(For the record, we landed on the comet yesterday!)
I think about October 2011 at five times as much, maybe 10 times as much as I think about November 2011, but they are very related. This matters because I ran my 2:30:20 marathon PR December 4th 2011. So obviouly I look at that build up as my model for how to tweak things to run under 2:30. However, all did not go as planned.
I burnt myself out.
October 30th, 2011, I ran a workout, one of many stellar workouts I ran in the month of October 2011, and now in hindsight I see it was a little too good, or I didn't recover very well from it. I ran two 14 mile tempos that day, the first in 5:51 pace and the second at 5:57 pace. That's 28 miles at 5:54 pace! Of course, I was still thinking I would run a 5:30 pace or better race. Regardless, that's one taxing run, one of many really hard workouts I did in October that year.
In November I had one good workout, one okay race, and two almost okay workouts. That's about it. I had two other workouts I cut short after two miles or less because I could tell early they were going poorly. Four workouts in the 34 days leading up to my best marathon. That's not a prescription for success. It's the result of over living as I like to say, overtraining as others might say. Fortunately I recognized the problem and did back off the hard workouts so that I did recover in time.
After two bad workouts in a row the last several days I realized I am in that place. I have crossed the line and I need to rest. The culprit is not getting enough rest after the 24 hour run on September 21st and pushing my training. I knew I was pushing it. It's such a fine line.
Adam Goucher gave a great interview a a year and a half ago that has stuck with me ever since I read it. He basically says, and I'm rephrasing his words quite a bit, that if he had given only 95% instead of 100% on some occasions he would have been better because he would not have pushed himself over the edge so many times.
I need to think about the November 2011s and other "failures" in my life when I pushed too hard and broke in some manner. I can't do it all. And I'm not great at holding myself back. I'm generally an all or nothing kind of person. Patience in the moment, before that last mile repeat, is hard, and that is when it matters the most.