Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Am Feeling Tired Today...Very Tired


Proprioception......The normal awareness and instinctive ability to be aware of ones posture,balance, movement and body location. To hone this skill is to excel in all athletic endeavors.

In trail running this relates to the ability to negotiate the eneven and ever changing terrain. This exact capability is realized when you "almost" twist your ankle.......your brain senses the pressure on the side of your foot and immediately adjusts your body weight to reduce the pressure and allow minimal damage.

While negotiating sharp turns or steep down hills you body instinctively compensates for the change and attempts to keep your weight centered. The good runners have this skill honed to a point.

I have been working on my own skills but seem to have fallen short of my expectations. I seriously thought if I could capitalize on my proprioception, I would finally run the trails at a pace that impressed me.

I hit the O trail last night for a race pace run. I wanted to see how fast I could run it when fresh, then I planned on running it again to simulate the end of the 12 mile race.

I started out very strong and the body negotiated the terrain very well. I didn't trip once and only landed on the side of my foot once (my proprioception worked magically as I did not twist my ankle at all).

I figured it is only 2.4 miles as measured by the park and I should easily be able to push a fairly fast pace for that short distance. Problem is, I was very wrong.
About half way through I started gasping for oxygen.....the cardio was failing me!

I had to force myself to finish this loop and wondered if I would have anything left for the second loop. It just plain didn't feel that good. Unlike last week when I felt great running this portion of the trail.

In the end I had no problem with the terrain, instead I just didn't have the cardio capability to run at that speed.....which by the way was not very fast. Last week I ran the first loop at 33 minutes and ran quite leisurely, I thought.

This time I only ran it slightly faster at 28:02 minutes (11:40p) and was spent when I exited the trail. I was not impressed at all. 11:40 pace is seems so slow when I think of the percieved effort involved. My effort and heart rate would normally equate to 8:50- 9:30 pace on technical trails.

I walked to back to the opening of the trail (about 200 yards) and started my second loop. I began very slow and figured I would just run it as a recovery or cooldown. I was so tired ...and only after 2.4 miles, O trail or not, I figured I should be able to do better.

As I settled in at my recovery pace, I began to realize I was instinctively picking up the pace and by the time I was halfway through, I was almost racing again. I still didn't feel any better as far as cardio goes but at least I was pushing the pace a bit.

I finally found the end of the trail but had no kick what so ever. I was suprised that I didn't end up running that much slower considering how I felt after the first loop. I did slip and trip a few times this go round but nothing major.

My second loop was 32:54 minutes (13:42p), quite a bit faster than last weeks second loop of 36 minutes. I guess this tells me a couple things, one; all the technique in the world is still subject to body condition, two; I surely will not run this part of the race any faster than my first loop time of 28 minutes. I suspect after running 10 tough trail miles I will be closer to my second loop time.

It seems that I will be hard pressed to beat last years time on this course, if I can make it to the O trail before 2 hours, I have a chance. Perhaps the smartest thing to do is just run the darn thing and enjoy the experience, it takes so much energy to plan ahead.....

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