Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A little lost and something gained

Last night, as Sonja continued to run with her clinic, I went out for my last true workout prior to Boston.  Meandering around Kits and the endowment lands of UBC, I spotted a trail and took it for a ride.  I have been on the road so much of later in preparation for the pounding of the Boston roads, that the idea of running on a trail was too inviting.  As I am fully in my taper now, everything is a little mixed up.  Science tells us that the training effect for any given stress (read: workout) on the body is at least 10-14 days.  I have read and heard that it could be longer, but I will defer to Yoda, coach extraordinaire, on that one.  This essentially means that any benefit I will get from any hard workouts I do at this time will arrive AFTER Boston.  However, if I do not do anything, if I do not stress my body at all, my body will not perform at its peak next Monday.  And here, dear readers, is the art of the taper.  How much can I do to not fatigue myself and yet stay sharp for race day?

Last night was to be a tempo run at marathon pace.  I had it all dialed in and knew the plan.  I went out, found this wonderful, easily runnable trail (Salish trail if you know that area) and ran it.  It was my first time on the trail and not wanting to get lost, I did not make any turns off to explore the other inviting trails.  No, I had a plan and wanted to stick by it.  Besides, I had to meet Sonja back at the car for the end of her run.  How can a simple out and back run go so wrong?

Well, first one has to find what looks like a kilometer post and then want to know exactly what pace one is running.  This post has to be just near the point at which you should turn around, half-way through the run.  One has to disregard the turnaround and follow the trail to find the next kilometer marker, knowing that it will only be about 3:45 to 4:00 minutes away.  After not finding the kilometer marker one must go a little further just to make sure.  After turning around one must make a wrong turn and follow that for a while, all the time wondering "Is this the right trail?"  Upon discovering that it is indeed not the correct trail, one must turn around and go back to the intersection where the wrong turn was made.  Then, following the bread-crumbs that one had left, one must run quickly back to the car because one's girlfriend has been done her workout for about 30 minutes.

And that, dear readers, is how you turn a simple out and back taper run into a long workout.  About 20 minutes too long.  BUT, the run felt smooth, if not good.  AND, I perform well in weeks where I have had some intensity.  ALSO, the trail felt so so good.  SO, in the end, I think everything will be just fine.

And to confirm that thought, I found out today that Brooks was able to send me a new pair of Burns for Boston.  I am pretty stoked about that and very appreciative that Kim at Brooks was able to pull that off on such short notice!
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