Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Don't Get It

OK, smart running people, help me out.

Tonight was week 5 of the trail running series. With the rain and fallen leaves, the first mile of the course was full on sketchy. I really had to dial it back through all that single track. The result was a 9:24 first mile. Slow, slow, slow. But, I stayed upright and no turned ankles, which was key. I really worked hard once I got off of the single track. Really hard. Final time was 25:28. That works out to 6:58 per mile over the final 2.3 miles. (I know, 3.3 miles is a strange distance, but work with me here.) Here's the thing: the 6:58 average was brutally painful. On Monday, my 21st mile was a 7:30 and didn't hurt nearly as bad. Why is that? Am I at some weird anaerobic/lactate threshold? Am I a big wuss? Any ideas?

Whatever the answer is, I'm really happy with my effort today. Really happy. If the first half wasn't so sketchy and the rest of the course wasn't so soft from the rain, I'm pretty confident I would have gone under 25, which would be pretty solid on this course. Best of all, I felt strong. I was able to really dig for a little extra. Even felt smooth on the cool down. Overall, a good day.

I'm going to introduce a new feature here at Snowman Says: The PF Factor. Each day I post, I'm going to rate the badness of the plantar fasciitis on a scale of 0 to 5. 0 being no pain or discomfort. 5 being excruciating, unable to walk pain. That's the PF Factor.

Today's PF Factor: 1.
No pain at all today. Just a little tightness from time to time. Stretched the calves as much as possible. I didn't even notice or think about it while I was running. I paid special attention to how it felt when I started my cool down. I didn't feel it at all. Good stuff, and all systems go.

11 comments:

middle.professor said...

On your long run, you kept your pace well below the aerobic limit and could comfortably do this, literally, forever, if it weren't for the physical tearing on your lower limbs. 7:30 on the roads is probably not very aerobically taxing either, so kicking this out after a long run should be easy from the perspective of muscle physiology and even mental physiology (your brain recognizes that muscles aren't fatigued and O2 is not limiting heart and brain function) but maybe not so easy on the physical condition of your lower limb muscles and connective tissue (there will be tearing) and that part of mental physiology that knows you just ran 21 miles. 6:58 on a trail is probably much closer to your aerobic limit, especially given the compliant surface that absorbs energy and the steeper ascents that are common to trails and not roads. So, with less blood O2, your brain is saying, "whoaa, we're getting low O2 levels to the heart and brain so I'm going to make you feel "fatigued" so that you slow down". I didn't really matter what you ran before either time. Make sense?

Jeff

sn0m8n said...

Wow! That actually does make sense. It's good to know smart people! THANKS! But, it's also kind of depressing...does that mean that my aerobic threshold for a single mile is right around 6:58? In other words, can I only realistically expect to run in the neighborhood of 6:58 for mile on the track right now? Not that I'm planning on doing this, but that's...well, let's just say it's significantly off my PR.

Trail Monster Running said...

Here's the plan: After 4 beers at Novare Res we will all make our way down to Commercial Street where I will have marked out a 1 mile course. We'll have a little race and see what you can do. Jeff failed to mention the effects of alcohol on ones perception of speed!

sn0m8n said...

Chunder Mile!!!

Sparkplug said...

"Chunder Mile!!!"

Now that would be a good race for Ian to add to the TMR list of 2009 races :-)

Trail Monster Running said...

Perhaps you haven't heard of the Beast Run. First run on June 6th, 2006 (666) a bunch of Trail Monsters met at Jim's to run the trails behind his house. We each drank a beer, ran a 3/4 mile loop and repeated the process. Erik won that year with I think 9 laps/9 beers. In 2007 my friend Peter from Scotland won with 11 laps/11 beers. He was violently ill after the race but did not vomit during so he was not disqualified. Derek still has scars from the 2007 Beast Run. The "race" hasn't happened this year but it's not too late!

middle.professor said...

No! you could do a way faster track or road mile! But consider Ethan Hemphill - the current king of the road races in Maine. His 5K time on a flat course is usually just over 15 minutes, for example at the Eliot 5K in 2007:

15:08* 4:53 Ethan Hemphill

while 2 weeks later in the Craig Cup 5K XC at Twin Brook, his time was 26 seconds/mile slower!

Ethan Hemphill 151 35 M Freeport ME 16:29 5:19

So if we knock of 30s/mile (a good average for most runners) from the craig cup to a typical flat 5K, this would suggest you could race a 5K at a 6:28 pace (that's a 20:05 5K). at 20s/doubling distance this would suggest that you could race a 40K at 7:28/mile. Since you ran less than 40K at way slower than 7:28, the 7:30 should have been really easy and it was!

Just to check with McMillan running calculator (google it)...

A 20:05 5K is equivalent to a 2:27:00 20 miler, which is a 7:21 pace, so my quick and dirty calculate was conservative. But yeh, you should have felt great after the 7:30 mile following 20 miles and like shit after the 6:58/mi 2 miles on the trail (assuming it was like twin brook). And McMillan has your estimated time at 5:47.8. If you are much faster than this, it means you are not well trained for endurance (oops maybe I should have told you this after the MDI).

middle.professor said...

That's an estimated *mile* time of 5:47.8 (running only the mile on a track).

sn0m8n said...

Jeff - I think you just melted my frontal lobe. No, seriously, it makes a lot of sense. That being said, there's no way I'll be running 7:30's for the marathon. That's nuts. I may have to have a chat with Senor McMillian. Or I could try to run 7:30's, and we could all watch the hilarity ensue. But, what's interesting, if I take the best 2 miles of that 5k I just did and plug that time into the calculator, I get fairly close to what I think/hope I can do for the marathon. I didn't adjust for trail b/c 85% of the trail I ran on was carriage road. I've never run at Twin Brook, so I'm not sure what it would compare to.

sn0m8n said...

P.S. That running calculator is fascinating. I just plugged in my mile PR, which I consider the "best" of my PRs, and the results are interesting...really interesting. That being said, I ran that in college, and I'm a totally different person right now. If I ever get back to that kind of shape/speed/fitness, it would be amazing...and probably illegal.

middle.professor said...

College mile times don't count! Enjoyed the MDI read.