Monday, March 29, 2010

I get knocked down...but I get up Again!!

(Written Saturday 3/27)
This morning's run with Team Rogue was the final race prep before we head out to Boston in a short 3 weeks. Innocuously called "Race Prep #2", last year this same workout was called "The Soul Buster". And let me tell you, last year it Busted My Soul completely. I didn't hit any of my paces and couldn't even finish the workout. In short, it kicked my ass.

This year, I wanted some redemption. I've had a good week of running...somehow managing to put down 52 miles of running between Saturday and Thursday -- all on the correct paces and feeling pretty damn good about it. Not overly confident, but pretty good.

Today's workout was:

Miles 1-4: warm up

5-8: Marathon Goal Pace (8:01)

9-12: Marathon Goal Pace (8:01)

13-19: Recovery pace (some of that "recovery" on friendly roads called Redbud & Stratford!WTF!)

20-21: Marathon Goal Pace

22-23: Half Marathon Goal Pace (7:36)

24-25: 10K pace (7:11)

26-27: Cool down

Yea. There are no typos up there.

The 3:30 Train of Amadora, Paul and I chased Mrs. Speedy Nedra during our MGP miles and averaged 8:02! I'll take it!! We then put on some climbing gear and headed off to summit -- I mean, we "recovered" by tackling Redbud, Stratford and then some town lake trail action to get us back to the track for the closing section.

I was still feeling really good about the day so far. A SIGNIFICANT contrast to last year when I came (almost) crawling into the track after not even hitting my 8:34/M paces at any point.

But I was definitely feeling winded going into Mile 20. We headed off for our 2-miles at MGP and averaged 8:05. Not quite where I wanted to be, but close. Then came the 2-miles at half marathon pace. Legs were really starting to talk to me and I got through the first of those miles at 7:49. But the next mile, the wheels started coming off...well, not the physical ones -- the mental ones. I was just barely hanging on 400 by 400 and started slowing down. I came in after the second mile at 8:03.

At this point mentally I was like "That's it. I'm done. There's no way I can crank out 10k pace right now. I'm fried!!" I hit STOP on my Garmin and looked at Sisson and said, "That's all I've got Coach." He replied, "Walk a lap and then we'll talk about it."

I reluctantly started walking. The 3:30 Train had rolled through the station and I wasn't on it anymore. Dammit! Just then, Michael Wedel walked up next to me (Who had already finished his 26 miles) and started talking. I have no idea what he said during the first 200...but if you've ever run with Michael, that boy can just talk for hours and keep you entertained. It's awesome.

As we approached straightaway of that 400, I turned to Michael and said, "Sisson's not going to let me stop, is he?" Michael responded, "No fucking way." "Fine, let's go then." So we started running.

By the time I got to the 400m line, the remaining Team Roguers starting cheering and Sisson yells," I KNEW you weren't done! I KNEW IT! Alright, get it going Dionn. C'mon you can do it!!"

So we kept running....only 7 laps...if I could just make it around 7 laps....I can pull together 7 laps...yes, 7 laps I can do.

Michael stayed just a bit ahead of me, urging me just a bit faster at every turn and every straightaway. I had forgotten to start my watch again, but every lap I would take a peak. The first number I saw was 8:22. Ok, D -- let's get that number down just a bit on this lap. Next peak, 8:1x...I couldn't tell if it was an 11 or a 13...but I thought, who cares, we're getting faster.

Before you knew it, we'd clicked off one mile. Ok, D -- 1 mile to go. 4 little bitty laps around this freakin' track. You can do that. You can pull it together for one mile. Just one little mile.

We started the next 400 with Sisson cheering, "Let's Go Di-onn! clap--clap--clap,clap,clap!" The rest of the Roguers joined in. "Let's Go Di-onn! clap--clap--clap,clap,clap!"

C' a cheerleader, how can you NOT get fired up by that. HELLO!! We picked it up a little more.

4 laps to go turned to 3 laps to go. Starting the last 200, Michael says "we've only got one more to go after this." One more after this, I thought. Yes, I can do one more after this...let's close this bastard out! We picked up the pace.

The final 400 came and I'm not sure if I was just so excited to be almost done or what, but we started seriously cruising...I stretched out the stride and let if fly and came in the last 100 meters doing 7:05(ish -- according to Michael)!!!!


I wanted to puke or cry....or possibly both. But instead I just smiled and gave high fives to all the Team Roguers and supporters!! Sisson gave me two fist bumps and a pat on the back and said, "This workout owns you in your head for some reason. But now we know, if you get down -- you CAN get back up again!"

And he's right. There are going to be many, MANY times in races -- marathons and tri's alike -- where you are mentally just done. But I feel better knowing this year, I can at least get back up and keep going. If I need to take a lap or a couple 100 meters to regroup...fine. It doesn't have to mean the end -- like it did last year. Regroup, Refocus, Re-energize and get going!

Did I nail all of my paces with ease? No. But I was a whole hell of a lot closer this year with an even bigger stretch goal.

Did I fall apart mentally? Yes. BUT, I was able to pull it back together and keep going.

So, I give myself a B+ for the workout for nailing the MGP sets on the road, choosing the hill route and actually finishing the damn workout this time!

I would also like to award, Michael my Team Rogue MVP. Thanks for being an awesome friend and somehow cranking out more miles after you crushed your own. Dublin Dr. Peppers are on me, my friend.