I had a major hiccup in my training last month and was wondering if I was already falling apart. Then I ran 50 miles in this past week (with 2 days off) and things seemed to be back to where I wanted to be. I'm not running very fast, but I didn't expect to be, given that I had a 16 month lay-off - even though my weight's back under 150 pounds at 6 feet [5'11 3/4" according to a recent measurement, meaning I've lost 1/4 inch to age over 30 years] and my body fat's just under 5%.
I went back over my records and found that my "fat slow years" were not quite as I remembered. I was still running 8 minute miles, rather than the 9.5-10 I'm doing now. At my best (early 1980's), my easy days were 9 miles in an hour, then I hit the 8 min/mile plateau for decades, dropping to 9 in 2008, when I started running a lot of ultras... and now 10.
I'm trying to figure out how to regain some speed. Running fast, no matter how little, seems to get me injured these days, but I've been managing to run 3x20 sec. all-out on a steep uphill three times per week, which studies show could lead to an improvement over 3 months (5% showed no improvement or get worse). I've been working on regaining both strength and flexibility, hoping that that will pay dividends in the future and allow me to actually run fast without injury some day.
I have two races planned next month! There's a guy that will be at both of them that has never beaten me in about 80 tries over 30 years (mostly long ago) - I also have raced his father early in my career and both his daughter and son a few years ago - and this looks like his big chance. I doubt that he even knows he's never beaten me, though. At any rate, it'll give me some idea of just how far I have to go.
Next year, I have two races planned. In at least one of them, I have to beat a guy who ran a 2:43 marathon a few years ago. [Yeah. That'll happen. Sure. Right.]
Lost in Space
4 days ago