Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Not-So-Speedy on the Dilworth Speed Loop

30 min. w/u (4 miles)
Target: 8x3 mins. @2:45 per 800m and getting faster w/2:30 jog
Actual: 7x800m: 2:45, 2:44, 2:44, 2:41, 2:39, 2:39, 2:39
35 min. c/d (4.5 miles)
Total: 13.5-14 miles

Given the unexpected but delightful upturn in the condition of my ITB, I woke up before the sun on Tuesday morning excited to take on my first workout in several weeks. I would be meeting Caitlin, Jay, Alice and potentially a few others for some 800s on the Dilworth Speed Loop, which meant that I would simply run there from mi casa for my warmup. (As a side note, does anyone know who named the Dilworth Speed Loop? And/or who presumably wheeled the course and spray painted the 200m markers on the road? These are the questions that consume my thoughts.)

For some reason, despite the fact that it invariably takes me about 30 minutes to reach the "start line" of this course, I always head out the door thinking it will only be 20. That miscalculation, coupled with a brief but exceptionally unladylike delay that involved me forcibly dry-heaving on the side of the road in an attempt to dislodge an intrepid yet ill-fated bug from my throat, meant that I arrived several minutes late and one interval behind the rest of the group. Drat. I'd planned on easing into the ungodly early start with some stretching and a few strides, but due to my own time mismanagement I literally had to sprint to catch up with the group and start my first interval (their second) in one awkward movement. Predictably, I felt terrible. My left hamstring seemed tight, which was concerning but not quite as much so as the realization that: I. Felt. Terrible. From the outset I was summarily dropped by Caitlin and Jay and breathing waaaay too hard to be running an uninspired 2:45. I tried to fight through it by reminding myself that I never work out this early and that it always takes me a few intervals to ease into the pace, but unfortunately I just never found my groove out there this morning. It's funny; last night when a group of us were at the JCSU track doing some gait analysis with Mark Hadley, I halfway joked that I wanted to sprint in the direction of the starting line and just bang out the workout right then and there. Granted, I wouldn't have gotten home until about 11pm, but I guarantee that I would've felt much better and run faster had I done just that. Instead, this morning I felt tired, sluggish and dehydrated.

Though I was able to narrow the gap between myself and Caitlin and Jay, I was never quite able to match them on any of the intervals. This was a new experience for me, and quite a humbling one. However, as Caitlin and I often remind each other during moments of frustration, having a bad workout does not necessarily indicate poor fitness. And even if it does, sometimes you have to accept the reality of where you are at a given time and appreciate the workout for what it is, not what you think it should be. The fact is, I'm still getting over the hump of a quasi-injury and haven't put in many substantial quality workouts in the past month. I'm not where I want to be right now, but even "bad" workouts like this one are a step in the right direction of taking me where I want to go.

Platitudes aside, things went from bad to worse on the cooldown. Despite drinking what felt like a gallon of water from Rebecca's front porch, the warm air and cloying humidity had Caitlin and I hurting as we slowly meandered back through Dilworth and Freedom Park. We parted ways with another two and a half miles to run, equally dejected about having to cover that distance solo. My spirits were briefly lifted when I spotted Justin Breland (outfitted in his Craft bandanna and Karhu shoes, of course) loping toward me on the bike path. I picked up my snail's pace as we jogged together for a few minutes, then promptly started walking once he turned around. I guess it all evens out. Regardless, I was utterly exhausted when I finally made it back home, having completed my longest run in several months with a workout sandwiched in the middle. These are the days that make you tougher, despite how discouraging they might seem at the time. I'll take the discouragement any day of the week over a nagging ITB, which uttered nary a peep of objection during the entire 13+ miles. Don't call it a comeback, but, well, I think I'm ready to stage my comeback.


Unknown said...

Yeah and it just depends on how we each feel that day. You destroyed me in that workout at Mcalpine with Heidi! But it was just a really good day for you and a really bad day for me. then other days we'll be right next to each other, pushing the other! good work