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!


Caitlin Bullock said...

nice use of my name, I like it.