Today’s marathon training was a 20-mile endurance run, with some targeted heart-rate work for a main set. I got up early to eat, and to watch Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan in the Olympic Marathon. On that tough and rainy course, Shalane finished 10th, and Kara finished 11th, not far from the leader. It was a solid showing by both of them, though I know they were both hoping for more. Their effort was absolutely inspiring.
So, I headed out the door a little later than I probably should have…8am. It was still cool, just 68-degrees, but I knew I’d pay for it later when it started to get hot. Boy was I right. It reached 80-degrees pretty quickly, and the course I had chosen was very exposed.
Nonetheless, I had an easy time hitting my target heart-rate zones for the first half, with decent paces around 10-min/mi., and a bit faster for the 8-mile set of zone-3 heart rate work. It was after that set that I sunk into a funk.
I had trouble getting my heart-rate back down to zone-2 for the remaining miles, even with some very, very slow jogging. At several points, I slowed it down to a brisk walk to get my heart-rate down to zone 2. It was weird. I wasn’t hurting very much, or breathing heavily, just experiencing some significant cardiac-drift. Maybe it was the heat, or the hills, or stress for this upcoming week of work. I don’t know. But, I stayed committed to my target-zones, despite the drastic addition of time to finish up.
As a result, my run lasted a painful 4-hours, with my last 5-mile splits all in a mind-numbing 12 to 14-min/mi. pace. It was a slog in the heat. Almost 12-hours later now, and I still feel pretty thrashed.
The positive point in this is that I had zero pain or discomfort in my Achilles, which has been nagging me for several weeks. However, it’s overshadowed by the big hit to my confidence. How am I possibly going to run a 3:15 marathon in a month if a 20-miler today took me 4-hours?