Well actually, it's more or less been one step forward only to take three back. Humpty Dumpty has fallen very far off the wall. I run a marathon or a 50k and maybe lose speed for a week and a half -2weeks. I run a 100k and life just stops speed wise for a month. I haven't bothered posting lately because I've been recovering and to be honest, I have nothing I can honestly say I'm proud of performance wise at all since the 100k. I had a feeling it would take me at least a month if not more to really get any kind of speed back in my legs after the 100 because the course was a helluva lot harder this year and a PR effort on a difficult course would likely screw up most of the rest of my season. Sadly, I have concluded I was spot on with that. I did take Igor's advice though and as painful as it is, he's right. Once your legs start moving again you have to run some shorter races even though it's tough and it sucks, so you can get your speed back. Many ultrarunners ignore the short races and their speed tanks big time as a result. He is the Russian national 100k champ so he must know right :-) I remember 2 days before I ran the half in Zvezdniy April 21st, I did 20x 200s in the mid 30s and after that was pretty sad. I was sad because I knew it might be several weeks before I'd be able to do that with ease again.
I did much of nothing but really easy running over the first couple of weeks taking my usual 2-3 days totally off then baby steps back as I feel like it. On lucky day 13, I decided to grossly attempt a time trial...well just run the summer opening stage in the 2 mi xc series. I won that but the time was not good- 13.10 against last year's 12.47 in week 2 off the 100k. I would rather DFL with a solid performance than win with a performance close to what is snail's pace for me. Albeit it was tough to really compare times because this year the course was muddy and slick and last year it was dry and fast. Things had not yet dried up after the spring meltoff. This was more or less a barometer race to see if I should even bother to toe the starting line of the 10k 2 days later. My legs still have zero speed in them. It would be easier for me to go run a marathon at 4.30-40/km pace than it would be to run something short and fast right now. Oh, wait a minute, I did that last year 4 weeks off the 100 and it worked, and would likely have this year, but our spring marathon was effectively killed by goons this year. BOO HISS!
So this brings us to the 10k on May 12th or rather EPIC FAIL number two. There was a 10 or a half. Not wanting to repeat the mistakes of last yr and try a half just 2 weeks off the 100k, I opted for the 10 this time. With temps hovering around 33C-yeah record heat for this early in May, and not a cloud in the sky, it was apparent at least I made one right decision. I wasn't expecting to burn the barn down here, but seriously, it was the same pace I ran may "training half" at 6 days before the 100k where I was hardly working. Now, that's as fast as I can go and even that is an effort. Sucktastic! 2 weeks have passed, and my speed is still very much in the toilet. I managed to finish 7th-good enough to win a nice pair of shoes from Adidas they gave to top 8. Yes, it was hot, but I'm really not going to use that as an excuse. It's just so obvious I'm still recovering.
10 was Sunday, I was due for some speedwork on Wednesday. Our 1000m run at Moscow State just happened to be on Wednesday. Time to kill 2 birds with one stone. Last yr 2.5 weeks off the 100k my 1000 time was a pitiful 3.31. This year, I mustered up a 3.26. Hmmm maybe there is still hope for my dead legs. That was good enough to finish top woman. I then jumped into the 2 slower heats after mine for some easy speedwork and did 2 more in 3.45.
Ok workouts are finally starting to be where they should. On Saturday I did 12x400 up the paved hill in the park in 83-85....more normal. 3 days later 8x800 2.58-56 by all means I should be worst case scenario ready to run a 10 in just over 40 best- back to 39s. My goal was to run my first REAL race back after the 100k at the New Balance 10k on May 25. This would be right at 4 weeks after and theoretically, (theoretically) I should have some semblance of legs by then....THEORETICALLY. Well, it's rained nearly every day for 2 weeks making the trails a mudfest. This year, the 10k was not on the paved loop we are used to but mostly on trails in a different park. The day before, a friend who lives near the course went to sniff out the situation. Translation- he said be ready to run a steeplechase through mud, puddles, pea gravel, etc. NOT A FAST COURSE. OK, I'll wear dark colors that hide the dirt best. After all that rain, it was 28C and nice and HUMID just in time for the run. I felt completely like shit after just over 7k and figured out I didn't have enough to drink in the morning. Stupid me only drank about a liter in the morning which is more akin to what I would need on a colder day. I was dry as a bone and no, my legs still have NO speed. Oh, for the love of God, this is ridiculous. Finish, only a few seconds better than what I did 13 days earlier at the 10k, and my number started to fall off from the humidity. Ok, it was good enough for 2nd, but again, totally sub par and craptastic performance. I did get a nice gift certificate to the NB store for about 200 bucks. though.
Sooooo the first weekend of June was unexpectedly mucked up. I had planned to run the 2 mile xc on June 1st- FAST. I had another decent midweek speed session. Well, the Moscow Masters CHamps were suddenly moved to June 1 -2. Seriously? The 5000 was on the 2nd. Wellllllll if I sit out the 2 mile I give up my spot in the season standings- ummm no really hate to have to do that. The solution- sandbag the 2 mile for points and run the 5000 and 800 for real. The only problem is that I get more tired from dragging my ass up too early in the morning and hauling it nearly an hour and a half ( 20-25 min walk to the xc site one way) to run than the actual running itself. I did indeed sandbag finishing 3rd in 13.27-first mile 7.05 2nd 6.22 because I worked the final 800 as planned and no more. I felt so ready to run a low 12, but had to hold back. I cannot go 100% 2 days in a row. I never have been able to. I can if I have a day in between but NO WAY does all out fast work 2 days in a row, not effing way! In a 5000 on a day 2 race I lose 20-40sec much like I did back in college when i had to run the 10 on day 1 and the 5 on day 2. I lost 40 sec running the 2 mi xc the day after an 18.42 5k last fall. So I had to sandbag this.The course was even muddier this time than it was in May. I really wasn't tired and did't bust my butt here. What did it, was the getting up and dragging my sorry ass there and back. I slept most of the afternoon after that stunt.
Well the final EPIC FAIL OF ALL EPIC FAILS since the 100k would be said 5000. This was just F-bad. For the first time in over a yr, I didn't even break 19-that alone qualifies for EPIC FAILURE. 5 weeks off a 100k and still can't run sub 19. Oh and the 800- well that was after the 5 so hard to determine the degree of epic failure here but it was 7 sec WORSE than I ran in flipping December. I ran the 800 first though in December, but still these 2 races take the cake for FAIL. I won both but honestly, it was embarrassing to run a 5 nearly A MINUTE slower than I had been consistently running them the past 2 seasons. I have run better sick with a cold! Sadly, the only thing I have succeeded in doing is royally effing up the rest of my season by running another spring 100k. I have decided I am best to leave the 100ks and other bigger ultras (stuff over 50km) for the END of the season only. If I run a 50 miler or a 100k late fall, who cares how much time I end up losing to recover if it's the end of season and time to be resting anyways? Plus, I have the season to run some marathons and fast halves to prepare better for a fall ultra or 2. Spring is the worst time to do a major ultra because, yes it trashes most of the rest of the season. I didn't run well til Kremlin Mile time last yr and then at the Luzhniki Half 2 months after 100k Worlds. May sucked last year too, but it seems to be sucking equally if not more this yr.The Mile is the 12th and the Zelenograd Half is the 16th. At this point I highly doubt I could even run a 5.30 mile much less a mid 1:20s half, so I'm probably skipping both now as I fail to see the point in running these sub par and saying to hell with it til possibly the fall. 5 weeks have gone by, and speed is still so in the gutter, so I think I'm done this year and to have to say that midseason is just effing depressing.