Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Surprisingly Not Terrible Workout

2+ mile w/u + strides
Target: 3xmile @5:30; 5x1k @3:35 all w/3 mins. rest
Actual: 5:28, 5:28, 5:30 (all w/3:30); 3:37, 3:35, 3:32, 3:32, 3:33 (all w/2 mins.)
1/2 mile c/d
Total: 9.5-10 miles

Originally I'd planned to work out on Tuesday this week, but when I saw that the forecast called for rainstorms in the morning and high winds in the afternoon, I opted for Wednesday instead. Turns out I made the right decision, as Mother Nature produced an absolutely gorgeous spring day just for me. To make things even better, my trusty sidekick-slash-coach-slash running partner is finally healthy and able to assume his favorite role of dragging me through workouts again. I don't know if I could've made it through this workout solo or not, but either way I was grateful that I didn't have to try!

As we warmed up along the Footlocker course together, Jordan and I strategized what was to come. His intention was to put the hardest, fastest section first, then conclude with a more relaxed, strength-based segment. Hence we would start with mile repeats at what is probably my current 5k pace and then back off to k's at my goal 10k pace. I was a bit skeptical about hitting the prescribed 5:30s for the miles given how much I struggled to run 5:45s on the roads a few weeks ago, but Jordan convinced me that it could be done. Much to my surprise, he was correct. We coasted through the first 800 meters in 2:43 and I felt surprisingly strong and relaxed all the way to the finish. We discovered that the jog back to the start was a bit longer than previously thought (hence the 3:30 rest), but by the time interval #2 commenced I found myself fully recovered. I didn't truly begin to struggle until the last half of the third repeat, but I stayed tough mentally by reminding myself that the hardest part of the workout was already over.

True to plan, keeping the second half of the workout both shorter and slower felt incredibly comfortable. On several occasions Jordan had to remind me to hold back a bit, as the objective was strength and not all-out speed. I honestly think I could've run 3:30s for each of them on the same rest, or could've run 3:33-3:35 on only a minute rest if necessary. It goes against my instincts to hold back, especially during the last interval of a long workout, but I begrudgingly listened to Coach Kinley and forced myself to put my body on cruise control. The only part of me that didn't feel super duper was my knee/IT band. Normally running fast makes it feel better, but I could tell by midway through the k's that the constant stopping and starting was aggravating it. Sure enough, after a half-mile jog back to the stage to change shoes, the attachments seized up like invisible steel tentacles around my kneecap. I was done for the day.

Overall, though I'm frustrated with the current "two steps forward, one step back" state of my ITB, I'm extremely pleased with this workout and its indication of my current fitness level (which, in case you're wondering, has just been mentally upgraded from "terrible" to "potentially not that bad"). I've all but abandoned my hopes of racing the Payton Jordan Invite at Stanford next month, but that doesn't mean I still can't salvage my spring season and run some respectable times on the roads.