Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"It's a long way, isn't it?"

30 min w/u (4 miles)
6xmile @ "10k pace" w/3:00 rest in between
(5:53, 5:53, 5:52, 5:51, 5:54, 5:52)
31 min c/d (~4 miles)
Total: 14 miles

When Jilane and I read that our workout was 6xmile at 10k pace, that sounded bad enough. When we learned that our coach believed our 10k paces to be 5:50 and 5:45--speeds we would be thrilled to run for a 5k right now--we were appropriately enraged. This was the first workout in our cycle that I was 100% sure I could not do. Still, as Jeff said, "What's the worst that could happen? You wog home." So, with the bar set at that miniscule height, I strapped on the T5s and headed out to the Active Oval.

According to a marker at the AO, its circumference is .53 miles. Google has it at .55, so I was content to split the difference. After trying to decide how to make each interval closest to a mile, Jordan suggested starting at the "start" marker and running through to the end of the third quadrant (which you can't see very well in the picture below for some reason). After the first interval I concluded this might be just a tad short, but overall the purpose of the run was to provide a baseline for future workouts so it wasn't necessary that the interval be precisely a mile. In addition, the soft surface (crushed gravel) would also slow the intervals, likely canceling out the 5-7 seconds that each interval might've been short. So, ultimately I think my splits were pretty accurate.

Active Oval in Piedmont Park

Took the first mile out in 5:53, which felt hard but manageable. Hit 5:53 and 5:52 on the next two (after splitting the 800s, which were accurately marked, in just under 3:00, thus reinforcing my thought that my interval was 5-7 secs short). After splitting the fourth one in 5:51 and feeling the pace begin to take its toll on my legs, I wheezed out something along the lines of "oh shit" after crossing the finish. The homeless man walking beside me, who was apparently getting in his daily exercise on the AO (and had previously been mumbling incoherently) looked at me and said, "It's a long way, isn't it?" Yes, thank you for your insight. Nausea set in on the last two and I was just fighting to hold the pace.

After finishing the workout, there was no part of me that wanted to run home. I was simply exhausted. It didn't help that most of the return was uphill. About ten minutes into the cool down, I sat down on the steps of Inman Middle School and prayed for death. I would've hitched a ride with Jack the Ripper at that point if he had offered. The last 20 minutes was pretty slow going, but finally I turned onto Sampson and staggered back to Brooke's.

Despite my utter exhaustion as I type this--let's talk about how I have NO desire to go unpack my apartment again all day--I'm pleasantly surprised with how the workout went. All things considered, I was averaging no slower than 5:55 pace for the intervals, something I didn't think I was capable of at this point in time. Maybe Jeff doesn't suck as a coach after all.