My finish time for this morning's RunRio2 21k summed up my performance or should I say, non-performance. Before today my personal worst at 21k was at the Milo Finals last year wherein I clocked in at 2:41.
Obviously, today was worse.
The plan was to "chillax" my pace at 6:40-7:00 mpk ---the same marathon pace that I've set for Milo full-mary this July. It was a race-simulation of sorts for Milo such that I hoped to memorize the pace and train my body to maintain it for 21k. Extending it to another 21k might help me finish at my target sub-5 hour marathon debut.
The first 10km was ok as I timed 1:12, a little off the 7 mpk target pace but still alright. I started walking after that (approaching 5th avenue towards Lawton). It was pretty much run-walk-walk until the finish, with my 305 beeping ridiculous paces of 9, 10, even 11 mpk!?!?! Thoughts going thru my head included delaying my full-marathon debut to next year instead, much reinforced by Baldrunner's post last week on when to start running 42k's as I recalled.
Yup, it's a race that I want to forget. But I can't.
I sight several reasons for this morning's dismal performance:
1. Undertrained. Despite having a 12-week marathon plan to follow, the last 2 weeks have been wanting in terms of mileage. Last weekend was supposed to be a 15k race but it got canceled. I only have to blame myself as most of my planned weekday runs, tempos, and intervals were not followed. I paid for it dearly as I ran-walked this hilly course. To top it all, my planned 32k long run for the day was scrapped as I was severely demoralized by the time I reached home, supposedly to complete the remaining 9k (I had a 1k warmup and 1k cooldown pre and post-race).
2. No carbo? I didn't pack up on carbo the week before the race. I may have gotten overconfident since my last 21k was 2:18 (RunRio1) so I thought that today's race should be a walk in the park. Well, literally, it WAS a walk in the park and more.
3. The shoes. This is the 1st time I used my Asics Gel Foundation 8 for a 21k race. When I removed my shoes after the race, the shoes felt extra heavy. It may have been the water that I've splashed all over me when I stopped at the water stations dripping to my shoes. The shoes were DEFINITELY heavy by km13 onwards. I should've put on my ever-reliable Adidas Response Stability instead which were much (much!) lighter. From hereon, probably I'll be using my Asics for easy short runs only (8kms and below) and NOT for racing. Time to buy new shoes? (evil grin)
4. Burnout? I hope not. The long runs in my training plan have been horrendous since I often found myself walk-running in the end. Today's race just reflected it more. The training plan had somehow turned me into a robot every morning to just follow the day's program and not have fun with it. It could be the pressure of joining my first marathon that's leaving the fun out of my runs.
This morning's race was an awakening of sorts for me. Everyone has bad days, yes, but I couldn't believe it would be THAT bad at all. On the side, well it was good to know that Josh Cox had a bad day at Comrades today as well: he walked 14k due to cramps brought about by diarrhea-dehydration.
The coming days will be reflection time for me. Should I continue to train for Milo knowing that my long runs for these previous weeks have been below par? Or should I just scrap the plan for next year instead since there'll be a lot of marathons coming my way anyway?
I'll let you guys know soon.