So, I basically gave myself two days to wallow in self pity and be pissed off about my performance at the Colorado Marathon on Sunday. That two days has expired and, believe me, I did a lot of thinking/analyzing while trying to figure out what in the hell went wrong. Everything in my training, from the 80-100 mile weeks to the massive 10K PR, indicated that I was primed to not only run a 3:10, but actually as fast as 3:04. I got a 3:18. WTF!!?? Here's what I've come up with:
I just didn't feel right from the beginning of the race. I think this relates directly to how I felt the few days leading up to the race. I had been trying to ignore a sore throat for at least three days before the race. I can't say for certain that it affected my performance, but I guess it probably didn't help. Also, the last two days before the race, I had also been trying to ignore some nasal congestion. Again, at the time, I didn't feel like it was affecting my performance, but it probably wasn't helping. Then there was my stomach. I don't know why it felt the way it did during the race because I followed the same pre-race nutrition plan I have for the last 18 weeks of training, but something was definitely up. I have, in the past, had issues with energy gels upsetting my digestive tract and forcing portapotty stops, but my digestive system started revolting on Sunday by mile 3, two full miles before I ate my first Hammer Gel. And, after I did eat a Hammer Gel at mile 5 (and again at miles 10, 15 and 20), the stomach/digestive issues didn't get worse, which indicates to me that there was some other underlying problem. This theory seems to be supported by the fact that my stomach was not happy with me for two full days after the race; I would get hungry and eat, but couldn't eat much before I started feeling slightly sick. I won't go into detail about the experiences I had while sitting on the throne during those two days....I'll just say that it wasn't pleasant. So, I guess if you add all that stuff up along with the pounding my legs were taking on the downhill course, you end up with a 3:18 instead of a 3:10 (or faster).
So, what now? Well, I went for my first post-marathon run yesterday morning. Actually, calling it a "run" is being pretty generous. It was more like a stiff-legged hobble to start out and then eventually progressed to something somewhat resembling a run. For the most part, my legs feel good, but my quads have been in absolute revolt until today. They actually feel pretty decent today and for the first time I feel like I can stand up and walk around without having to actually think about it. Good thing, cuz I've got just over 4 weeks until my next marathon (and then 6 weeks until my next one after that....no rest for the wicked). I'll be running the Deadwood-Mickelson Trail Marathon on June 8 with a friend from Eugene. I don't have any grand plans for DMTM; the course isn't really conducive to a PR or BQ what with it's 13.1 miles of constant uphill followed by 13.1 miles of constant downhill. I'm just running this one for fun (that's right, marathoning can be fun....unlike at Colorado....oops, I'm supposed to stop dwelling on that). After that, it's on to Missoula on July 13. I don't know what my plans for Missoula are, but I would like to have a stronger race there than I did last year, when I almost literally melted in the 80 degree heat over the last 8 miles. Hopefully Mother Nature is more cooperative this year, but if you've read this blog at all, you know my feelings about the odds of that happening. I am absolutely itching to get out and race right now. Colorado, PR or not, left a bad taste in my mouth and I want to wash it away in a bad way. It's like I just got out of a bad relationship and need to find something on the rebound, if you know what I mean;).
Further fueling my itch to get out and run is the fact that I got an early birthday present (I turn the big 3-0 on the 23rd, for those of you not in the know) in the mail yesterday. Last week, I got an REI catalog in the mail and noticed that they had the Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS unit on sale for 44% off, by far the cheapest I've ever found it. I've been wanting a Forerunner for a long time and finally decided to take the plunge and get one. So, for those of you out there who were planning on sending me money for my birthday, thank you; it's been spent:). Even though today is supposed to be a rest day according to my recovery plan, I'm having a hard time not trying it out. No longer will I be confined to routes where I know the mileage ahead of time; the Forerunner will basically allow me to run wherever I want to as it tracks my mileage, pace, calories burned, and heart rate for me. I'm really looking forward to using the heart rate monitor feature, which I think will allow me to train much more efficiently by staying within certain heart rate zones for different workouts.
So, there you have it. I'm moving on with my life and shifting my focus to Deadwood, Missoula and beyond. From here on out, slap me upside the head if you read any bitching about Colorado;).