Thursday, January 20, 2011

Final Houston Workout

3 mile w/u
Target: 15 mins. uptempo(~6:30ish); 3 mins. rest; 6x3 mins. @~5:40 pace w/1 min. rest; 3 mins. rest; 20 mins @MP (6:19) or faster
Actual: 15 mins. (6:32, 6:23); 6x3 mins. (800m @2:50, 2:49, 2:50, 2:49, 2:50,2:47); 20 mins. (6:10, 6:13, 6:08)
2 mile c/d
Total: 14 miles

This final workout before Houston found me on the paved section of the American Tobacco Trail in Durham with my trusty sidekick JSK. We're making a rare tandem work trip and spending a few nights in the Research Triangle area, which has given us some refreshing new training venues to break up the monotony of McAlpine and the Booty Loop. We've run on the ATT bike path several times before, as it is right down the street from our friend Sarah Swiss's house, but this was my first time to attempt a workout on it. The trail seemed ideal as it is relatively flat (never rolling but with some long, gradual grades mixed in throughout) and doesn't involve too many busy traffic crossings.

Over dinner last night we concocted our workout plan. Common training philosophy postulates that ten days out is the last opportunity to make fitness gains that will manifest themselves on race day, which meant it was now or never to pull out all the stops. I wanted something quick without a specific distance attached to it, and Jordan thought I should add in some longer sections both to increase volume and to better approximate the exhausting late stages of the marathon. Thus we came up with the above: 15 minutes uptempo but slower than MP, 6x3 minutes fast, then 20 minutes at MP or faster. I hoped I'd feel as light and fresh as when I worked out with a similar paradigm a few weeks ago at McAlpine. Unfortunately, that was not the case today.

From the first uptempo section, I could tell this wasn't going to be a walk in the park. Maybe it was the early hour or the chilly air, maybe it was yesterday's hilly runs in the Duke Forest and at Umstead Park, or maybe I'm still fatigued from Sunday's race. Whatever the reason, it was clear that today was going to turn into one of those where you just grit your teeth and try to make it through. Simply put, I felt sluggish on the uptempo, heavy-legged on the shorter intervals and just straight up tired on the last section. The mere one minute of rest between the 3-minuters took its toll on my body, and by midway through the final tempo I was decidedly uncomfortable . I managed to duck in under marathon pace but it wasn't pretty. My chronically tight left hamstring was acting up a bit toward the end and my breathing was more labored than it should've been, which meant I finished the workout feeling more frustrated than triumphant.

Succinctly speaking, this effort was not great. I hit all my splits but it involved way more effort than should have been necessary. To be honest, had Jordan not been there for me to latch onto, I can't imagine I would've finished. It's clear that my fitness is there, but the much-desired spring in my step is not. Good thing I've got another week and a half to rest up and prepare. Come next Sunday, I'll be ready.