Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another Fun Solo Marathon Workout

2.5 mile w/u
Target: 4 miles @6:30 pace; 3 miles @6-6:10 pace; 2 miles @5:50-6 pace; 1 mile @5:40; all w/2 mins. rest
Actual: 4 miles @6:40, 6:24, 6:28, 6:16; 3 miles @6:18, 6:05, 6:11; 2 miles @5:53, 5:46; 1 mile @5:42
0.5 mile c/d
Total: 14 miles

Given that this workout was solo, cold, windy and early in the morning--are those enough excuses??--I'm pleased with how things went. I utilized a familiar route, running from our place in downtown Salem to the Marblehead rail trail, to and around the Neck, then back the way I came.

Section 1: 4 miles in 6:40, 6:24, 6:28, 6:16
Last night, Jordan showed me how to work his Garmin. Believe it or not, save for an ill-fated attempt to time a marathon workout on the streets of downtown Louisville last December, I've never personally utilized a GPS watch. But this workout was meant to achieve a specific range of paces, not just focus on effort, and so I tried my best to pay close attention when he was demonstrating the steps necessary to time this workout successfully. So when, midway through the first mile, I encountered a street crossing with a steady stream of vehicles parading past, I chose to trot back and forth down the sidewalk and wait my turn rather than attempting to stop the watch and somehow inadvertently render it unusable for the remainder of the workout. All that to say, there's a good reason why the first mile split was so slow. Once that barrier was hurdled, things went swimmingly for the remainder of this section.

Section 2: 3 miles in 6:18, 6:05, 6;11
Believe it or not, this was the most difficult and tiring segment of the entire workout. The first two miles took place on the back portion of the Neck, which is consistently rolling. The last mile, while perfectly flat, sent me across the causeway straight into a stiff headwind. With nothing and no one to block it (where's Jordan when you need him??), I floundered mightily. At one point I actually turned on my heel and ran in the opposite direction for a minute simply to regain my composure. (Naturally this meant I had to run even farther into the wind once I turned back around, but it sounded like a good idea at the time to my oxygen-deprived brain.) At any rate, running 6:10 pace hasn't felt this hard in a long time. It would've been easy to get discouraged and downtrodden after altogether botching the splits on this segment, but I forced myself to remain focused...

Section 3: 2 miles in 5:53, 5:46
...and it's a good thing I did, because this segment was by far the best of the bunch. I felt strong and fast despite the loose dirt and gravel of the rail trail underfoot.

Section 4: 1 mile in 5:42
Admittedly, I misjudged the route a bit. I didn't think I'd already reach the terminus of the trail before starting the last "on" section. This wouldn't be a huge deal, except for the fact that the road back to downtown Salem is almost exclusively uphill and highly trafficked during the morning rush hour. In fact, those of you who are my friend on the book of faces might recall a lengthy rant I posted last week castigating some asshat who nearly flattened me to a pulp while I was finishing up a run. So it was with a certain degree of trepidation that I began the final push, constantly scanning the road ahead to ensure that I wouldn't have to slam on the brakes at any point (because God knows any approaching driver wouldn't). The Garmin screen, which inexplicably was still displaying the average pace in kilometers per hour despite beeping splits at each mile, showed me hovering in the 3:27-28 range (mid-5:30s) early on. Then there was a school bus and a bunch of kids and a dog and whatever other impediment that forced me to jump onto the sidewalk, navigating the broken cobblestones and an occasional leftover puddle, and my triumphant charge to a speedy last mile slowly dwindled to a rather lackluster 5:42. Sure, it was faster than race pace, but still slower than my target and much slower than the first half of the interval had prognosticated. Overall, however, I'll take it as a solid end to a relatively successful solo workout.