Saturday, January 19, 2013

Closing The Door On Austin

So, just about a week has gone by since the Austin 3M Half Marathon; and, I've had some time to collect my thoughts a little bit.  I was really pleased with the race.................And, that's what is was for me.  For the 1st time in at least 2 1/2 years I truly raced.

When I was diagnosed with my cardiomyopathy; and, with my subsequent internal defibrillator implant, I knew that I was never going to be at the same competitive level that I was up through 2008 (see "The Buzzard's Wings Are Clipped" at  But, as things have progressed a bit with my "situation"; and, I've been able to get a better feel for how my body functions in my new reality - I've come to realize that I can still satisfy my competitive cravings.

Here's some of the things that I've found:
  • My pace at all efforts (easy runs, tempo, intervals, racing) is anywhere from 45 to 90 seconds slower than what it was in 2007 & 2008.
  • The medicines I take have reduced my max heart rate to somewhere on the order of 150 bpm - probably 20 to 25 bpm lower than 2007 & 2008.
  • I struggle at shorter events/distances and faster paces.
  • I really struggle on uphills.  The low max HR and the reduced cardiac ejection fraction really do a number with my ability to overcome gravity.
  •  I seem to be able to stay pretty comfortable at or near my aerobic threshold (i.e. tempo) pace for an extended period.
  •  I still seem to have a pretty good sense of pace.
  • It takes me a while to get "into" a hard effort and to find my rhythm.  But, once I'm there I seem to be able to find a groove keep a good, consistent effort.
In the end, I was able to take all these things into consideration and put together a decent run in Austin.  And, it told me that I can still partake in races - especially at some of the longer distances.

That being said, I still have to accept that I'm not competitive - at least at the level that I'm accustomed to.  In 2004, I won Snow Joke in 1:13+ and I placed 6th in the master's division at Boston.  In 2007 I was 15th in the Master's division of the USATF XC Nationals in Boulder, CO.  Even in 2010 (prior to my official diagnosis and being put on meds), I ran a 1:20 Half Marathon in Billings off limited training.  So, lacking the cardiomyopathy and related med issues, I still believe that I could run 1:18 or faster for a half marathon - even at 50 years old.

But, that's not where I'm at.   So, I need to accept this new reality. At the same time, I've found that I can train to maximize my current physiological position and get the best possible performance out of myself.  It should make for an interesting experiment.

In the meantime, see you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

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