Friday, February 22, 2013

Let's See What's Left in These Tires

Well, training has been going pretty well. The last 4 weeks have been solid, averaging 30 miles/week, and the knee pain has subsided to a minor irritant. So basically, I'm back.

So, with a 5K booked for next week, I figured it was time for some speed work. I haven't done any since September (!!!) since, you know, I've been hurt. Wow, time flies. So I wasn't sure what I had in me. But my endurance is good, so I decided on 4x1, my favorite workout. Last January I did these in under 6:40, but I was in really good shape then. In September I averaged 6:54. I figured I would shoot for 7:00 (or just under) and see what I had.

So the workout is 1 mile warmup, 4x1 mile repeats with 1/2 mile cooldowns, and 1 mile easy to finish up. 7.5 miles. I get to run these on the bike path at the beach so it was straight out and back. It was chilly - high 40's! Brrr! And quite windy, so the wind chill was like, mid 40's! So I broke out the tights and a long sleeve T.

So I trot down and start #1, and the wind is blowing hard. Feels good to push hard. First check and I'm at 7:15. Dang, push harder. Pace still shows 7:12. I am pushing harder and hurting more than I think I should for 4x1, and yet the pace will not drop. Dang it, I guess I am still in sorry shape. I keep fighting it, on the verge of lactic acid buildup. Finish #1 in 7:11. Crap.

But, it was windy. It often is windy at the beach, usually blowing off the water, so while it feels like it is in your face both ways, it really isn't. But during my cooldown I noticed some flags blowing almost straight South. So I really was fighting the wind this time, and could look forward to having it behind me for the last two. That lightened my spirit. Plus my first one is always my slowest. So I still hoped to see some sub 7's.

As I started #2 another runner had started running just in front of me. I figured I would be passing him shortly, but he was moving at a good clip, coincidentally right at my pace! So I trailed him by about ten yards. It was perfect. About a half mile in he pulled away a little, but as I neared the finish I started catching him. That helped me push even harder and I passed him with about .05 left, and then immediately slowed as I finished. I told him "Thanks for the tow!" as he went by. 7:08 - but it felt better.

Turned around during the cooldown, and sure enough, the wind seemingly disappeared. Which meant it was blowing behind me. Woo Hoo! #3 was fun! Pace was immediately below 7, and it felt easier. I was flying, and that just made me want to run faster. Toward the end I was feeling the pain, but I finished strong. 6:45!!! (Insert dancing banana here)

#4 was more of the same. More work, less joy, as I was feeling the fatigue, but I pushed hard and managed another 6:45. So my total average was 6:57. Success!

So, I'm feeling good. Planning to go for sub-7 pace in the 5K next week. But first, I'm going back to the hills tomorrow with the Mountain Goats. Plan is to do my long run, with hills, so it will be an endurance test. 17 miles. The hills won't be as bad as last week, and I have a friend to run the whole thing with, so it should be fun.

Y'all have a great weekend!

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