Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rustbuster Workout

2.5 mile w/u + strides
Target: 5k course uptempo (~6:10-6:15 pace), 4 mins. jog; 9xpond loop (600m) w/2 mins. jog: first 3 "easy," middle three "medium," last three "hard"
Actual: 5k @19:11 (6:11, 6:15 (hill), 6:02); 2:09, 2:10, 2:13, 2:04, 2:04, 2:06, 2:01, 2:00, 1:59
1.5 mile c/d
Total: 11-11.5 miles

As the title would suggest, I fully expected to feel a bit rusty during my first workout since the marathon. Having not dipped below 7:30 pace in two and a half weeks, I found myself feeling uncharacteristically nervous as Jordan and I drove out to McAlpine for today's effort. Fortunately Mother Nature provided me with a beautiful, gorgeous, perfect day for a workout, so clear and sunny that I was almost willing to overlook the gusts of wind intermittently whipping around the pond. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I planned to undertake this workout solo. Normally I have Caitlin or at least Jordan along for the ride, but the mid-day hour and Jordan's bum Achilles meant that neither would be able to accompany me. Fortunately Jordan was willing to take my splits; in hindsight, I might've bailed during the tough second section of the workout had he not been there to hold me accountable.

After an easy warmup and some strides I was ready to begin. Seconds before starting, Jordan demanded that I hand over my watch; a cheap trick, I thought, given that I'm hardly a good judge of pace right now. Though he promised to meet me at the mile markers to read my splits, I would largely be running on feel. I took off with the wind at my back and felt great through the first mile, nice and relaxed, and was relieved to hear Jordan calling out my split right on pace. The second mile was a bit tougher due to the hill and the wind around the pond, but the third mile is where I really felt uncomfortable. My breathing was fine, but my entire body felt tight and stiff. My footfalls sounded harder than normal and my stride couldn't have been less fluid. This split ended up being the fastest of the bunch (and don't worry, Jordan moved down farther than the marker to accomodate for this being the "short" mile), but it was also the most frustrating as I was never able to find a rhythm. As soon as I finished I began jogging around the pond, mentally telling myself to put that section behind me and focus on the shorter 600-meter loops to come.

Looking back, the last time I did a somewhat similar workout was just before Club XC Nats in December. I ran that bear of a session with Caitlin and Jordan, beginning with mile and hill repeats and finishing up with 5xpond loop. I remember the weather conditions being similar today and being grateful to have Jordan's ample girth to tuck in behind as we ran into the wind around the lake. Today I would have no such luxury, and it really made a difference both mentally and physically. I felt decent during the "easy" portion (not sure what happened with the 2:13 that snuck in there), but about halfway through I told Jordan that the "medium" intervals felt quite a bit harder than the intended effort. Not only have I not worked out in weeks, but the wind was really starting to wear me down. That said, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to find another gear and finish out the workout as planned despite having to navigate an obstacle course that included, in no particular order of annoyance, a lunging dog, a flock (herd?) of inconsiderate mallards and a variety of wayward pedestrians. My legs were toasted at the end, but I got it done. Though this workout was far short of remarkable, things certainly could have been worse. I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow, but I have to say it feels good to be back.


mainers said...

nice rust buster!

I think it's flock....