Saturday, October 26, 2013

Faking it

I did another track workout on Friday, after a hill workout on Tuesday and no running Wednesday or Thursday. My strategy of only running hard isn't working out that well, as my right hip was sore Tuesday afternoon. The time off and ibuprofen seemed to do the trick, as I had no issues with it Friday morning.

We were supposed to do 3 x 2 mile, an old favorite of mine and Greg's. Apparently during the week some emails went around about that being too boring on the track, so Mark came out to re-wheel a mile off the track so we could split the difference between the roads and the rubber. As an added bonus, the UVA guys were out doing 300s, and for some reason their coach decided to turn on the lights! I'll admit, I was pretty excited to run under the lights. I hadn't done that since high school, as there are no lights on the track at JM or Mary Washington, and my track racing has been largely limited to those venues.

Anyway, it was also cold as hell. My car said it was 32 degrees, but a better estimate would be 36 degrees. Pretty cold. Thomas, Dave, Sallie and I were working out, and we decided to do the first two intervals split between the road and the track, and the last one completely on the track. That was largely by my request, as I knew that one would be the fastest and I wanted it to be even on the track. I also needed to change my shoes after the first one, because I wanted to start in trainers before switching to the Bostons, for some reason.

So off we went, starting from the start/finish line, out the track, and out the gate, up towards the law school. Mark had a cone set up for us to turn around at, and I split us at 2:50. Going back, which was much more downhill than the way out, we got to the start/finish line at 2:46, 5:37 for the mile. The UVA guys were coming up fast on the home stretch as we entered the fence, and I was happy that they made it through the line before we got there. But then they stopped! They were jogging the curve and running the rest of the oval hard. So we had an awkward moment with them trying to get around them with some of them moving out into lane 2 and some not. It was fine, just funny. We all stayed composed and no one ran into anyone, so that's what really mattered. We stuck to lane 2 on the backstretch because they went barreling by us immediately. It went like that for the whole second mile. I was dead even on those laps, running back to back 2:39s for a 5:19 mile, 10:56 for the total.

I'd been apprehensive the week before when my first two mile was 11:02. But I was running with Dave and Thomas and I felt relaxed, although cold, so I just sucked it up. I changed my shoes while they jogged a lap with Charlie and realized I'd stopped my Garmin. Ugh.

Into the second interval, I was feeling good. Unlike the first one, I ran in the lead off of the road. We were shooting for the same effort, if not the same pace, but it just felt a lot easier. That's the beauty of doing the first one in trainers I suppose. We got to the cone and I thought it was the same time, but on second glance, I saw we were seven seconds faster at 2:43. We rolled back in a very controlled 2:44 and got back onto the track, giving us 5:28 for the mile. This time, the UVA guys were about to finish their interval as we approached the line, which made me more apprehensive. Instead of getting passed by them immediately, I spent each lap looking back to make sure they weren't there yet. It was definitely an exercise in control. The UVA coach, Pete Watson, said something to us, I'm not sure. I think he told us that we weren't going to have to worry until the last 50 meters. I don't know, I'm making that up. But I was worrying the while time!

My splits were perfect for the 2nd mile. I lead for three laps, going through both 800s in 2:36 to finish  the interval in 10:41 after a 5:13 second mile. On the last lap, Thomas and Dave picked it up just a little bit and gapped me. It wasn't like I got dropped, I was just maintaining and staying relaxed. I knew I had another one to do. This worried Thomas though, as he later told me that he said to Charlie he thought I was going to be toast for the third one. The real excitement came from some of the UVA kids trying to run me down on their last 300. I could feel them coming and I moved into lane 2 (not sure why, honestly, as it was their finish and my finish), but as I eased through the line and turned my head, two or three guys came flying up to me. As I turned to jog my recovery lap, I heard some of the other UVA guys yelling at those guys, saying "That's not what this workout is for!" I guess they shouldn't have chased the carrot.

Third mile, time to run fast. I was worried though, and said to Dave that there was no way I could run sub-5 pace. I felt like that is how he and Thomas were going to wrap this up. He said we'd start at 5:15. Just as we got to the line, the lights went out. I didn't even realize that the sun had risen, so it was a little bit surprising to still be able to see. I enjoyed the lights though. Couldn't they have stayed on for another 11 minutes?

Off we went. I was in the back immediately, but no worry. First 200 in 39. 400 in 79. Good. Just run 79 and I'll be good. Next three laps, right on pace, 78s. 5:14 high for the mile, right on their heals. Good. 77 for lap 5, am I going to bring it down? No, next lap, 78, but I'm right on Dave's heals. 7th lap 76, literally on Dave's heals as I stepped on them one or two times on accident. I think my stride was getting ready to go before his, and it chopped me up. He took the motivation and ran the heck away from me, trying to catch Thomas, and I just maintained. I would have liked to have run my last lap a little faster than 78, but I was happy with a 5:11 mile. I closed it out with a 10:25. Good work.

Last week I ran an 11:02, did some 800s at 5-minute pace, and then ran an 10:23. This week, I did 3 sets of 2 miles in 10:56, 10:41, and 10:25. I think that is progress. I really thought of last week as a wake up call, so it was nice to see this week that it wasn't just a fluke.

Mark talked to me briefly while I was changing my shoes about 3 Bridges and wanting to have a conversation about the pacing. I've been under the wrong idea that it was 6:25 pace. Makes no real difference to me, I'll just run that pace instead. We talked a little bit about how my training is going, and he thinks that the relaxed approach that I'm taking is helpful. Hopefully. Only time will tell. I too him that I'm able to do these workouts now, but that I don't have the strength that Dave and Thomas have since I'm only running 5-6 days a week and my mileage is so low, that when we get towards the end, I'm just a lot more fatigued than they are. He told me that I must be really good at faking it.

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