King of the Mountain by KISS goes like this:
I’m gonna climb the mountain! I’m gonna hit the top!
I wanna go where nobody’s ever been! I’m never gonna stop!
I’m gonna reign (rage), I’m gonna shine (shout)! I’m gonna beat the ground!
I’m gonna get on down, I wanna get on down!
I’m the king of the mountain! I’m the king of the mountain!
And here is a vintage, grainy youtube. (How is it that I thought this was cool? I don’t know, but I still love the music.) I was singing along to this on my way to the start of my 10K time-trial. And the “I’m gonna get on down!” made me think of the ending descent of the mountain race in On the Edge, a movie about a runner who has a lot to prove. (A post is on the way.) But… My Good Friday 2014 10K did not go like that. Instead, it was one of those “moment of truth” hurts moments.
“Disappointed!” is what Otto (played by Kevin Kline) says in A Fish Called Wanda when he opens the safe and finds out the diamonds are not there. He has been double-crossed before he could double-cross his fellow thieves.
And “Disappointed!” is how I felt. I ran my time trial 10K (on the treadmill at 1%, simulating a flat and straight course). Unfortunately, at mile 4 I hit my max HR. I hung in there for 6:40 (about a mile), but my HR was still creeping up. I backed off the 6:35 pace, and put in the final 10:00 at a 6:51 pace. This brought my HR down to a sustainable level (97.6%). Finishing the final 1.2 miles, I had my heart rate at 166, which is where I finished last year’s 10K, but that time I ran it in 40:24.
I was hoping for (had been training at) a 41:08 pace and hit 41:32 instead. I did not “hit the top.”
This was a non-injury-inducing time-trial. For me, this is great news. It means my body (even though I pushed it to the edge) was in good shape at the starting line. My left Achilles was a little twingy right after, but one round of icing had it back in tip-top shape. I ran a 4 mile system check on Saturday. I started out sore, but was in the groove after one mile.
The result is disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. My HR in training has not been coming down like it should. And with injuries through this season, it’s not surprising to me that I’ve lost some fitness. This tells me to slow it down some more (5 seconds per mile target) and heal up, which is an ok message to get from your body.
The disappointing thing is that this round of training didn’t even keep me at my previous level of “fitness.” So, in a sense, it is back to the drawing board… a season of slower target paces in an attempt to heal up and get better/faster. I was not disappointed with my effort, though I have some regrets about the week’s preparations.
Those regrets include running a faster than prescribed “3 miles easy” on Wednesday. Those 3 easy miles turned into almost 6 miles with 4 miles at 7:30 pace. What can I say but the nearly full moon and running into the sunrise had me a little amped? Also my sleep has been less than ideal. I slept well at the beginning of the week, but on the morning of the time trial, I got 4 hours of sleep and got out of bed at 3:03 AM. Even with these caveats, I feel like the time trial is accurate. Running for a mile at my max heart rate tells me that there was not much more push in the rockets. I overreached.
A lesson learned for me is to pay attention to my body and my heart rate numbers. Hopefully, if it happens again, I’ll be clever enough to see a trend of diminishing performance with rising heart rates and know that means I’m at a breaking point. Of course, this time, I thought it was telling me that I had entered “beast mode.”
Backing off has worked for me in the past. After a cut back year in 2012, I came back like a lion in 2013, with a 1:29:18 at Hospital Hill and a 3:14:21 at the Kansas City marathon. And there is nothing like signing up for a race to help you forget your troubles and doubts (for a while). I’ve registered for the Kansas City Half marathon on Oct 18, 7:05 AM start time.