Attempting the Impossible?

 

The speed workout, including the temporary detour, mapped from above.

The speed workout, including the temporary detour, mapped from above.

In this quest to qualify for Boston, most days I think, ‘I can do this.’ For example, after March’s Corporate Cup Half Marathon in Charlotte, I felt especially optimistic.   I ran a 1:38:22, which equates to about 7:29/mile pace.   A man my age needs to break 3:21:00 to qualify for Boston, or about 7:39 pace.   Qualifying felt doable.

Today, I planned some ‘speed’ work (I use the term loosely), what I thought would be a nice, easy little track workout:  a 1-mile warm-up, 3 x 1 mile at 7:30 pace, with a half-mile jog recovery, and a 1-mile cool-down.   Easy enough, right?   Wrong.

Mother Nature did not feel particularly obliging today.   The thermometer read 85 degrees as  I crossed the local university campus, but it seemed hotter as I stepped onto the track.   A breeze helped fight the heat a little, but not much.  

I felt okay as I began trotting my slow mile warm-up.   But it didn’t take long for the sun to begin draining what little energy I had.   By the end of the warm-up,  I wondered if I’d be able to complete the workout.  

The first mile,  while tough, went mostly according to plan.   I crossed the finish line in 7:24, a little fast, but acceptable.   But I was definitely tired as I jogged the half-mile recovery.   Perspiration poured down my face.

As I started the second mile, I began struggling to maintain pace.   At one point,  I glanced down at my watch and noticed that I was running 7:39 pace and it felt much more difficult than it should.   I thought, ‘Holy (expletive) – I have to run this fast for 26 straight miles?!   Uh-oh.’   It seemed impossible.  

Then, about 2 laps into the second mile,  trouble struck in the form of a rumble ‘down there’.   Not cool.   I fought it off,  at least enough to finish the mile in 7:30.   Second goal of the day met, but with ‘issues’.  

During the recovery,  my digestive tract refused to be ignored.   What started as a little rumble suddenly turned into a full-fledged emergency. I ran to the stadium restrooms which were, as luck would have it, locked. Things were becoming dire as I ran,  doubled-over,  to the cafeteria.   A gaggle of prepubescent camp-going kids wreaked havoc in the cafeteria.   I darted past them, shoved open the restroom doors, and rushed into a stall.   I went from misery to relief in moments.

So my half-mile recovery turned into a 17-minute recovery.   Feeling dehydrated after my little ‘adventure’,  I drank a sports drink before beginning my next ‘fast’ mile.   I struggled,  but somehow managed to finish in 7:25.

3 miles at 7:30,  with a half mile recovery,  was tougher than I had anticipated.   26.2 miles at 7:39 seems impossible.   Hopefully, temperatures won’t reach 85 degrees in Richmond in November. Hopefully, I won’t get derailed with digestive tract issues.   Hopefully, with 17 weeks left to train,  I will progress to the point where the impossible will become possible.

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One Response to “Attempting the Impossible?”

  1. Ani Says:

    This just sounded painful, funny but painful… Achieve the unachievable… I am on the same mission. Best of luck!

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