Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Harvard Track Mile Repeats

2.5 mile w/u + strides
Target: 6xmile @5:20 avg. w/2 mins. rest
Actual: 5:23, 5:24, 5:19, 5:19, 5:21, 5:21
2.5 mile c/d
Total: 11-11.5 miles

Just as Jordan and I were debating several undesirable options for our Wednesday track workout--Crack of dawn at the Village track? Push our limits with a two-hour lunch break? Wait until after work and race the sunset?--my inbox pinged with an email from Terry. Turns out one of the BAA workout groups would be doing 5xmile, which was almost identical to the 6xmile that Jordan had suggested for me. The decision was simple. Less than 24 hours later we hit the road from Beverly into Boston, Jordan's newly arrived mom in tow, hoping we could avoid rush hour traffic and drop her off at a coffee shop or some other pleasant diversion while still making it to the workout on time. Miraculously, all of the above happened relatively smoothly, and at 6am on the dot we were ready to rock and roll.

After a leisurely warmup and costume change, the group assembled on the track. It quickly became apparent that while there were several dozen other athletes preparing to work out, very few of them would actually be doing the exact same regimen as me. Specifically, Jordan would be assuming his standard role of queenmaker for me and Emily while Melissa jumped in and out for several 400-meter repeats, but other than that we were on our own. To be honest, that didn't make things all that much different than if we'd hung back and done the workout at home, but just feeling the group energy and positive buzz was enough to convince us we'd made the right decision by coming down.

For the first two intervals, everything felt ridiculously easy as Emily and I naturally fell into a single file line behind Jordan. Even from the early stages I could tell her breathing was labored--turns out she preferred to spend her recent European vacation frolicking around exotic locales and eating exotic pastries instead of slaving away at the banality of hitting mileage goals--but talent like hers doesn't go away overnight. Sticking close to my side, she and I both tucked in behind Jordan and let him set the metronomic pace. Once the splits dropped to sub-5:20 on interval #3, my comfort level immediately dissipated. As crazy as it sounds, 5:24 felt like an absolute jog while 5:19 immediately felt like a sprint. Emily, too, was tiring quickly, but gamely stuck around through interval #4 even after initially planning to drop after #3. She's so tough, and I know the time will come sooner than later when I'll be seeing nothing but her back during sessions like these.

With two intervals to go, it was down to Jordan and myself with Terry at the watch. The wind began to gain strength as the rain that had threatened finally began to fall in sharp, angry droplets. This was the point in the workout when I'd envisioned triumphantly surging ahead and powering away to sub-5:15 splits...instead, I struggled to hang on to something resembling 5:20. The final few laps were particularly ugly, and though those splits were nothing impressive I can assure you that I gave it everything I had.

Putting things in perspective, tonight's 5:21 average was identical to three weeks ago when Jordan led me through mile repeats on the Beverly High track, only tonight I did two more intervals and took a minute less rest between each. Though I was disappointed in my inability to close out today's workout with some faster splits, overall this effort was clearly superior to the previous one and indicative of my ever-increasing fitness. I hope this translates into a respectable performance at the New Balance Twilight 10k next weekend.


mfranks said...

Nice w/o Meagan. Its nice to see Emily running some impressive workouts. She's got a 2:35 to run in Toronto in the fall. I'm sure she will do it, I'd bet money on it.
Good luck! I don't think it has much to do with're fit!