Monday, October 8, 2007

Trials and Tribulations

"A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he."
--Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

I have come to realize that breathing is an important part of running. Funny how that works. So when I get saddled with a bronchial infection that keeps me from taking deep breaths and sidelines me for almost two weeks leading up to a marathon, I shouldn't have expected much good from my first run back.

The training schedule called for a 10-mile run a week out from the race (never mind that I missed a 15, 8, many others). So my hope was to run it fairly easy in 90 minutes for 9-minute miles.

I got out the door at about 3:20pm or so and ran to Baileys Neck (on Oxford Road) and back. My legs felt fine and went out at their normal pace, trying to keep it slow to assess where I was after such a long layoff. I hit my 2-mile mark faster than normal, and ended up hitting the halfway point on pace in 44:10. The problem: things were going downhill fast.

My legs always felt great. But I had NO breath. My doctor mentioned this as what would happen, and I had the same experience playing old-time baseball last week. I couldn't get a full breath anywhere and was literally running out of breath. I walked for 5 minutes after the turnaround, then ran until Waverly Road, walked for a couple minutes, then ran from the "downhill" to the other side of five-corners light, walked until Rails-to-Trails, ran to Brookletts Avenue, walked to Dover Road, then ran the rest of the way home. My time in the end was 1:39:44, so just shy of 10-minute miles, with a combined 12-15 minutes of walking counting towards that total. Frustrating is not the word for having your legs work fine, but your lungs not able to keep up.

So I'm in a bit of a dilemma. If the marathon were yesterday, I wouldn't have been able to finish, at least not likely. My thoughts of a PR are long past last call. And I am back to the point of wondering whether lungs and body are in shape to even finish this Saturday. In February, I was probably in my top endurance shape, certainly 4-hour marathon or better, and pushed through the hilly Holiday Lake 50K trails.

A lackluster training regimen and ill-timed bronchial infection later, it's reckoning time with running and health trials and tribulations. I am giving myself a few days and couple more runs to see where I am for the weekend. I'll let you know.

1 comment:

Stephen Bardsley said...

MV, my dad always called runs like that character builders. I had my own in the LBI 18 miler on sunday. Good luck sat.! At least we didnt die, like a couple others this weekend. It puts this running thing in perspective, you leave the family to go on a run, whats it worth not to return? Certainly not a metal or a pr. Be careful, and know yourself. later, stephen