I just realized that I haven’t updated you on my MAF tests since my “breakthrough” two months back.  Let’s just say my upward trajectory (or downward if we’re talking about pace) stalled and I backslid a bit.  Right back to the 10 minute pace I had been stuck at for the past year.  I started to wonder if my July 10th MAF test was just an outlier until the one I took a couple weeks after ES100.  I wasn’t entirely back to 100% after running 100 miles, yet was still able to crank out a 9:50ish pace over the 5 miles.  This was encouraging and I hoped it was the beginning of another move up in my level of fitness.

Then this morning I went back over to the Unionville HS track, which was absolutely packed with people, and cranked out another 9:30 paced run.  I ended up being only 5 seconds slower than my best run.  I don’t want to get too over confident 1 week out from Cloudsplitter 100, but I think it demonstrates that I can bounce back from walking crawling running 100 miles in 6 week’s time.  I’m not sure if this will always be the case, however it appears to be this time.

It’s possible that I may be screwing up my more recent MAF tests.  The whole point is to provide a consistent workout to benchmark your running against.  Back in June, I changed my warm-up routine before each test.  I used to walk and jog on the track right before.  I would slowly increase my heart rate from resting to my MAF target of 142.  I’m now taking my dogs on a 35 minute walk to warm-up, hopping in the car for the 3 mile drive to the track, and then starting my test.  So as opposed to starting my test right at the 142bpm target, I’m now starting about 100bpm and then getting up to the target with the first minute or so.  The whole point of the warm-up is to get you running fast right from the get go as opposed to slowly warming up to a quicker pace.  The odd thing is I seem to do better from a colder start than slowly warming up immediately before the run.  Maybe because I never warm-up before my normal runs so my body doesn’t know how to react to being eased into a workout.

Regardless, I’m probably in about the best shape of my life.  And that’s never a bad thing.

Do you notice your body responding counter-intuitively, too?

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