Monday, August 11, 2008

Few Thrills on the Hills

While I continue to feel "okay", my 15.5-miler yesterday was not a great run. The weather was nice enough yesterday morning, at least in comparison to what we've been having. It was sunny and in the mid-70's, but one forgets that that's still pretty darned warm for distance running. I also chose a route that had some very "scenic" elements, and - as I've noted before - views mean hills. I averaged about a 9:30 pace, not bad considering the terrain, but I had to stop about 5 times during the run. Three of those were opportunistic stops, because I ran into people I knew (2 colleagues out cycling and a running friend driving by). I was happy for the excuse to stop to talk to them. Other than going up the longest hill I've run in my area (a mile-plus-long strenuous climb), I'm not sure what's up. My HR was in control, and I was otherwise pain-free. There is still some lingering tightness in my hips and back, but it didn't seem to affect my gait.

What I fear is that I've lost some of the mental edge I'd begun to develop when training was really clicking. Every distance runner knows that the mental element is an enormous factor in successful performance, and I'm wondering whether the physiological backslide has dragged my mental fitness down with it. I don't know, but I think I will need to figure out how to train my mind along with my body in order to be able to run an optimal race.

I have enlisted the help of a coach, informally for now, whom I've "met" through the RW Forums. He's an accomplished marathoner himself, and I think I'm at the point in my running "career" where I need a learned advisor to help me sort through all of the book knowledge which I have acquired. I understand training principles, but have had a tough time applying them to myself in an effective way. Hopefully getting a professional opinion will help.

The schedule includes 9-10 miles tomorrow morning, 4-5 easy on the trails on Wednesday, showing a friend who is new to the neighborhood where to run and a the big corporate 5K race on Thursday, where I still think I may be able to go sub-20:00.

Finally, this week holds a visit to the chiropractor tomorrow and PT on Wednesday. I'll have to be extra careful at the office softball game tomorrow to make sure I don't do something stupid and up hurt again.


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