I realized last night that I am finally beginning to feel as though I have turned the corner with trail running. Now that my body understands the pace and distance, I wish I had another month before the 50k to work on speed, core strength and trimming off a few more pounds.
It has taken me a long time time to change my attitude and feel comfortable running a slower pace. In the past, I would labor through a race side stepping the experience with only the goal of trying to finish as fast as I could. I guess it makes sense as it is called a race.
Problem is, I didn't take enough time to experience and enjoy the journey. In trail running, I am finally learning to enjoy the process and take the finish line as an added bonus.
It's not that I don't care to be fast, as it is my nature to beat somebody to that imaginary line, but that I understand my body and my capabilities better. I still want to be as fast as I can. I still want to fly accross that finish line. The diffence now is that I understand how to run within my training and capabilities, at the same time I am enjoying the trip.
In leu of track last night, I decided to do a practice run at Pineland. My goal was to run at about my planned pace for the first third of the 50K. I wanted to feel the pace and assure myself of the plan.
I figured the first third I would run in the 120-130 heart rate range, with an average of 125. So, I practiced that last night to see what my pace would be. Instead of walking at certain times (like hills) I only walked if the heart rate was in danger of rising above 130 (well except for the last mile which I ran a bit faster)
I am actually glad I made this decision because I tend to push too hard at track and I read about a couple trail runners recently who have sustained injuries that will surely slow down their training and races. Most of my past injuries came from stupidly pushing too hard at track when I should have been tapering for a race.
I figured even though I was running a difficult trail, because of the planned effort, it would still be an easy run for me. By monitoring the heart rate I assure myself a better chance of no injuries.
I now have a battle plan for the 50k, assuming I start rested, fuel properly and everything falls into place for me.
First 10 miles.....in no hurry ..125-130 heart rate, 2:16:00 (13:36pace)
Second 10 miles.....a bit faster...130-140 heart rate, 2:08:00 (12:48 pace)
Third 10 miles......even faster I hope....140-150 heart rate, 1:58:00 (11:48pace)
Last mile.......some form of speed up kick to the finish...9 minute pace.
This gives me a 6:31:00 finishing time which I feel is realistic given my training and limited knowledge of such things. It is hard to predict though, as I have not run longer than 4 1/2 hours in training. This leaves a gapping hole for me to try and estimate. I should be able to accomplish this as long as everything goes as planned. If not? Well, my goal is to finish reguardless of the time.
Originally I had hoped for a 6 hour or better finish. I suppose it is possible but If being realistic, and using my training times as a guide, I don't see that happening. One can still hope for that unrealistic finish and who knows, it could happen??
Last nights splits:
13:24....129-221 (221 was a early spike which is usual for me)
10:13.....140..(last .1 miles)
5.1 mile trail run @1:08:07 (13:36 av pace)
.75 cooldown walk. (16:27 pace)
I felt very good at the end and had no signs of working too hard or fatigue.