I recently started completed my first official 50k race…in 7:50.
My marathon split would have gotten me pulled off the course and would have resulted in a DNF.
I ran a 50k training run last year…in 5:52.
What the hell happened???
Well, I think that I have a pretty good idea.
For starters, I did stop the Garmin during the training run for some reason. Elapsed time is actually 6:00. The distance was also slightly different with the ultra being about 1.2 miles longer (according to my Garmin).
But, that still leaves a big 1:30 or so unaccounted for.
Part of the strategy was to go deliberately slow. Save the legs for later. Didn’t work…I barely made it to 50k.
Another factor was that my heart really wasn’t in it. I didn’t really want to be there. I wanted the title of “ultramatahoner”, but I was calling it in and going through the motions. I wasn’t enjoying the experience either. I think that my legs could have kept going, but my mind had checked out. It saw the 50k mile marker and said stop. I am glad that I tried an ultra, but I have so interest in doing it again.
I have reviewed the times from both runs. The differences are staggering. My average pace last year was 11:20 min/mile. My average pace at FANS was 14:38 min/mile.
I only logged one mile at a faster pace at FANS (mile 2) then my average last year.
Last year, I got a string of PRs…in almost every event I participated in (except the marathon). This year, I PRed in the 1 mile (an event that I didn’t run last year).
Bottom line, it comes down to training. Extreme training last year, and lack of training this year.
When I expressed surprise at all of my PRs falling last year when I was Ironman training (ie: all endurance work and no speed training) someone commented that “all ship rise at high tide”. Made sense. But I guess that the opposite is true as well. My event time have been decent, but not spectacular this year. No threats to any of my PRs (except the 1 mile).
So, what is the bottom line? I had the season of my life last year. I pushed myself to the limit while training for this fabled race and achieved multiple other impressive results in the process. I have seen what I can accomplish when pushing my body to the limit…and it was pretty impressive. But I am simply not willing to suspend the rest of my life anymore for running. I want the joy of running, the health benefits of running, and to participate in running event with fellow runners. But my days of PRs are likely behind me. So are my days of ultra-anything.
Despite my poor showing, I am an ultramarathoner and an Ironman. I now head into my short summer triathlon season (all sprints) before ending the year with my final string of ultra-endurance events (3 marathons in October, with 2 in one weekend). Goal will not be to PR, but to enjoy those final marathons and to reconnect with my love of running.