Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Track Action

AM: 6 miles easy
PM: 2.5 mile w/u + strides
Target: 5x1k @3:20, 3:20, 3:19, 3:18, 3:17 w/2 mins. jog; 5x300 @58, 57, 56, 55, 54
Actual: 3:22, 3:20, 3:19, 3:17, 3:18; 53, 55, 54, 54, 52
2.5 mile c/d
Total: 9-9.5 miles
Daily Total: 16-16.5 miles

After feeling surprisingly fresh on an easy morning run with our boss, Eric--who himself knocked out a 15-miler well below his goal marathon pace--I got the go-ahead from Coach Jordan to tackle my second workout of the week this afternoon. Dropping out of Wednesday's session and pushing it to Thursday meant I potentially needed to push my track session to Sunday, but I was hoping I'd feel recovered enough to do it Saturday and take part in a group long run instead. But, as Jordan reminded me, the point of the second workout was to run fast, not just to "try really hard" or "give it my best effort"--in other words, if I wanted to move it up to Saturday, then I better make it count.

Just before 3pm, after getting a haircut at my old salon in Marblehead, Jordan and I met up at the Village School track. I haven't worked out here in almost a year, but when we lived just a few miles down the street we were regulars. It's not the fanciest facility--and, as I would soon be not-so-gently reminded, it often feels as though it's been dropped down smack in the middle of a wind tunnel--but for our purposes it would do just fine. After a relaxed warmup and some strides, my queenmaker and I were ready to go. With blue skies and the sun shining brightly, it almost, sort of, nearly felt like spring. We'll take it!

From the outset, however, I could tell this would be work. It was never designed to be easy, and this wouldn't be one of those elusive perfect days where everything snaps effortlessly into place. But as we clicked off the laps, I found myself feeling more and more locked into the rhythm of 5:20 pace. The wind proved to be quite daunting on the home stretch, but fortunately Jordan didn't tap me to alternate the lead like he has during other recent workouts. Had that been the case, I know I would've struggled mightily.

As it was, I finished the fifth kilometer feeling quite tired. I hoped that starting the 300s at 58--only slightly faster than what I'd maintained for the k's--would be a breeze. Instead, I found myself straining to stay in contact with Jordan in what felt like an all-out sprint. Was I really that exhausted?! Crossing the finish line, I frantically looked at my watch, only to see that we'd started faster than the fastest interval was supposed to be. At that point, I simultaneously panicked and got really angry at Jordan. He was sabotaging any chance I had to keep it together! Sensing my delicate emotional state, he wisely offered 90 seconds rest, during which I ambled along for the slowest 100-meter walk ever. This pattern would be repeated after each subsequent 300, and with the generous rest I was able to finish feeling fast and strong. I actually think I could've hit the same splits off 60 seconds recovery--not that I was complaining about an extra 30.

Overall, though this wasn't executed perfectly and didn't feel easy, I'm happy at the quality and quantity of sub-5k pace running only 48 hours after an equally challenging tempo workout. All week up until today I've felt uncharacteristically fatigued and sluggish, so hopefully this was just the shot in the arm (leg?) needed to turn things around. And if I actually got a little bit of sun in the process, even better!