Saturday, May 15, 2010

Nationals Dress Rehearsal

PM: 3 mile w/u + strides
Target: 3 miles uptempo, then 3xmile "faster" w/4 mins. rest
Actual: 17:30 (5:55, 5:49, 5:46), 5:27, 5:26, 5:23
1 mile c/d
Total: 10 miles

At long last, our Friday predator run turned Saturday predator run turned Saturday "modified workout" had arrived. To be honest, I've felt so fatigued the past few days that I wouldn't have even attempted this before Saturday night anyway. Fortunately Tanya felt the same, so I agreed to meet her and Sean at JCSU at 6:30pm. We'd debated doing this at McAlpine instead but in the end opted for the consistency and rhythm of the oval.

After a relatively busy Saturday that included working a booth at a RFYL-sponsored race in the morning, hitting up the TrySports anniversary party for a free lunch, feverishly working my way through The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and hanging out with Jenna in the afternoon, I left the house for JCSU just past 6pm. I had added incentive to run fast and get this over with, as I'd just found out that my friend and former coach Jeffrey "G-Unit" Gaudette would be rolling into town just past 9pm. However, my plan was almost foiled when I arrived at the track and discovered that all the entrances and parking lots were locked. Fortunately Tanya and Sean had encountered this setback before and knew a super secret entrance, so we were able to carry on as planned. The sounds of not-so-distant thunder rumbled through the sky on our warmup, and I silently hoped that we'd be able to finish before the storm rolled in. Running in the rain can be fun, but trying to tempo on a slick track is never ideal. For the time being it seemed as though we might dodge the storm, but we would be left to deal with a thick blanket of humidity instead. This, of course, is also never ideal, but I suspect Nationals will be much the same. Guess we might as well get used to it now.

Tanya and I planned to run the uptempo section around 5:50 pace, alternating the lead (and, consequently, most of the work) every 800 meters. I realized midway through the first mile that this was going to be a very boring 17 minutes. I also realized how much of a difference there was between leading and following, both mentally and physically. The sections where I tucked in behind Tanya felt relaxed and controlled; when in front, I spent most of my energy stressing about whether I was running too fast or too slow or too hard or not hard enough. Taken as a whole, the uptempo section felt tough but definitely manageable, and neither of us were laboring too much at the end. After a four minute break, we jumped into the mile repeats with the goal of running near our respective 10k paces. On paper this looked easy, but with semi-fatigued legs and the sweltering air it proved harder than we'd expected. That said, I felt much stronger than on the botched mile repeats last Thursday, and my legs were much fresher at the end than after Tuesday's massive 800 session. That's pretty much best case scenario given the weather and the intensity of the entire week.

Afterward, Tanya and I agreed that if the humidity ends up being this high at Nationals, there will be quite a few girls who struggle to keep pace. We think/hope that the first 5k won't have to go out much faster than what we ran tonight if this is the case. And we definitely want to work together to use this to our advantage, just like tonight. Overall I'd say this workout gave us an idea of what to expect in a few weeks. More importantly, it gave us the confidence to respond accordingly. Game on.