Seems I fell off the radar a bit. That was because about a month ago, just as I was nearing the end of an uneventful 5-miler, my left hamstring went squirrelly. No pop or anything. Just a major “ow”. I’m used to lots of aches and pains in runs and have been having a long-term ache in my right hamstring for a while. But the left one sidelined me for two weeks.

Three weeks ago, I started back, first covering a mile then two and two weeks ago I did 8 as part of a preview of the Pelham HM course.  No problem, nice and easy, and I broke off short of 6 to head back. Solid 8 on the trails the next day and consistently solid runs until last Saturday, when I got in 10 and felt good and fast (71 minutes) doing it. But on Sunday, I was dead and barely got through 3. So only a couple of 5-mile runs this past week, but they were fast and easy and dipping below 7 over the last miles.

My plan for Pelham was to go out very easy, as I’ve always done in HMs. Cruise through 8 and then head for home. The course itself has lots of turns and a bunch of small hills (I never reached the toughest one). Just get to 10 in 70 and then I could see what happened over the final 3+.

The weather was perfect. I had worn tights but switched to compression shorts before the start and just wore a t-shirt with gloves, deciding against arm warmers.

Now I haven’t done speedwork. You wouldn’t think that this would be an issue for an HM, but I think it was. Because while I tried to go out easy, I went through 1 in 6:38, over 30 seconds faster than I wanted. 2 in 6:48 after I tried to put on the brakes. At that point, I knew I was in trouble because I was dead and I knew it wouldn’t get better. I began to stop. Even with stopping several times mile 3 was a 7:05 and 4 a 7:07. I knew it was not going to work, as happened at Paine-to-Pain when I did that. So I shut it down.

As I walked back, I realized that the problem was not something fundamental but that mistake of going out too fast. When I run workouts, mile 1 is always 30 seconds (or more) slower than what it will be when I get into my groove. That was my plan for this morning, to race into the race, get comfortable at a pace slightly below 7 and cruise. Didn’t happen.

I haven’t tried a race longer than a 5K since that Paine-to-Pain, so this was quite a useful exercise. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow. If today is behind me and I run well into next week-end, I may run NYCRuns’s Big Apple HM in Central Park. I haven’t raced there in six or seven years. I realize that in my last post I planned to run a race but didn’t (because of the hamstring). So I may not do the Big Apple Half. We’ll see how things develop.

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