Monday, February 21, 2011

Two second-bests (USATF-NE)

(Results) This was the race where I was going to break 5:00 in the mile. I prepared for it all week, and I made sure I was as ready as possible to do the best I possibly could. However, things did not go the way I had planned them out; the race got away from me, and I ended up running 5:11.69. If I had not had a breakthrough race at Terrier, then this would have been a slight PR, but because I ran so well at Terrier, I had hoped that I could do much better than this. Under 5:00, even. But it was not to be.

I followed my plan of sticking behind my teammates who were sure to run a few seconds under 5:00 in the mile. We went through 1/4 mile in 73.4 and I stuck right behind them. Then we went through three laps in 1:53 and I knew something was not right. When we went through 1/2 mile in 2:31.6 (thank you, time clock, for having tenths) I was totally off of my plan. That was more than 2:30, therefore more than 5:00. NOT part of the plan. I didn't want to pass my teammates on the outside, so I stuck behind them and slowed down for the next four laps. My legs were just not giving me any power. My last lap was a 40. It was not pretty. Of course, I can say "I felt terrible and I still ran 5:11!" but I would much rather feel great and run fast than feel bad and run a moderately acceptable time.

This was the fifth weekend in a row that I raced, and I just have to acknowledge that racing many weeks in a row is not a recipe for success, at least for me. I should have learned this in the fall, when I had 3-4 weeks without a race and then ran a 41-second 5k PR in the JCC race. The lesson should have been underscored a few weeks later at the Tufts 10k, which was my fourth race in five weeks, in which I felt awful. So I am going to try to plan out my racing schedule better for the spring and the rest of the year, and have my goal races follow a good training block, rather than after a bunch of other races.

I doubled back in the 800, but someone entered my seed time as 2:34 instead of 2:24, so I was in the last section. I ran 2:24.95, with splits of 70-75 or maybe 71-74 depending on how you take the 440-yard track into account. My PR is 2:24.74, so this is very close to my PR (which I also ran as a double). It was basically a time trial; because I was in the slowest section, I was 10 seconds ahead of second place, and I even lapped someone on the final turn. As one of my friends indelicately put it -- "You weren't in the fast section; you were in the FAT section!" Sad, but true. At least it makes for good stories to tell later.

Unfortunately, 2:24.95 is a 0.79903 performance index, falling short of my goal of 0.8. Well, my streak of 0.8s had to stop sometime. It would have happened on a long distance event anyway (my 1:26 half marathon is only 0.77) and 0.799 is very close to 0.8. My teammates were kidding with me about breaking my streak of PRs -- and they're right, you can't PR every race, certainly not if you do a lot of races, especially five weeks in a row.

Now I will try to get in a good training block before outdoor track starts, and do my best to rein in my desire to do road races just to win money. That's so 2010.


Caitlyn Clark said...

Very hard to come back from a 2:31. I've never negative split in the mile (unless it was shamefully slow to begin with) I've evenly split 2:32/2:32... but never have come back with a faster second half.... unfortunately!

I'm planning on doing New Bedford (more as a support person for a teammate until I crumble... then I'll just hang in there for the rest... I haven't trained properly for a 1/2) and then I plan on doing the 10k on the track for those twilight meets. I've never done a serious 10k, so I should finally get a PR!!

RB said...

Just came across this in the Galloway book, thought it might be relevant to you:

How Much Rest After Races? Jack Foster believes you need one easy day for each mile of a race. The sustained drain of a race takes its toll. You shouldn't run another race or do speedwork until you have served your time according to "Foster's Rule." You could run a speed workout or race eight or more days after a 10K race, but no hard work should be attempted for 3-4 weeks after a marathon. No race should be run the weekend after a race longer than four miles. I've found that most runners should limit their race miles to 13 each month. This means you can run two 10K's, or two 5K's and a 10K, or a half-marathon each month - maximum.

(Sorry for posting the unsolicited advice, I just hope you don't wear yourself out.)