Wednesday, October 26, 2011

McAlpine Tempo Run

2 mile w/u
Target: 5 mile tempo @5:50ish pace; 5x30 sec. surges w/1 min. jog
Actual: 29:14 (5:50, 5:56, 5:54, 5:48, 5:46); 4 min. rest; 5x30 sec. w/1 min. jog

Once more for old time's sake, I met Caitlin an
d Pezz at Old Bell for some good, solid tempo action. I was not solo, as my friend Dane is in town for a quick visit and I somehow managed to convince him to join us for this early workout despite his body being firmly set in Mountain time. We all rolled up to the parking lot a few minutes early, a rare enough occurrence on its own, and promptly set off into the darkness for an easy warmup. The plan was for Pezz to start a few minutes ahead of us with a hard mile followed by a few minutes of rest, then join us as we passed the mile marker and continue on together for the rest of the tempo. The mid-40s temperature felt even colder down by the creek, but we all reluctantly shed our top layers in preparation for the hard effort ahead.

After only one brief costume change, Pezz charged out of the parking lot and onto the trail for her first mile. Caitlin, Dane and I stretched and dawdled around for a few minutes before setting off in hot pursuit. The first mile felt hard, as expected for the temperature and the early hour, but miraculously we went through exactly on pace. Dane, who is fighting a bum Achilles, wisely backed off after this mile while Caitlin and I rejoined Pezz. I wasn't feeling great and was worried that the two would immediately leave me in their wake, but to my relief (not that I wish a bad workout on anyone!), neither of them seemed to be feeling stellar either. We forged ahead together. By the two mile marker Pezz and I had put a slight gap on Caitlin, and I swiveled my head around to make sure she was sticking close. I wanted to shout some words of encouragement but I was already pressing to an uncomfortable level so I kept silent. Pezz and I ran side by side through three, then almost to four, when I saw Caitlin jogging across the pond toward us. Apparently she'd taken a short rest after the third mile and was now joining us so we could finish together. Her reappearance could not have come at a better time, as I was hurting and already contemplating dropping out. Legs buoyed from a few minutes of easy jogging, Caitlin bounded to the front of our train and seemed infused with a new energy. The final few minutes were dangerously close to the redline for me as I clung to them for dear life, resolving not to let down the group on what would surely be our final workout together for some time. We finished in unison, breathing ragged but satisfied with our efforts. After a few minutes of walking (yes, walking), I felt recovered enough to stride out my uptempo sections around the pond before we trotted back to Old Bell together. Regardless of the workout's outcome, I always consider it a privilege to run side by side with these talented ladies, something I'll sorely miss in Beantown. I may have to sneak back down this winter to get in some more workouts together!