Well, I posted my initial impressions of the race on Sunday while still in a haze/funk of loafing around the house after the race. Yes, once getting home from the race on Saturday I didn't leave the house other than to get the mail until Monday morning. Since then I've had some other thoughts that I'd like to share. The first thing is that I have realized that this race was a tipping point for me. It has pushed me over the edge to the side of over training. Monday evening I did an easy run of about an hour. The run felt fine, but I was a little surprised at how low my heart rate was. I wear a heart rate monitor for pretty much every run and though I don't use it as the key to my effort I have learned what to expect from different intensities of running. This run was easily 5-10 bpm lower than it should have been. I'm not good at running a true recovery pace so I played this off as having finally figured out how to run that easy on my own. This morning I dragged myself out of bed early to do some tempo intervals. I ran Waterton Canyon to attempt to simulate the course for Deadwood Mickelson where I am hoping to peak my training. I don't think that I've ever had a good run in this canyon, but this one wasn't starting too bad. The problem was that even though I was running a pretty good pace considering the slight uphill grade my heart rate was again 5-10 bpm lower than it should have been. It is a little difficult to compare this tempo run with Wash Park where I have been running tempo, but I could tell that I was going about as hard as I could for the length of the interval so I don't think that the poor thing would pump any faster. Some people may say "Great I must be in really good shape to have such a low HR at a given intensity", but I trust Neal Henderson once told a story about a cyclist that showed this phenomenon just prior to a big race. The cyclist thought he was going to have the best race of his life, but Neal told him that he would probably not finish the race. Guess what, he didn't finish the race. This low HR is a sign of over training. It is the body's way of saying "wait a minute, I need a break so I'm not going to let you work any harder. I knew this was my issue, but I tried one more just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I decided that I'd just take the rest of week off from hard workouts. Well, the second one was the same thing, I finished fine at almost the same pace. The 3rd and 4th were supposed to be back down the canyon to the start, but as soon as I started the 3rd one I knew I was done. My legs just didn't want to carry me quite that fast. I was able to comfortably jog all the way back, I didn't bonk in any way, but who knows what would have happened if I had tried to complete that 3rd interval.
So, back to the race and what I think happened. I think that I've been slacking off on my long runs. I haven't run anywhere close to 3 hours in months and this race took me 3:24 to finish. My body just wasn't ready for that. Luckily I've still got plenty of time before Deadwood. I just need to figure out the best way to get my body out of over training mode and at the same time make sure I'm prepared for Deadwood. I'm starting with a massage tonight then I'm going to a talk given by Neal Henderson and I'll see if I can ask him for some advice. I'm still planning on running SDU this weekend no matter what, but my race strategy may vary based on what I hear tonight an how the rest of this week goes.
Having very aggressive performance goals is very hard to balance with trying to run many races for the TRM Trophy Series. I think that something is going to have to give, I'll try my best to make sure it isn't my body that gives first.