Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cutting Shapes: the ATL Version

23 min. w/u (3 miles)
20x400 in sets of 5 w/30 secs rest b/t each; 1 lap jog b/t sets
Target: first set 83, second set 82, third set 81, last set 80
Actual: (82, 83, 83, 84, 84); (82, 82, 83, 83, 84); (83, 82, 83, 84, 84); (82, 82, 84, 83, 81)
16 min. c/d (2 miles)
Total: ~11 miles

So, remember how a few months ago we did 10x400 for our first track workout? With one lap jog after EACH interval? How I miss those days. Today's formidable workout basically doubled the number of intervals while cutting the rest in half. To be honest, I was pretty sure going into it that things were going to go badly. In fact, even though Jeff had told me I had no "outs" (meaning I couldn't call the workout even if I started falling off the pace), I was fully prepared to peace out after three sets if things were going south.

That said, I felt decent on my warmup down to and through the park, and by the time I hit the track at Grady High School I was ready to put forth my best effort. The first set was quite a shock to my system, as I'm just not used to running at this pace very often (read: never). The second set wasn't much better; in fact, looking back, I probably felt my worst on intervals 7-9. Even though the 30 seconds between each interval flew by, I tried to keep the rest as honest as possible, so I was pleased with that aspect. I wasn't so pleased with how closely I hugged the inside of lane 1 the entire time. Had I been running a real track meet I would've been disqualified for riding the inside stripe like my dad rides the bumpy things in the center of the road.

Somewhere around interval 12 I got my second wind. Actually, it wasn't so much a second wind as it was me getting pissed off at my pansy-like attitude. I figured if Quentin Cassidy can run 20x400 three times in one workout, then I sure as hell can do it once (granted, he is a fictional character in a fictional story, but let's not focus on all the wrong details). After the third set I approached a group of maintenance workers in the infield and asked--nay, begged--in the crudest broken Spanish ever spoken if they could spare any water. I'm not sure whether they understood the words as much as recognized the look of sheer exhaustion/dehydration on my face, because they handed over an entire bottle of tasty refreshing agua and wished me luck. If only they had spoken francais, I could've thanked them much more eloquently.

With a new lease on life, I pressed on into the last set determined to give it everything I had. I closed the last interval in my fastest split of the morning--still slower than I was supposed to be running, but who's counting. I wasn't too stoked about the uphill run home, but my legs felt decent and I made it back uneventfully.

In summary, I was proud of myself for finishing the workout. Granted, I was nowhere close to hitting the splits, and I'm clearly far from attaining my desired level of fitness, but I was pleased to run these intervals only slightly slower than I did on the first "baby" workout in June. I would love to run a few easy miles tonight to shake things out, but my boss is coming into town to travel with me for the rest of the week so it's not likely. Goal for the day is to use every spare moment to rehydrate.

It's been a long time coming
And I can't stop now
Such a long time running
And I can't stop now
Do you hear my heart beating
Can you hear that sound
Cause I can't help thinking
That I won't look down
--Coldplay, "Gravity"