I'd have been pretty pleased with this run. A year ago.
But today, compared to the plan, both were failures.
It was a stark choice this morning. Swim with the big dogs, or swim with the floaties. I think I made the right choice, but the warm up was a bit brisker than usual. Maybe I went out too hard.
The main set started with 3 x 400. Hard, harder, hardest, or medium fast, fast, and fastest. Something like that. There was more, but there's no point talking about it. The actuality was:
First - my normal swim pace, except I nearly puked at the end. I didn't think I was going that hard.
Second - worked harder and went much slower, and I felt worse after. Pulled 200 m easy to get my mojo back, AND took the short rest the plan called for.
Third - thinking hard about stroke efficiency, and trying to swim very strong. That lasted 300 m and the wheels were falling off for the next 75 m, then I went strong the last 25m. The result was only a couple seconds faster than the first try. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to puke, but I wasn't feeling good about it. I've never swum into the wall so many times in one swim in my life. No, not the bonk wall. The wall of the pool. I wasn't pushing off very straight.
I did a couple hundred more easy pull, and got out of the pool at about the 40 minute mark. Tried some deep water running, but it's like I've forgotten how. I could barely make my arms and legs do the motion, and I was a couple inches deeper in the water than normal.
The run plan was another 2.5 hours. With some hills. I did not want to run the 5 K route like I've done before. It's much too easy to measure how much I slow down, and that depresses me, which makes things worse.
So I did a short warmup loop back to the house where I slurped some Nuun water, and stuffed some nutrition into my pockets along with a flask. The idea was to run a route that I'd never timed before, so I wouldn't know if I was slowing down. Or at least I wouldn't have stopwatch verification of it to the hundredth of a second. Then I'd try to arrange to get back to the house after an hour to refill, then go for another hour. I knew it would be hard to head out again, but still.
The first bit was fine, though a bit of a plod. At 32 minutes I picked it up and was running nicely for me. That lasted about 10 minutes till I was going down the hill into Fish Creek. My stride got away from me, and I never really got it back. Plodded around in Fish Creek for a while, then headed up and back to the house. Along the way, during a gentle downhill I picked it up and ran well again, till I pooped out and slowed down again. At no time was my heart rate particularly high, nor was my breathing ever out of control, but I couldn't make my legs go any faster. My peak heart rate was 131, and in a minute you'll understand where that happened. The average heart rate over the whole run was 119 bpm.
Then came the adventure. At 1:35 I tripped over a sidewalk slab and thought I was going down. All the following thoughts flashed through my brain:
- Oh shit, I'll be calling my dentist again.
- Do I twist onto my right side, possibly falling on my bad elbow,
- Or, do I twist onto my left side, possibly falling on my sore shoulder,
- Or do I try to tuck and roll, and jam the half full flask bottle into my kidney?
- How do I explain this to Linda?
Fortunately, my legs took two huge steps, and with a mighty spasm of the quads managed to retain my balance and get me mostly upright again. They are sore and tired now, but I'm very grateful.
That was it for me. I walked back to the house to stretch and shower. I've said it to myself a thousand times, "race smart, train smarter". I need to learn to run on tired legs, but I was stupid to push my tired legs that hard, even after having a day's rest. I've been dipping in and out of the fatigue well for the last little while, and it's no fun. My body doesn't believe taper is ever going to come.