Sunday, May 4, 2014

Big Weekend Workout(s)

Saturday, May 3rd
9am: Target: 8-10 mile progression from 7:00-6:20
Actual: 9.75 miles w/8 steady @6:26 avg. (7:12, 6:26, 6:29, 6:26, 6:29, 6:23, 6:28, 6:19, 6:27, .75 @7:15 pace)
4pm: Target: 10 miles @MP (6:05-6:10)
Actual: 2.25 mile w/u
10 miles @61:00/6:06 avg. (6:14, 6:06, 6:08, 6:06, 6:04, 6:07, 6:00, 6:06, 6:03, 6:03)
.5 mile c/d
Total: 12.75
Daily total: 22.5

Sunday, May 4th
2.25 mile w/u
Run for HAWC "5 Miler" in 29:40 (actually 4.82): 5:55, 6:06, 6:10, 6:20, 5:08 @6:15 pace 
1st place female; $150
3 mile c/d
Total: 10 miles

Weekly total: 95

Whew! Just writing down all the above details took a considerable amount of energy. The fact that all three of these workouts took place within a 24-hour period means I definitely earned the 2+ hour nap with my kitty this afternoon! I'm glad to have this monster block behind me and even more pleased with the outcome.

If you've been following my blog for a while (and if you haven't, what else could you possibly have been doing with your spare time??), you know that usually once a training block I embark on a "double workout day." In the past, this has typically consisted of something shorter and faster in the morning, like a 10k tempo, followed by a longer effort at marathon pace in the evening. The focus is always on the second session, with the objective being to simulate the fatigue of the marathon and practice running fast on already heavy legs. Before Philly, I crushed both sessions and achieved arguably the greatest distinction of my running career, dropping a half-injured, totally unfit Jordan twice in one day. Prior to CIM, I had to get creative due to weather and ended up pounding out a 10k tempo on the indoor track at Harvard (that's a cool 50 laps) and then struggling mightily during a solo point-to-point tempo in hurricane force winds later that afternoon.

This time around, Coach Jordan was either feeling unusually beneficent or seriously doubting my fitness, because he scheduled my morning workout as a fairly relaxed uptempo run rather than something faster than marathon race pace. We set out together on our familiar "double bridge loop," a loop in the true sense of the word that runs from Salem to Beverly and back again without ever doubling over itself. This route is not particularly fast, with plenty of zigs and zags and several rolling sections, but that was sort of the point. Jordan wanted this to feel as much like a "normal" run as possible, allowing my legs to settle into pace naturally. Fortunately I had no problem doing so, and save for a few tricky sections--a gusty incline up the Beverly Bridge in mile 7, and Jordan sprinting to (unsuccessfully) chase down a curmudgeonly driver who honked at us in mile 2--this felt like a jog. The pace fluctuated naturally with the terrain and wind direction, and I never felt like I was pressing or strained. With my legs only moderately fatigued, I was confident round two would be a breeze.

After what seemed like only a few short hours of lounging around trolling the interwebs, Sarah arrived at our door ready for the marathon paced tempo. Have I mentioned how glad I am that she decided to stick things out after a disappointing Boston and run Vermont with me?? With our queenmaker at the helm, we set off on a course that would take us from Salem into Marblehead and back with a short addition at the end. There was only one problem: I was dying. From the outset. My legs felt heavy, my breathing was short and erratic, and I was by no means comfortable at the pace I was supposed to be able to maintain for almost three hours. In hindsight, I think this was because we were charging straight into a 15-mph headwind down an unusually busy street (damn you nice weather for bringing the Salem tourists out in droves). If nothing else, I can find solace in the fact that there's no possible way the marathon will be this much of a cluster--weaving in and out of cars and pedestrians, creatively crossing busy intersections, ignoring various and sundry catcalls (and the creepy guy who drove sloooowly alongside us for almost a quarter mile blasting terrible '90s music like some sort of unrequited soundtrack). This run was neither easy nor particularly fun for me, but all that matters is we got it done on the faster end of our desired pace range and still had enough energy to walk over to our favorite neighborhood pub for a celebratory drink afterward.

Needless to say, I woke up on Sunday morning without the desire to move, much less run, much less run quickly. However, it had been brought to my attention earlier in the week that a race was taking place in Salem that started and finished less than half a mile from our house and offered a tempting $150 prize purse. How could we not jog over and give it a shot?? But after shuffling through two creaky warmup miles at a blistering 8:15 pace, I was less than optimistic. If attaining the victory meant running a single step under six minute pace, I was screwed. Fortunately, all our hopes and dreams came true. No one showed up and the course was short! In fact, my new friend Mariah, whom I met through Larissa last weekend, decisively took second--and she was only running the race as part of her long run. As expected, my legs were utterly and completely trashed and I artfully executed a textbook positive split. (A stiff headwind for the entire second half didn't exactly help.) If yesterday's afternoon effort was meant to feel like the second half of a marathon, this morning definitely felt like the last five miles.

Not a bad way to start the morning: JoKin and I both bringing home the W (and the Benjamins)
But overall, I'm pleased. And tired. Very, very tired. The upcoming week will be a delicate balance of recovering from this weekend's shenanigans and still stringing together one more big chunk of high mileage and respectable workouts before starting the gradual taper process. It all hinges on a very unscientific combination of compression socks, pizza, Nuun, kale smoothies and wine.

T-minus three weeks! 

better than water


Unknown said...

Whoa! Meagan you are a rockstar! I could not have done that! It is so interesting to read about your double workouts, and it really makes a lot of sense!

I do not think my coach would ever go for it, as I do not even run a single double with my 80 miles, but I love to follow along with you, and it seemed to work! Excited to see how you get on in a few weeks :)