Saturday, July 2, 2011

McMullen Tempo With the Big Dogs

2 mile w/u + strides
Target: 8 mile tempo @6:00-5:50
Actual: 6 miles in 35:40, one mile jog (8-8:30?), one mile @5:47
2 mile c/d
Total: 12 miles

Originally I'd planned on joining Caitlin for her nine mile progression run on Friday, but after Thursday necessitated a 14 and 4 double I knew I needed an easy recovery day before cranking up the engines again. Fortunately the all-star trio of Paul, Spada and Mike Beigay were gracious enough to extend me an invite to their Saturday morning session, so with Jordan in tow I set off toward McMullen just as the sun was rising.

After an unexpectedly gorgeous day on Thursday, in which the weather gods mercifully offered low humidity and a tinge of crispness to the morning air, I was hoping against hope that Friday and Saturday would bring more of the same. Friday morning felt downright cool, albeit with slightly higher humidity, but I could tell as soon as I stepped outside this morning that we would get no such respite for today's workout. Oh well. Our warmup jog was easy and relaxed, and I took solace in the fact that I wasn't completely drenched by the time we returned to our cars. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad after all. With a few final encouraging words we set off at a brisk pace along the dirt path, Paul leading the charge with the rest of us flanked in a "V" formation behind him. I tucked in and hoped to just get carried along.

To be honest, I never truly expected to be able to hang with them the entire way. Maybe some people (i.e., Jordan) would respond that with such a negative attitude I'd already sealed my fate before the workout even began. I knew that running with them for at least five miles was realistic, but the end result would depend on just how much they decided to drop the pace during the second half. I felt relatively comfortable at our four-mile U-turn, despite dropping a 5:50 for mile three, but once we started heading back the other way I could feel my effort level rising precipitously. Mile five was also 5:50 and my breathing was noticeably labored. Each time we hit a bend or slight incline in the trail I could feel myself losing contact with the group by another few meters. Jordan gamely held back, offering encouraging words and entreating me to stay focused, but I knew I was done. I made it to the sixth mile marker before coming to a stop and waving him ahead to catch the group.

After catching my breath for a few seconds, I slowly began to jog back. I was disappointed that I wasn't able to finish the workout, especially since this is my goal marathon pace come winter, but I also knew that the purpose of a tempo run is not to run yourself to exhaustion. As I approached the penultimate mile marker I decided I'd pick up the pace and try to bring it in with a sub-5:50 effort. If I hit the 800m mark slower than 3 minutes then I'd shut it down, but I passed the marker comfortably in 2:53 so I continued homeward. I finished with ragged breathing and heavy legs, but I was satisfied that I'd somewhat managed to salvage the workout.

Overall, I had a great time mixing it up out there with a different workout group. And it goes without saying that I'm thrilled to have Jordan back in action, not to mention the fact that he cruised through this tempo as though he'd never missed a beat. With the workout behind us and a holiday weekend ahead, it's time to relax and enjoy some much needed recovery!


Stephen Spada said...

Great to have you out with us! That was fun...