Wednesday, January 18, 2012

All Eggs in One Basket

Hello People! Since the last time I blogged, not much racing has happened. After Mayor's cup, I was feeling in really good fitness. Having done only about 6 structured weeks of training before that, I was eager to see how much fitter I could have gotten. I wanted to get in even better shape, do harder workouts and push my body to the limits. So I found one race that gave me enough time to get ready for it mentally and physically: Las Vegas Rock & Roll Half Marathon. After signing up for this race, I was very pumped. Started doing workouts such as 18 mile fartleks on heartbreak hill, long hill reps on Christian Street and long-fast intervals such as 3x3miles, 4x2 miles..Man I was feeling very good! I was hitting paces for these workouts that I had never done before. For example, on the 18 mile fartleks, I was averaging close to 20 secs per mile faster than I did on my Rotterdam Marathon prep. The intervals kept getting faster, my form was looking good and I was very excited! I even decided to even skip a few races between Oct-Dec to keep my sole focus and energy on Vegas. I had all eggs in one basket!

Unfortunately, disaster struck on the evening on Nov 29 during my last workout before Vegas. I cooled down feeling a very sharp pain on my plantar fascia. The next morning, I was forced to take a day off to see if the pain would go away. The next day was off too, and the next day I flew to Vegas. Emotionally, I was feeling a bit down because of the entire situation. The night before the race, I did an easy slow "jog" to see how the foot felt. The pain was still there but I was more in denial because of the race. I still wanted to start the race, maybe thinking the adrenaline would power me through and potentially get the Cape Verdean record of 1:04:19. Inside my head, I knew only a miracle would have to happen though. At 10k in 30:21, I was right on pace for 1:04:00. I really thought maybe a miracle would indeed happen. Soon after, the pounding on my right foot was too much to take. I tried changing my stride to land on a different part of my foot to see if it would help, but my plan backfired as now my hamstring had a slight tear that I could feel. At 10 miles I was in pain and agony. I knew I was not going to even be close to a PR or the record. I still fought hard with pain on my hamstring and foot. I finished in 1:07:14. Very disappointed to say the least, but even more disappointed that I had caused more damage to my injury. After the race I struggled to walk. No cool down. Took a taxi to the hotel straight from the finish line.

After being back to Massachusetts, I didn't start running until New Year's Day. However, I had done some decent cross training and core to make the return to running process much easier on my body. The break gave me a good opportunity to reflect on my goals and also freshened my legs and my outlook for the new year. I'm now training at about 85% load capacity.I have made a lot of progress since but I still have a long way to go. Every week that goes by I am feeling stronger and fitter, but I have to be even more careful than I was last time. This year, in particular, is a very important one because of the Olympic Games in August. Although it is a bit far out of my reach, my goal is to run the Olympic 'B' standard in the 5k - if not, then get as close to it as possible. There's a good chance that I can still be picked for the 5k on the Cape Verdean team as 'the wildcard' even if I don't hit the standard. However, I don't want to go to London to get lapped. I want to race like a competitor, not a participant anymore. I have relocated to a great place for training and I feel like I'm back to my usual ritual. I'm banking on these winter miles to bring some summer smiles. Photo below: Trails near my new apt. Thanks for reading. Ruben.