Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Back in the Groove

From June 9th

Hello fellow runners,
It has been 2 weeks since my epic 50K adventure, so I thought it was time for an update for you all.

I took 4 days off after the 50K, and caught a little cold in that time, but I had an important run date on Saturday that I didn't want to miss, so I got up early and drove an hour into the mountains to run 13 miles for the Mountain Goat Graduation Run! My legs were not really that sore after the 50K - nothing like marathon pain - and I felt like an "easy" 13 would not be a problem. A sensible person would have skipped it, but I kind of like this goat group and wanted to join in the festivities.

Turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year so far, it would hit 95 later in the day, and we were running in the hot mountains. Part of the course was on the Bulldog course that I raced a few years ago that about killed me in 90+ degree heat. Luckily there was only one nasty hill.
And the goats called it a race and would be recording times (for fun) but of course that made me want to "do my best" and push a little harder than I probably should. Whatever. I was feeling pretty darn invincible after that 50K. I can do anything!!!! So off we went.

It was warm (70s). And hilly. But also very fun trail running. We started in two waves, with the 'slower' people leaving 15 minutes ahead of the 'faster' people (we could pick our own group). So I got to see most of the group during the run as I caught up with the slower people. There were also some out and back sections, so we got to see a lot of each other. It was a fun social run.

I wasn't really racing, but I tried to keep up an honest pace. Toward the end I got a bit dehydrated in the heat, and had to walk a bit more than usual on the uphills, but I made it in alive. I think I was 5th place (no results posted). Pace was 9:47 for 12.7 miles. That plus Monday's 31 miles made it my biggest week of the year, in 2 runs!

Then we hung out and ate food from a potluck picnic, and silly awards were handed out as well as diplomas for the newbies. How awesome is this?
 goat 001


As another week began I plotted out my training goals for the next few months. No more ultra or marathon training this year. Nothing more than a half until next Spring. So I would change my focus to speed and see if I could get that elusive sub-20 5K this year. I also want to do a 1-mile race in August and see if I can go sub-6.

My first 5K is July 4th, so I have 4 weeks to get ready. So Thursday I headed to the track for the first of 4 weekly speed workouts. I haven't been to the track all year, and have only done a couple of speed days during marathon training, so I knew I had a long way to go. Plus my body is probably still recovering from that 50K. And I still had post-cold snottiness going on. So I gave myself plenty of excuses and decided on "only" 6x800 at whatever pace I could manage.

Last year I was doing 800 repeats at about 3:05, but I was thinking 3:15 would be fine. Or even 3:30 if that's all I could muster. Just needed to get out there and set a baseline for the "summer of speed". I jogged over to the high school track and took one easy lap to get to a 1.5 mile warmup, and then jumped into #1.

It felt pretty good to run fast again. I didn't feel exceptionally smooth or light or fast, but I wasn't lumbering too badly either. Garmin had me at 6:20 pace after 200, but I knew G is always a little fast on the track. I maintained pretty well and finished strong with a 3:17.

OK, I can live with that. One lap recovery jog and #2 was a little harder, but, 3:18. #3 I was getting tired and managed 3:21.

After 3 I started walking 100 meters and then jogging 300 in the recovery. That helped. The last 3 were 3:20, 3:19 and 3:16, proving I still had a little left in the tank. I called it good and jogged home.

So, given the tired legs and lack of speed training, I'll take that as a good baseline. Next week will be 400s to see if I can get those fast-twitch muscles back in shape. Maybe 10x400 sounds good. See how close I can get to 90 seconds.

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