Dig deep. ~ The laces on my Brooks Launch shoes
The ramp-up to the San Francisco Marathon has been less than stellar and the past couple of weeks have produced efforts that put me in serious question-mark-mode for the race. I’m still going out and will still run some portion of the event, just not sure how much actual racing is going to get done.
Though I haven’t felt particularly snappy since Boston, the first big warning sign came a few weeks ago when I “raced” the Slacker Half Marathon. This race wasn’t on my radar but my teammate, Susan Nuzum, was racing it so I thought I’d join her in the fun and/or games. She went on to win the women’s event (at least her second OA win this year), and I hung with her for about 3 miles before starting to really wonder what the hell I was doing at the event. I raced hard for another two, stopped briefly to see if that would help me feel better, then raced for another mile or so before packing it in and just jogging down to the finish. Not a good day, to say the least. Susan was quite nice to throw out a lot of excuses for me (altitude, downhill course, wasn’t my day, etc.) but clearly something wasn’t right. I felt great on shorter, intense efforts (repeats, tempo runs, and the like) but anything with a sustained, maximal effort was not working well for me.
So I got some blood work done and scheduled one final “test” run before setting any goals for SFO. This was to be a paced, half-marathon-distance run in Boulder with Susan and Mark Plaatjes teed up to pace me to what would hopefully be a 1:26ish half. Susan and I started on the Boulder Creek path and ran into difficulties early on due to path closures caused by flood conditions along the route. No sweat, slightly slower pacing and route adjustments could accommodate these set-backs but fairly quickly it became evident that I was just not able to sustain the kind of pacing needed to log a fast time. By about 6 miles in I was struggling to maintain marathon pacing and soon thereafter called it a day. The way I was feeling was corroborated by my blood work which indicated low ferritin levels. So we assessed the likelihood of my being able to have a satisfactory go at a good time in San Fran and decided a goal adjustment/race switch was in order.
Of course, a week later (and a ton of supportive food from Rach ingested) and I am starting to feel a LOT better so things are still a little up in the air. I may switch races and run the first half as a race, stay in the marathon and just run it, or do a full experiment and run by feel with zero expectations. I do know that I can wait until the last minute to make any decisions and so, at this point, am going with that option so as to not rule anything out. I do know that whatever decision I make will be done with the goal of not putting myself further in a hole from which I won’t be able to dig out.
As always, I’ll keep you posted.