Saturday, July 10, 2010

CRC Tempo Run

AM: 3+ mile w/u
Target: 30 min. tempo starting @6:15-20, then faster
Actual: 5.05 miles (6:12, 5:56, 5:47, 5:50, 5:44, :17)
2+ mile c/d
Total: 10.5 miles

I feel like a broken record saying this, but boy was it humid out there today. Ugh. On a more positive note, the other part of this run that is becoming a regular occurrence is the sheer quantity (and, fortunately, quality) of people who came out to partake. Our workout posse seems to increase in numbers by the day; if we keep up this growth rate, our late summer tempo runs could like more like cross-country meets!

As far as the actual workout itself, I'm not going to lie: it was pretty tough. Caitlin and I had planned to start around 6:15-20 and then drop down to sub-6 by the end, but after warming up we realized the stifling humidity would play a major factor in how things turned out. At that point there was not much to do but cross our fingers and hope for the best. We started the tempo portion at the start of the Footlocker course, with the plan being to turn left at the 1/2 mile mark and follow the paved greenway to its terminus on Independence. From there we would flip a U and enjoy a slight downhill back to the Footlocker course, then turn left and continue to follow the course (minus the hill) until we reached the 30-minute mark.

From the outset our group fell naturally into position: Caitlin and myself up front, flanked by Aaron, with John and Paul tucked in behind us (and, much to my chagrin, chatting away like 8th grade girls the entire time), then Billy, Mike Beigay and a few others bringing up the rear. John and Paul, who are much speedier than us, were just along for the company and to provide motivation when necessary; Aaron, nursing an ailing calf, was also there to provide assistance. The rest of the boys would be pushing pretty hard to keep up. All in all, it pretty much felt like Caitlin and I were (running) celebrities and they were our entourage. I could get used to this.

The turnaround on the bike path came quickly enough, and immediately the downhill slant was palpable. Because of this, the third mile would be the most comfortable for me of the entire run. I was thirsty but not too parched, and the overcast skies meant that the temperature was manageable despite the fact that we were all literally soaked with sweat. I knew things would start to get tough once we hit the loose dirt of the Footlocker course, and I wasn't disappointed. With 1.5 to go I was tucked in beside John and Paul, with Aaron and Caitlin in hot pursuit. The contrast between the pavement and dirt was striking, and I couldn't help but wishing that we'd been able to finish up on the harder surface. The trail is much more forgiving for the body, but it doesn't do any favors when you're already hurting to hit a respectable pace. The final five minutes seemed to crawl by in slow motion, but fortunately we were all able to hang on and finish up with our fastest mile yet. (Actually, on that note, I never took splits on my watch because I rarely heard anyone's Garmin beep. I did see/hear that we hit three miles in 17:53 but that's it. The splits I list up top are an amalgamation of what I was later told from Caitlin, John and Paul.)

All things considered, I was pretty pleased with how this went. Excluding race scenarios, I haven't done a tempo run in several months. The last time I did a tempo at McAlpine I averaged slightly faster than the pace I hit today, only for six miles instead of five. This was just a few weeks after I'd run 34:37 at Stanford so obviously I was pretty fit. That workout was also done in the afternoon and in much more pleasant weather conditions. The week before, which was only one week after Stanford, I averaged the same pace for what was supposed to be a five miler, only I dropped out at four because of the pollen and the humidity. So while I don't think I'm quite where I was then, it's encouraging to know that I'm not far off despite the lack of hard-core training over the past month. Also, I can't stress enough how much it helps to have Caitlin and the CRC boys to work out with. The overwhelming positivity and level of encouragement from other runners makes even the hardest workouts seem a little bit more bearable. If we can just survive the next few months, we're all going to be in pretty badass shape come autumn.


Charlotte Running Club said...

Ha - running celebrities. This post was very amusing. Great writing (and running) Meagan! Having all the guys to run with is the best. I can't believe the turnout we've gotten despite the high levels of humidity and triple digit temps...Looking forward to getting Tanya, Pezz, Jenna, and Megan Hovis out!!!

Charlotte Running Club said...

that was caitlin btw