Friday, May 23, 2008

Cleveland Marathon & Mohican 100 observations

Above: Me at Cleveland after finishng with a 2:58.

Man, my recovery from last Sunday's Cleveland Marathon has been slow and frustrating. It just seems to me that I should be feeling better than I do now. My legs are tired, dead and still a little sore. Maybe it's a lack of sufficient sleep, though for most of the week I've been able to get 7 hours each night. I got only about 4 hours on Tuesday night. Perhaps that did me in.

Maybe my slow recovery is also the result of coming back from Cleveland too fast. This week I'm looking to log 70-75 miles. I'm so focused on the Mohican 100 now that I felt a week of reduced miles, which would follow two taper weeks for the marathon, would be detrimental to my Mohican conditioning. I'm not looking to finish Mohican; I'm looking to go under 19 hours, which would put me in contention. There will be some very good ultrarunners out there that day. I know former Mohican winner Steve G. will out there. Vince K. may also be there. Who knows who else will be there. The field will be formidable, and I intend to go hard and set an aggressive tone.

Back to the Cleveland Marathon, as I have some observations arising from a lot of thought about the race this week. I'm very proud of the fact that I went sub-3, especially nine days after the birth of our son, Noah. A 2:58 is a solid time. But what I'm most proud of is how I ran the race--with consistency and strength. I remained in the 6:40-6:50 zone the entire way, finishing the race in that zone. My half splits were virtually identical, with my second half being a few seconds faster than my first half for my first-ever negative split. Even when I began hurting at mile 20, I never wavered and my strength, which I consider to be a major advantage I have over many other runners, was there for me every step of the way. All of that said, I am man-enough to admit that I owe a great deal to Paul R. and especially Jeff U. The three of us kept each other going strong when we were down on the lake and Shoreway, which is the hardest section.

I think that with continued focus I could potentially go sub-2:55 in the fall. This will require not only continued high mileage, but also ongoing track and tempo workouts through and beyond Mohican. Realistically, I'll need July to recover from the 100-miler, but then I'll need to get in some aggressive tempo and track workouts in August and September. If I do the Burning River 100, my fall marathon may suffer as a result. We'll see....

Now back to Mohican. My goal is 70-75 easy/recovery miles this week with potentially Sunday's Blossom Time Festival 5.25-mile race here in my own backyard, 80-90 semi-aggressive miles next week, and hopefully 90+ high-quality miles the week of June 2-8. My mileage would be much higher if I didn't have other more pressing priorities, such as a baby! If I am unable to hit, or come really close, to those goals, or if my sleep still isn't where it should be (the current amount of sleep I'm getting just ain't cutting it in terms of 100-miler training), I will back out of Mohican and look to the Burning River 100. I simply will not race in a 100 miler unless I feel I am in good-enough condition mentally and physically to contend. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. I want to run Mohican.

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