I had this long and drawn out analysis about my race, my training, and where to go from here. However, it did not save for some reason. I was able to glean what I needed to for my own learned lessons from the race so suffice it to say this won't be much of a race report. I will include this chart of previous Cherry Blossom splits. The splits were auto-generated by Strava after the fact.
The weather, my diet, life stressors, mentality, and my advancing age all play into how I performed on race day but even controlling for these factors, It's clear the longer workouts (4321,25x400,21 progressions) made me strong enough to hold my paces longer. When I have not done these and opted for lighter training, the strength is not there.
I do not believe mileage really facors into this, rather it is the quality and specificity of my workouts. For instance, in 2015 I was running 21 progressives with the last 7 at MP, a slew of 4321 long runs, and 25x400m at 10k pace with 30 sec rests. This year I've been doing 14-16 progression runs, 5K worth of VO2 intervals, and 6.4-8K tempos. When I do this easier training, my specific fitness erodes from what it could be. Interestingly enough, I did several high quality workouts and good mileage in Februrary and pushed myself in the 3x2miles, 8E8MP long run, 3x3M, etc and by March I ran a sub 1:10 half marathon for the first time in years. March was a hodge podge of races and half assed workouts.
My larger point is that considering other factors and ignoring mileage, my workouts have not progressed for years. I'm still doing the same damn low volume workouts I've been doing and in fact I'm training even lighter than I did in 2015. Without careful increases and changes in specificity, my racing has basically gone nowhere and stagnation is the result. My chaning needs to be carefully more specific and unfortunately that may mean I'll bump heads with the coach. Why go 16 miles for a long run when I can do 14? Because I can do 16 and it's more specific with more quality. At this point in my running extra easy running really adds nothing to my race fitness. I need more hills, longer tempos, and more variation to target my weaknesses.
notes from right after the race:
Just writing a few notes here on the race before I forget so that I remember and can learn from next time.
1. I did not take splits as my auto-lap was off. Instead I just raced. I like doing that at Cherry Blossom
2. I was a little unconfident right before the race. It may be nerves but the mind has a way of making it's thoughts reality. I still need to work on believeing in myself
3. I was completely fine and running a great pace through 7 miles. WhenI started to fall a part a bit, I really fell apart. By the last mile my legs weren't working too well. I believe I need longer tempos, i.e. an 8 mile run at 5:30-5:40 or 10K tempos at 5:20, rather than to increase my mileage. Or/and I need to increase my running economy at sub 5:00-5:15 pace.
4. I have a feeling I could have kept my 5:12-15 pace, even with the last two windy miles had I had a little more strength like I did in 2015