Sunday, April 27, 2014

Four Weeks to Go...

...until Vermont City Marathon! In the midst of chaos with work and travel (more on that in a minute), the race seems to have snuck up on me. But just in time, I finally had what I would deem my "breakthrough workout" yesterday afternoon. I typically have one or two of these sessions during each training cycle (so, one outstanding workout for every handful that really, really stink)--you know, the rare occasion where you hit or even exceed your prescribed splits and actually feel strong doing it as opposed to counting down every excruciating second until you can just hurry up and get it over with already. Even better, yesterday's surprisingly-not-terrible workout came on the heels of the aforementioned life craziness, making it even more gratifying.

But first, the deets:
Target: 2x5 miles w/4-5 mins. rest: first set @6:05-6:10 pace; second set @5:50-6:00 pace
Actual: 5.01 miles in 30:09/6:01 pace (5:59, 6:08, 5:59, 5:59, 5:58); 5.05 miles in 29:20/5:49 pace (5:35, 5:57, 5:53, 5:52, 5:49, :15 @5:29 pace)
Results for second interval @Ring Around the Neck Five Miler 

The past 10 days have been a blur: working 10+ hour stretches at the Boston Marathon expo, making an ass of myself in the BAA 5k, carrying on my Marathon Monday tradition of running/spectating with friends in Wellesley, boarding a plane later that night bound for the Craft international sales meeting in Sweden, then capping off said sales meeting with a 22+ hour day of Stockholm sightseeing and return travel on Friday. After all that, plus a 12/4 double on Saturday with Sarah (who dropped midway through Boston due to some wicked quad cramping, which I was objectively disappointed about but selfishly pleased with as it meant she would be attempting to rally with me at VCM instead), I simply hoped I'd be able to somewhat approximate the desired splits on Sunday.

Fortunately, I had company--and for the second interval, lots of it, as we'd planned the workout around the Ring Around the Neck Five Miler in Marblehead. It's a great little race that we sponsor which runs to and from the downtown area with a delightfully scenic (and painfully hilly) loop of the Neck in the middle. Prior to, Sarah and I planned to run a preview loop of the course at marathon pace. With Jordan gamely on board as our queenmaker and the timing meticulously allotted down to the minute, we set out from the starting line eager to tackle this big girl workout (read: get it over with). Fearing the consequences of running the first loop too fast, my last words to Jordan before we started were: "Absolutely no splits under 6:00." Naturally, our first mile was 5:59, setting the tone for the day. Only the second mile, inherently impeded by the steepest hill on the entire Neck, approached a pace as slow as our original target. We finished with just enough time for me to jog to the nearby bathrooms and then to our car to inhale a gel. I returned to the start line mere seconds before the race started, still out of breath from the first five miles and my less than relaxing break. Was I really going to be able to run faster for round two?!

Fortunately/unfortunately, I kicked the second interval off with some generous time in the bank thanks to my friend Larissa taking off at a veritable sprint. Despite splitting 5:35 through the first mile I was still several steps behind her, and that's the closest I would get for the duration. A self-proclaimed hill hater, I thought I might catch her on the rolling middle section, but she ran strong and confident throughout and only put more distance on me as the race progressed. Still, I was pleased to finish only four seconds slower than at the same race last year--and this time I ran a frisky warmup lap first! Sarah came across the line close behind me, decisively banishing any lingering disappointment from Monday and showing that her fitness is better than ever. Just a few more weeks of workouts and long runs--and that pesky 26.2--separate us from taking an honest crack at the Olympic Trials standard in Vermont. After today, I finally feel confident that I'm well on my way.   

A podium sweep! Me, Larissa and Sarah...with Jordan creepily photobombing


Unknown said...

F You blogger for not letting my other comment come on here. 1. I am still sitting in just a towel. 2. Can’t wait to track you and Sarah. Will be so much more fun with a female racing buddy (sorry aaron - running with women lights a hotter fire under our ass to run faster). 3. Surprised you didn’t post the hot tub picture of Meb and say this is why he won Boston. 4. MISS YOU!!!!