Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Return to the Track

3 mile w/u
Target: 2x200m strides @40; 1x400m @80; mile @5:20; 1k @3:20; 600m @2:00
Actual: 37.7 (200m jog); 41.9 (200m jog); 79.3 (2:00 jog); 5:15.2 (4:00); 3:18.4 (3:00); 1:54.3
1 mile c/d
Total: ~7.5 miles

According to Jordan, it was necessary for me to step on the track so I could wake my body up and kindly remind it that workouts below 6-minute pace do exist. Okay, fair enough. But it's been so incredibly long since I've done a track workout, even longer since I've done one without Jordan pacing me and longer still since I've touched 5:20 pace--take all that into account and, suffice it to say, I was feeling a bit nervous about hitting the oval today. But I suppose it had to be done.

After delaying things as long as possible until a 2pm "lunch" hour, it was finally time. Fortunately our office is located literally a quarter mile away from the Beverly High School track, which is actually quite a nice facility. I jogged a comfortably long warmup while Jordan, who is still recovering from various ailments, also put in some time on his feet. Once I stepped onto the track for the workout portion, he promptly took my watch. I would be running on nothing more than feel and the splits he would call out at every 200 meters. Jordan purposely started things off with 2x200m and 1x400m, all intended to help me hone in on 80-second pace--which, as I mentioned, isn't exactly a familiar feeling. (In fact, I'm pretty sure the last time I ran an entire mile in 5:20 was when I "paced" Alana at the High Point 5k last year. I say "paced" in quotations because essentially I ran four laps before she left me in her dust. Needless to say, this memory did not set my hopes sky high for today's effort.)

As you can see from the splits above, the 200s were wildly inconsistent. It didn't help that I was facing a stiff 15+ mph headwind on the backstretch, which made it even more difficult to correlate pace and effort. I was able to settle down and dial things closer to the correct tempo with the 400, but I still remained skeptical I'd be able to run the same pace for four consecutive laps. What's sad is that plenty of high school girls run 5:20 miles every day, but for me it's about as rare as leap year. Taking that into account, I was quite surprised to not only run well under 5:20, but to do so completely solo and largely into the wind. Thanks to the ample recovery jog (plenty of time for my nausea to subside), I was able to maintain basically the same pace for the 1000 and 600 as well. I didn't exactly break any records, but for my first such outing in quite some time it was pretty much best case scenario. And just think, if I can just string together five more 5:15 miles back-to-back I just might have a shot at making the 10k Trials! Actually, when you put it like that, I definitely won't quit my day job.