Friday, July 29, 2011

Success on the Dilworth Speed Loop

3.25 mile w/u
Target: 4x1.5 miles w/3 min. rest; starting at 6 min. pace and cutting down
Actual: 8:37 (5:45 avg.), 8:34 (5:41), 8:36 (5:44), 6:30 for <2k (5:37 through mile)
3.25 mile c/d
Total: 13.5 miles

Last night Caitlin and I discussed our strategy for this workout, more from a perspective of our mindset rather than the physical details. Or, to be more specific, how the unavoidable and almost debilitating heat/humidity would force us to change our definition of "success" from the outset. We agreed that setting overly ambitious goals--unrealistic due to the weather regardless of whether we think we should be able to achieve them--would result in us walking (or hobbling) away from the workout discouraged and dejected. Instead, we resolved to set the bar low and focus more on strength and effort rather than straining to hit a certain split. In theory, we are the smartest people on Earth.

Fast forward to 12 hours later, when we trotted on over to the Dilworth Speed Loop to meet up with our male escorts for the day, Caleb and Billy. The three of us agreed to let Caitlin set the tempo, and after a few precious sips from her water bottle we were ready to begin. Within the first few minutes, it was safe to conclude that I felt awful. Considering that I haven't run a hard step save for a few strides since Beat the Heat two Saturdays ago, my body was surely confused and not a little indignant about the mild torture I was forcing upon it. After finishing the first interval I was relieved to learn we'd run faster than six minute pace but doubtful of my ability to continue at the same effort level. Fortunately my body seemed to snap into gear after recovering from the first unexpected jolt of speed, and the second and third sets felt much more comfortable. That said, though my breathing regulated itself to a relatively controlled level, I could tell after two in a row at low-5:40 pace that my legs weren't going to cooperate for much longer. Sure enough, once we approached a slight uphill just past the mile marker of #4 I could feel my form unraveling and my legs straining to keep in contact with Billy and Caitlin. Instead of forcing the issue, I backed off and jogged it in.

Despite ending on a less than inspiring note, I was actually very pleased with the cumulative effort. We ran much faster than expected and kept our cool (pun intended) in drastically less than ideal conditions. As seems to be happening more and more frequently, Caitlin set the tone for our effort from the first step. I can't wait until our fitness balance shifts--not because I want to "beat" her in our workouts, but because I need to return the favor for all the intervals she's been dragging me through lately! We'll have a chance to work together on a much bigger stage in just three short weeks at 13.1 Minneapolis, and I'm confident the fitness gains from today's workout will manifest in our performance on race day.


Unknown said...

Go Meagan!!! We're gonna rock Minneapolis. Let's cross our fingers for cooler temperatures