Tuesday, May 15, 2012

NB Twilight 10k Pre-Race Workout

3 mile w/u
Target: 10 mins. @5:28-30 pace (3:25-30/k); jog to Village track; 3x400m @82 secs. w/45 sec. rest
Actual: 10 mins. (3:24, 3:33 (incl. stop), 3:30); ~7 min. jog; 3x400m @79, 78, 81
2 mile c/d
Total: 9 miles

The goal this morning was simple: run 10k race pace as consistently and comfortably as possible. The former would likely be easy to attain given that Jordan "the metronome" Kinley was leading me along. The latter would prove to be more challenging since the 10-minute portion would take place on the dirt and gravel rail trail in Marblehead instead of on the track. Ten minutes doesn't sound like much, but at this pace it's basically an entire 3k at 10k effort. I was entirely confident that I could hit these splits on the track with ease, but I wasn't so certain about doing so on the trail. Fortunately, Jordan did not share my skepticism, so as I've done so many times before I just resolved to tuck in behind him and not overthink it.

From a mere two minutes in, I was working to do just that. I tried to measure my breath and keep it as relaxed as possible while focusing on charging with my arms and relaxing into the pace. Things were going well until we reached the sole street crossing at about six minutes, which at 7 a.m. was flush with suburban rush hour traffic. We were probably only sidetracked for 5-7 seconds but it felt like an eternity as we trotted up and down the sidewalk, more or less just marking time as the seconds ticked by on the watch. Once we finally made it across, the only remaining obstacle was the dirt surface, which grew frustratingly sandy and thick at several points. Still, I was able to stay more or less on pace, finishing strong right at the 10-minute mark. My overall kilometer average was a little slower than target race pace, but had we not been forced to absorb a ~5 second stop then it would've been spot on.

As for the quarters, they felt incredibly easy, as expected. It's a cruel irony, how difficult it can be to run slowly enough to hit race pace during pre-race workouts like this, only to find that same pace slipping through your fingers while you look on as helplessly as a bystander during the race itself. This time, however, I'm determined to achieve a different result. After three solid track workouts, a respectable 5k effort and today's confidence-boosting tune-up, I know I'm ready for Saturday.