I was really looking forward to the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon. I scheduled it as the point in my training block that would mark the start of more intensive speed work. Since JFK I took my time building up my miles. Included in the base phase was what I consider pseudo speed sessions. They are small in comparison to what I need to do in order to peak for Mad City 100k, but important in keeping my legs somewhat accustomed to a faster pace.
Going into Icebreaker my mileage had been hovering around 100 mpw for a couple weeks. I tried to make about half of the miles a bit faster than I usually would on a base mile run. I hit between 6-6:40 min. per mile. As I mentioned in a previous post my plan is to get my body very comfortable with mid to low 6:00/mi. pace range for Mad City 100k. I tried to plan these sessions on days where the weather was not too bad. I ran into a few days where snow and ice made it difficult to hit pace without overreaching on effort.
The pseudo speed sessions were a handful of runs that included 20/40 sets (usually only 10), a couple tempo sessions at about 5:40/mi. pace, two brief sessions with a sled hill, and one 6x400 meter interval session (reps averaged about 74 seconds).
I did not really know what to expect at Icebreaker. I had never ran so far on a track, and really did not have any concrete evidence of where my body was at. In the back of my mind I was hoping to be around 2:30 for the full marathon. The goal was to come away with a solid speed session, and little need to spend lots of time recovering from the race.
Icebreaker ended up playing out nicely for me. I ran a 2:31:30, and I learned a valuable lesson in terms of fueling. I only took in 30 ounces of liquid (20 oz sports drink, 10 oz water), one gel, two Vespa Juniors during the race, and one Vespa ultra concentrate 45 minutes before the start. I was hoping to tinker around with fueling a bit more during the race, but was rudely reminded that fueling is much different at 5:40/mi pace than at 6:30/mi pace. At around mile 15 I took in one gel, one vespa junior, and a 10 oz sports drink. I ended up slowing to 6+ min./mi. for what seemed to be about 10 minutes. Both my sides cramped up really bad to the point I felt I was hunched over (probably more perceived than actual). I broke away from the cramps and got my pace back down after taking in a 10 oz bottle of water. I am pretty sure I took on too much calorie with insufficient fluid to balance it out. After that I did not take on a single calorie for the rest of the race. I felt comfortable, and was moving at the pace I needed to get the speed benefits I was looking for out of Icebreaker. So I was comfortable scrapping any more race time calories. In the future I will be more cautious to dilute calories adequately.
The days following the race my legs felt pretty good. I took a couple days off due to my ankles being sore from all the loops. I was probably a little more cautious than I needed to be, but did not see a need to risk things in January (the below zero temps made that decision a bit easier too).
All in all, I am excited about where I am at in terms of training. I am really pumped to start getting in some higher intensity runs in the coming weeks. The gradual re-entry into training was definitely needed, and somewhat welcomed, but I am really glad to be getting back into full force training mode.