture yourself along the course. Mentally rehearse how you will handle and overcome expected and unexpected obstacles. Think about your pacing strategy, think about your clothing, think about others who have done this before you. Imagine how strong you feel as the miles roll by. Embrace the crowd's support, raise your hands as you cross the line, rehearse what you will say to your loved ones once you finish.

You can't compete in a marathon every day, but you can certainly visualize the competition on a daily basis.

Specifics about this run:
1) We took three breaks, totalling about 5 minutes which has been backed out of the average pace and time listed at the top of the page.
2) I ran in a comfortable Zone 2 & 3 until Cory and I picked it up to marathon pace for the last couple of miles.
3) River Oaks has nearly as much street construction as the Heights.
4) 8:54, 9:09, 8:53, 8:24, 8:25, 8:29, 8:26, 8:39, 7:31, 7:41, 1:41 (.22 miles
7:39 pace)

It was good to run again.

TDLY - 5/10/07 - Run Home From Downtown, 5.19 miles, 49:59, 9:38 pace, Max HR = 162, Avg HR = 139. I think this was my first destination run, meaning that I ended up some place other than where I started. I met Cory after work and watched him run a 5K downtown. After the race I meandered through downtown and midtown to get home, stopping for some hills along the way at the Miller Outdoor Ampitheater. I loaned my Garmin to Cory for this race, and he got one shortly thereafter. Blog Entry Last Year.

No comments: