Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wave Tempo

AM: 3 mile w/u
Target: 13k/8 mile wave tempo alternating 3:35/4:00 per k (~5:45/6:25 per mile); 4 min. rest/jog; 3k @11:00
Actual: 3:41, 4:02, 3:31, 4:01, 3:33, 3:57, 3:35, 4:00, 3:35, 3:59, 3:33, 3:58, 3:32; 3k @10:50
1 mile c/d
Total: 14 miles
PM: 3 miles easy
Daily total: 17 miles

I did this exact same workout at the same relative time (~six weeks out) before Philly last year, to great success. On that occasion I was actually supposed to be alternating half miles, but I was running solo and as a timepiece novice was clearly outsmarted by technology. So I adjusted on the fly, switched to alternating kilometers, and absolutely crushed it.

Today, with my queenmaker (and Garmin expert) leading the charge, I was confident I would at least get the general workout configuration right. In comparing to last year's data, this time around I was able to hit roughly the same pace for the "on" segments (with the exception of an outlying 3:23 last time, holy moly) but struggled more with maintaining a respectable clip on the recovery portion. Though I intentionally tried to push thoughts of last time out of my head during the workout--there's nothing more discouraging than the realization that present day you is getting her ass kicked by younger, faster you--the one split I did remember quite clearly was that I'd run 11:00 on the nose for the final "bonus" 3k, and I was determined to finish faster today. I did just that, clocking a strong 10:50, immediately after which Jordan exclaimed, "That was the best part of the whole workout!" Perhaps that says more about the preceding 13k than the final 3k, but I will choose to take it as a compliment.

Still lots of work to be done, still grinding away. Making progress one day at a time.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week in Review

80 miles
3 doubles
2 successful workouts
2 chiropractic appointments

After two scheduled down weeks--the days before and after Hartford--I'd planned to ramp back up to triple digits beginning this past Monday. Thanks to my hip injury scare, that didn't exactly happen. In fact, I'm actually surprised I hit 80 considering I felt like I did virtually nothing from Wednesday to Friday, and had no long run to speak of unless you count Saturday's workout. Assuming my body continues its quick mending process, I hope to return to full-blown marathon mileage next week. With CIM a mere six weeks away, there's simply no time to waste.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

RepliCAITing the Down Ladder (4-3-2-1)

3 mile w/u + strides
Target: Mimic Caitlin's workout of 4mi-3mi-2mi-1mi
4 mile @6-6:05 pace; 3 mile @5:55-6 pace; 2 mile @5:50-5:55 pace; 1 mile faster all w/4 min. jog rest
Actual: 24:01 (6:00 pace); 18:30 for 5k (5:57 pace); 11:00 for 3k (5:52 pace); 5:35 for 1 mile
2k c/d
Total: 16 miles

See what I did there in the title...I wanted to repliCAIT the workout...because her name is Caitlin...anyway.

So, basically this almost went off the rails before it even happened thanks to the hip situation that abruptly developed in between my workout and cooldown on Tuesday. The next two days were spent limping through "easy" runs and trying not to panic despite seeing an entire summer's worth of work flash before my eyes. On Wednesday morning I sent a text to my boss's girlfriend (and our good friend) Anne, who just happens to be a chiropractor, with the general sentiment of: "HELP!" She took one look at me and basically said my entire left side from the knee down was completely out of alignment. After two treatments from her magic hands, I was cautiously optimistic that I actually might not be throwing my hopes of marathon glory into the Beverly High School dumpster. I took Friday super easy, went to bed early, and crossed my fingers that everything would be operational for Saturday's workout.

After a few tentative steps on the warmup, it seemed as though my hip would cooperate. It was functioning at a steady discomfort level of 2 to 2.5, as compared to the 7.5 to 8 of the previous few days, and actually felt even better after a few long strides. However, my hip wouldn't be the only thing working against me. For some reason I've since forgotten, Jordan decided it would be a great idea to do this workout on the Marblehead Neck--one of my favorite places to run, but also one of the hilliest. Since it's surrounded on all sides by water, it also runs the risk of being quite windy, and unfortunately today was even worse than usual. It was going to take an incredibly focused effort and the help of my favorite queenmaker to execute this anywhere near my goal paces.

For the first kilometer, on the flat causeway with the wind at my back, I felt amazing. Then I hit the Neck's first hill and was jolted back to reality. Unlike Caitlin, who according to her blog post was just chit chatting away throughout her own version of this workout, I felt like I was struggling to hang on the entire time. And this is supposed to be marathon pace?! The 3-mile segment actually felt a little bit better--and apparently the last kilometer was going well enough that Jordan decided on the fly to extend to a full 5k, which isn't actually what someone wants to hear 17 minutes through what they think will only be an 18-minute interval--but unfortunately it put us at a bad spot geographically. "There's no way this isn't going to be hard," Jordan said just before the start of the 2-mile-turned-3k, and he was right. From where we were starting, all of our options would send us on a hilly path and finishing into a stiff headwind. The last two minutes headed back on the causeway were particularly brutal, but I also knew that the farther I went in one direction, the more time I could spend with the wind at my back when I turned around for the final one-mile interval. Despite the cumulative fatigue setting in, I was confident I could crush the mile thanks to a tailwind for the first half. It worked, and I felt pretty darn good for a few minutes, except for the fact that I hadn't been able to jog quite far enough in the opposite direction on my cooldown. In a cruel twist of fate, the final 30 seconds of the mile sent me straight up the steepest hill on the entire course. My dream of breaking 5:30 came to a near-standstill, but I was able to hold it together enough to close in a respectable 5:35.

Overall, I wish that hitting my goal paces had felt easier, but given the wind and undulating terrain I'm pleased with the effort. More importantly, my hip seems to be on the mend and a full-blown crisis has been averted. Whew!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beverly High School Benchmark, v2.0

3 mile w/u + strides
Target: 10x3 mins. @3:23-3:25/k pace w/1:45 rest
Actual: Above
2k c/d
Total: 10.5 miles

If you read my blog regularly (and who doesn't), you'll know that I frequently do three-minute intervals around the Beverly High School parking lot just a stone's throw away from our office. Working out in a parking lot may sound silly, but it's actually one of my favorite workout venues, as described here. While I've done variations of this workout at least a half dozen times, I've never done 10 intervals and I've always been afforded at least two minutes' rest. The goal this morning was to run the same pace as usual, only for more reps and with less recovery. Given how heavy my legs have been feeling lately (with yesterday morning's "easy" run being particularly lethargic), I was nervous about how this would go. To my overwhelming relief, and with the help of you-know-who, I nailed it. The only potential obstacle in the way of success was the fact that we timed this about 30 minutes too late, which meant the last four intervals were spent dodging school buses and late arriving minivans. To be honest, I didn't really mind, as it distracted me from my increasingly fatigued lower body. 

My legs were so tired, in fact, that as soon as I finished rep #10 I promptly sat down on the adjacent sidewalk to catch my breath. When I got up 90 seconds later to begin jogging the cooldown, I immediately noticed that my left hip/glute area felt distinctly off. My gait was forced and jerky and it felt like something deep inside had been forced out of place. This was quite perplexing, if not too concerning initially, because prior to that instant I had literally zero inklings of anything being amiss, not one twinge or ache at any point during the workout or any run leading up to it. I jogged gingerly back to the office, proactively scrapped my evening double and sent a frantic text to our CEO's girlfriend (and my good friend) who is a local sports chiropractor. I can't afford for anything to go off the rails now, so I've got my fingers crossed that this isn't serious.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week in Review

77 miles
3 doubles
2 days in MI
1 day in WI
2 days in IL

I generally try to be positive in my blog posts. Nobody wants to read about someone else feeling sorry for herself because she missed a few workout splits or had a less than stellar race when that person is clearly dealing with the epitome of first-world problems. And don't get me wrong; there are plenty of times throughout the course of a given week when I feel pretty darn good about myself. But to be completely honest, Dad (and the other nine people who are reading this), I'm fairly discouraged right now with how my training is going and my prospects for CIM. It's totally unfair, but I can't help comparing each workout and race to how I felt and executed similar workouts and races during my Philly buildup last year. I was running so strong and tough, doing the bulk of my workouts solo (due to an injured queenmaker), and yet I was feeling good and crushing all of them. This time around I don't seem to be making much progress, and even when I do run somewhat fast it's a constant struggle. I know that every training cycle is different, and I realize I have three extra weeks this time around--trust me, I'll need every single one of them--but I'm just being realistic: maybe it's time to reevaluate my goals and expectations for the race. 2:37 is looking like a monumental challenge right now, especially when I'm struggling to run faster than marathon pace during shorter races and workouts. We're still too far out to make any definitive goal changes, but a come to Jesus talk with my coach might be imminent in a few weeks' time if I can't turn things around.

Witch City 5k

AM: 2 mile w/u
Target: win, don't get outkicked by old guy
Actual: 17:46, first female, second overall (to Jordan, not old guy)
1 mile c/d
Total: 6 miles
PM: 5 miles easy
Daily total: 11 miles

The 11th of 12 installments of the YMCA North Shore Race Series took place right here in Salem, starting at the Willows and essentially traversing the Thursday night Wicked 5k course. As per usual, Jordan and I were planning to set up the Karhu tent and also hop in the race. However, this particular event was going to be special because Jordan's dad was in town visiting and would be running his first 5k ever! A few months ago he asked Jordan to structure a run/walk program for him, which he has been following diligently, and when I discovered that this race was taking place the same weekend of his visit, I suggested he sign up. The stars were aligned for his first attempt at the distance.

Setting up our tent near the water, it quickly became apparent that yesterday's calm air had given way to a biting 20mph wind. We would essentially be running the first two-thirds of the course with it directly into our faces, then (theoretically) get a nice little boost for the last mile. On my short warmup with Jordan, my legs felt like bricks. Ever since Thursday they've been heavy and stiff, and I had struggled to maintain 7:30 pace on what should've been an easy 15-miler on the Boston course with Stef the day before. As Jordan took off on a few pickups during our warmup jog, I could only chuckle. At that moment, I honestly felt like running faster than 8-minute pace would be impossible.

We returned to our tent to peel down to our racing costumes and had to laugh as Jordan's dad walked up. Having just arrived from 90-degree Palm Springs 12 hours prior, he was bundled up in not one, but two long-sleeve cotton race shirts plus two other long sleeve tops. Ever the vigilant Craft rep (and embarrassed son), Jordan quickly dug through the inventory in his car and produced a Be Active Extreme baselayer. Gary was sternly advised that he could pick one other piece to put on top of it, not a race shirt (first sign of a noob!), and he was sent toward the starting line much lighter and leaner than he'd originally planned. As we all queued up, it seemed as though Jordan's victory would be all but guaranteed. There were a few younger guys up front who also seemed fit, as well as some familiar faces from previous YMCA races, but I was relieved to realize that I probably wouldn't have to go to the well.

We took off at what felt like a sprint, likely due to a combination of the cold wind, my slight wine hangover and, well, the fact that my legs already felt like crap. Within the first 400 meters it was obvious that Jordan was going to sail away unchallenged, and I found myself eyeing the two younger guys who had started out a few steps ahead. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an older gentleman whom I've seen at other YMCA races popped to the front of the group and easily put a few strides on us. We split the mile in 5:40--not fast, but a near miracle given my dead legs--and I summarily dropped the two younger guys, but my gray-haired nemesis continued to push the pace. For the next 10 minutes I kept expecting him to pull away from me, but instead he seemed content to maintain a five meter gap. With 400 meters to go, I pulled up alongside and then found another gear to put some distance between us. It's embarrassing how relieved I was, but I knew Jordan would never let me live it down if things ended differently.

As soon as I crossed the line, Jordan and I began jogging the course in reverse to find Gary. We spotted him just past the two-mile marker, looking fresh and strong (and not the least bit cold!) while maintaining his run/walk intervals. We trotted along next to him for the final mile until I darted across to the finish to snap this great father-son shot. It was fun for Jordan and I to finish 1-2 overall, but I'm way more proud of Gary for embracing the challenge of his first 5k and then absolutely hitting it out of the park. It's never too late to become a runner!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fast Finish Mile Repeats

2 mile w/u + 1 lap of stride the straights, jog the curves
Target: 6-8 xmile w/2 min. rest; first 3 laps at 1/2 marathon/marathon pace, last lap @5k pace
Actual: 5:44 (last lap 80), 5:43 (79), 5:44 (79), 5:43 (80), 5:42 (79), 5:40 (80)
1+ mile c/d
Total: 9.5-10 miles

This workout came about somewhat unexpectedly as I was in the midst of an epic Michigan/Wisconsin/Illinois work trip. (I think I was even in Indiana for a few minutes, although I can't be certain.) On Wednesday morning I did a light fartlek as prescribed by Jordan to wake up the legs in preparation for another yet-to-be-determined workout on Friday morning. Since I would be spending the night in Naperville, Illinois (a Chicago burb), I reached out to my new friend Amber, the apparel buyer at Naperville Running Company, to see if she wanted to meet for some easy miles on Thursday morning. She was game for meeting up, but said she was planning on a mile repeat workout, some crash training after her recent wedding and honeymoon in advance of the upcoming Naperville Half-Marathon. Having not worked out or raced in many moons, she was loosely targeting 5:50-6:00 pace with a relatively brief rest.

I wanted to make it work, but wasn't sure how her plan could be adapted into something that would be optimal for me. I conferred with Jordan, and he suggested that I run her pace for three laps and then kick it up a notch for the final 400 meters. That way we could still start and finish together and utilize each other's presence for the bulk of the intervals. Plus, my legs would be slightly fatigued from the fartlek 24 hours prior, making this a good simulation of the latter stages of a race. Amber was game with this plan as well, so it seemed like a stellar arrangement.

Unfortunately, I awoke on Thursday morning to my absolute least favorite workout (and general life) conditions: 45 degrees, windy and raining. Yuck. If Amber weren't picking me up, I would've probably rolled over for a few more minutes and then hit up the hotel treadmill. Instead, we drove into downtown Naperville to her alma mater, North Central College, and met up with one of her coworkers and male training partners (whose name escapes me--good thing he's not reading this). He had just run a marathon the weekend before and was looking to loosen up the legs and help set the pace with us, which seemed ideal. 

Despite the weather (which only worsened as our workout progressed), this went pretty well. Amber ran great for her first track workout in months, and I was semi-successful in dropping the pace on the last lap of each interval. I'd hoped to be able to close in 76-78, but in soggy trainers on race-weary legs I couldn't overcome the invisible governor that hovered around 80. The faster last lap made the rest period seem shorter than it actually was, which meant I had to use the first few laps of the subsequent interval to recover while running marathon pace or faster. If you think (like I did!) that this workout sounds super easy on paper, try it sometime!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Week in Review

72 miles
3 doubles
3 days in Hartford
13.1 miles of misery

As I said in my race recap, I've still got a long way to go before I'm ready for CIM. Fortunately, I've got plenty of time! Eight weeks is more than enough to round into shape if I keep plugging away. After yesterday's rough race, I plan to take one more slightly down week before ramping things back up for the bulk of the marathon segment. First things first: a relaxing Sunday and a beautiful seaside wedding for one of our coworkers!

Proof that Jordan and I actually shower sometimes!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

ING Hartford Half-Marathon Recap

~2 mile w/u
Target: 13.1 miles @1:17:30 or faster; first place New England's Finest division
Actual: 1:17:37 (chip), 1:17;40 (gun), first place NEF, fifth place overall
Official results; Race day results 
Total: 15 miles

On paper, this race looks like a success for me, and I suppose it was. My time and place were both respectable, and I can tuck away the fitness gains as a step in the right direction toward a successful marathon in two months' time. But reality, as per usual, was much less rosy. Simply put, this was hard. Not just in the final minutes or during the last 5k, but almost the entire time. In fact, I can distinctly remember first wanting to drop out around mile four--and then repeating that same thought/wish/plea about 10 more times before the finish. Thanks to Jordan's encouragement I stuck it out, but it wasn't pretty.

Before all that, however, I had a lovely few days in Hartford--thanks in no small part to the New England's Finest program, which provided the hotel room, travel reimbursement, a hospitality suite and a pre-race dinner. Jordan was working the expo with Marathon Sports, so we actually headed out of town on Wednesday afternoon so he could be in place for the following morning. I was fortunate to be able to work remotely from our hotel on Thursday and Friday, which meant I was able to avoid any last-minute stressful travel or hassle. By Friday afternoon, several of our other friends had arrived from the city, and while Jordan finished up at the expo I was able to enjoy the surprisingly tasty pre-race pasta dinner with BAA friends Stef, Brian, Hilary (defending Hartford Marathon champ) and her boyfriend. For some reason Stef and I were the only ones drinking wine, but I felt good about it. After dinner we met up with Sarah and attended the pre-race technical meeting where we were able to scope out who else would be toeing the line and listen to the standard race morning instructions.

Oh, just a LIFE SIZE poster of me on display at the expo. Can't wait to frame this bad boy and hang it in our living room!

After an early lights out and an uneventful pre-race routine, it was game time--or so we thought. I scrunched my way to the front of the starting line behind Jordan (racing for free courtesy of the "companion's entry" provided by NEF), Sarah and Hilary, preparing for the gun to fire, but instead our ears were treated to what had to be the longest, slowest, most elaborate version of the National Athem ever to precede a race start. Not to be outdone, the race chaplain (that's a thing?!) then graced us with a prayer that rambled through a litany of bodily considerations and woes. He left no stone unturned when asking the Holy Father to protect and guide us as we made our way through the city streets, bringing back to light the worst-case-scenario horrors that most nervous racers had only just managed to successfully suppress from their consciousness. "May their muscles and sinews not fail, may their feet not be ravaged with blisters, may their vital organs not systematically shut down one by one, may their pre-race oatmeal not plunder their bowels like vengeful intestinal pirates..." Okay, so I may have exaggerated on that last bit, but only slightly. Sarah, Hilary and I were trying our hardest to avoid eye contact and suppress giggles, lest we be smote with the very afflictions he was so graphically trying to ward off. Finally, three minutes later, his supplication ceased. (Don't think three minutes is a long time? Start your watch now. Sweet baby Jesus himself would've grown weary.) Surely now it was finally time to--"AND NOW, PLEASE DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION TO THE DANCERS!"

Sometime approximately 38 minutes after I'd squeezed into a spot at the starting line, now most assuredly already needing a quick bathroom break, we were finally off. I tried not to get swept away with the eager frontrunners and instead allowed Jordan to settle us into an easy rhythm. The first 5k threaded its way through downtown Hartford, then began a two-mile climb that was probably gentle but unfortunately found me already laboring. I regained some momentum after passing another woman somewhere in the sixth mile, but by halfway I was seriously hurting. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm no stranger to pain. Heck, in the last few miles I welcome it. But to already feel this bad, this early in the race, running what was not at all a pace I shouldn't be able to maintain? I was on the precipice of disaster. It was so bad that somewhere around mile eight I actually gasped out loud to Jordan, "Something is wrong with me!" I simply shouldn't have been feeling this way.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, this was when Jordan decided to snap me back into the race the only way he knew how--by dropping the hammer. Our next mile split--albeit downhill--was close to 5:40, and somehow I managed to hang on. In the subsequent minutes my energy level and morale ebbed and flowed--if nothing else, I'd finally banished all thoughts of dropping out--and despite there being no women anywhere near me in either direction I began to feel a resurgence of my competitive juices. With a few miles to go, I had visions of really picking up the pace and finally settling into the groove I'd been struggling to find the entire time. This adorable notion came to a screeching (or, more realistically, shuffling) halt right at the 12-mile marker, when I came face to face with a long, gradual, unrelenting uphill for almost the entire final mile. These are the times when I'm glad I don't personally wear a Garmin, because I'm embarrassed to see what that split must've been. Kudos to the full marathoners who finish in the same fashion, because it was soul-crushing enough at the end of the half. I haven't been this relieved or disappointed in myself when crossing a finish line in quite some time, equal parts thrilled to be done and perplexed by why my best effort today was so, well, underwhelming. I've got a long, long way to go before I'm ready to race 26.2; that much is clear.

But who has time to pout when there's so much action going on? I spent the next few hours enjoying the refreshments in the elite tent and waiting for my marathoning friends to finish. Local standout Erica Jesseman crushed her personal best and the NEF record with a blistering 2:38:13, followed closely by Hilary just a few seconds off her Boston PR in 2:39:40. My newest training buddy Sarah Bard destroyed her previous best by a whopping two-and-a-half minutes to finish third overall in 2:43:16, just a quarter of a minute shy of the 2016 Olympic Trials standard. On a faster course I have no doubt she'll hit it, and I'm already sending her some not-so-subliminal messages about joining me at CIM in December. It was also cool to see Karhu devotee Alicia Eno, whom I met the previous day, break the 3:20 mark in her 88th lifetime marathon. I'll be happy to finish my fourth later this year!

Stef, me and Sarah in the elite tent post-race. Why does the one of us who just ran a full marathon look the freshest?!

Speaking of finishing, for the rest of the day my final placing seemed to be a little bit up in the air. The "unofficial" race day results (which were, incidentally, emailed out to each participant in what seemed like a relatively definitive fashion) listed me as fourth (and still do, for some reason), yet I was almost positive there were four women who'd crossed the line in front of me. Did one person somehow drop out without me realizing? Was she disqualified? Registered for the wrong race? Or were the race day results simply incorrect? I wasn't invested in the outcome for reasons of personal pride or satisfaction, but simply because there would be a somewhat significant difference in prize money if I were to be ultimately listed as fourth instead of fifth. After a few emails back and forth with the timing company, it was confirmed the following day that I had indeed finished fifth as I'd originally thought. I guess these winnings will only buy me one Anthropologie dress instead of two!

In all seriousness, I had an amazing experience at the race this weekend and I'm incredibly grateful to the Hartford Marathon Foundation and the New England's Finest program for supporting local and regional elite/sub-elite athletes. This is truer than ever now, on the heels of several large organizations (cough Competitor Group cough) cutting funding and support for runners like us. Thank you, Hartford, for realizing that it matters, and that we matter. For as long as you plan to continue the NEF program, I hope to participate!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mile Repeat Tuneup

2.5 mile w/u + strides
Target: 5-6 x1 mile @5:40 or faster w/3 mins. rest
Actual: 5:38, 5:39, 5:38, 5:36, 5:31
1.5 mile c/d
Total: 15k

Another early, chilly morning with Jordan on the roads. The objective today was to get in some quicker--but not ridiculous--mile repeats; enough to tax the legs but not so much as to leave them exhausted for Saturday's race. I accomplished this well enough and felt pretty good. I could've probably recovered enough after #5 to bang out one more rep in the 5:35-5:40 range, but instead I opted to leave a little in the tank for Saturday. Hope it pays off!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week in Review

98 miles
5 doubles
5 attempts for 2 workouts
no long run

This wraps up a five-week streak averaging 100 miles (105, 100, 96, 100, 98). This week's workouts posed particular challenges, albeit for very different reasons, but ultimately I was able to execute the quality work. I'm looking forward to a massage tomorrow night, another solid workout on Wednesday morning, and then a two-week mini-taper before the Hartford half on Saturday. 

Sunday Redemption: It's Not Just For Church

Saturday, 10/5
AM: 3 mile w/u
Target: 10k @MP (37:30, 6 min/mile); 5 mins. jog; 5k @HMP (18:15, 5:50/mile)
Actual: 5k @~6 min. pace
2 mile c/d
Total: 8 miles
PM: 5 miles
Daily total: 13 miles

Sunday, 10/6
2.5 mile w/u
Target: Above + 1k @faster
Actual: 10k @37:25; 5k @18:15; 1k @3:23
1.5 mile c/d
Total: ~14 miles

Saturday morning, I laced 'em up and headed out to do this workout by myself.

And failed miserably.

I'm not really sure what it was; a confluence of factors, probably. One, I was absent my stalwart queenmaker, who was busy at a work event. Secondly, I don't wear a Garmin. Logistically this wasn't really an issue as I know all the distance markers on the 5k loop that we typically use for this type of effort, but mentally it proved quite challenging. I found myself constantly unsure of how fast (or slow) I was running and thus constantly feeling like I needed to push harder, which simultaneously led to this feeling way too hard to be marathon pace, which turned into a vicious cycle of discouragement and self-doubt. When I passed through 5k feeling less than stellar, I simply stopped.

But, the important part is that I wanted to try again. (So long as it was with someone who could drag me along and do all the hard work while I tucked in and tried to relax.) The next afternoon, I did just that. Initially, I was angry with myself for delaying the effort--the weather had deteriorated significantly since the previous day, and by Sunday afternoon it was cold and drizzly and windy and just generally inclement--but Jordan remained confident we could get it done. So confident, in fact, that he promised a "bonus" fast kilometer at the end designed to really kick things up a notch when I was feeling tired.

I would be lying if I said it magically felt easy with Jordan at the helm. It didn't, and the 10k segment still wasn't quite at an effort level I'm currently capable of maintaining for another 20 miles. When I was just about 100% convinced that I couldn't run any faster after the 5k effort, Jordan urged me to give it one final push for a fast 1k. Somehow I managed to finish the workout feeling strong, and exceedingly pleased that I hadn't managed to completely screw everything up the day before. I still have a long way to go, but workouts like this are critical stepping stones in the right direction.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Losing the Battle(s), Winning the War

Tues, 10/1
AM: 5 miles easy
PM #1: 4 miles + strides
PM #2: 7 miles moderate

Wed, 10/2
AM: 3 mile w/u + strides
Target: 4x400 @80 w/60 sec. rest; 4x800 @2:44 w/90 sec. rest; 4x1000 @3:30 w/2 min. rest; 4x400 @78 or faster w/60-90 sec. rest
Actual: 79, 79, 78, 79; 2:44, 2:44, 2:44, 2:42; 3:27, 3:27, 3:27, 3:27; 76, 77, 76, 74
1.5 mile c/d
Total: 11 miles

What is it they say about the best laid plans?

Attempt #1 for this workout was Tuesday at lunch. I jogged an easy warmup to the Beverly High track, did some strides and drills, and was just about to rip into my first interval when the track was swarmed by a PE class the approximate size of my high school. Unruffled, I waited around for a few minutes to see if the melee would at some point amalgamate into some semblance of order, but instead it seemed they were just planning to run around all over the track and infield and everywhere in between to their heart's content. I shuffled back to the office, fuming, but at the same time resolving to stay the course and try again after school business hours.

Just before 3pm, my boss headed out for the day. Knowing he would drive right by the school, I asked him to let me know if it was open. A few minutes later I got the all clear and, seeing as how I hadn't so much as changed shirts since my jog a few hours ago, I was off to the races again. This time I decided to skip the extended warmup entirely, so less than three minutes from leaving the office (which couldn't have been more than eight minutes after my boss's text) I was literally back on track and ready for action.

And then, hell intervened again in the form of a field hockey game. I shit you not, less than thirty seconds after I stepped up to begin my first stride, two separate teams of girls (and their coaches, and parents, and big sisters and other extended family members) descended upon the track, tossing their luggage-sized backpacks here and there without a care, strewn haphazardly across lanes one and two like it was their own respective bedroom floors.

Needless to say, I gave up--for the time being. Discouraged, downtrodden, defeated in this battle, I vowed to come back and win the war at 6:30am the following morning before school work. Sure enough, come Wednesday morning those little delinquents were still tucked soundly in their beds and I had the entirely facility to myself. At long last, I win!

Oh yeah, and as for the workout itself, I nailed it. Trying to hit 10k pace and faster, solo, early in the morning isn't necessarily a recipe for success, but I got it done fairly comfortably. Perhaps I was fueled by yesterday's rage.