“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lame, but with some speed

I'm totally lame.  I wrote this on Thursday and failed to publish it.  But, my running wife told me this morning that too much time hadn't passed, and I could still post it.  Go complain to her if you don't like it.  :D
Oh.  I will Mommy.  I will.
So.  Last night I participated in my first ever track work out.  Assuming we aren't counting the time in middle school when my dad and my soccer coach thought it would be good for me to run some laps at the track with the track team and I thought I was dying.

Aside from that, this was my first track workout.  The plan was relatively simple.  Those from my running group interested in a speed workout met at the high school.  We ran about 1.2 miles over to the middle school as a warm-up.  For the full marathoners the plan was 10x800m.  We were to run them in 1:1 intervals with a rest interval.  The duration of the rest interval was to be whatever time you spent running the previous 800m.

I was way too lazy to actually measure my non-running intervals, however, so my friend and I simple ran the next 800m when we felt sufficiently recovered from the previous 800m.  A couple times, we got it wrong, weren't fully recovered, and thus, the same or slower speed felt harder.

What was especially fun, is that last night in Columbus Ohio the temperature started at 33*F.  Feels like 22*F.   The wind was crazy.  I actually wore my Nike hyper warm base layer, and still had to put my running jacket back on for the last couple of 800m repeats.  The track was a standard 400m track, so for each repeat, you ran 2 laps.  The best part?  The home long stretch, the one we both started and ended on, was directly into the wind.  (Conversely, the opposite side long stretch had a tail wind).  Coming around the corner directly into that wind after the first lap was some of the hardest running I've ever done.  From a mental stand point anyway.

I seem to fail at a lot of these speed work sessions on a mental level.  I feel slow, I feel alone, I start doubting myself in every way possible...until ultimately, I decide that running on the trail would be more fun and I leave.  In fact, I have cut short the last two speed work sessions and just run extra miles on the Olentangy Trail.  Not my finer moments.

To combat that, this week, I bought a completely non-intellectual romance audio book (if they have sex in a romance audio book, does that mean I'm listening to porn???)  My thought being, if I could engage my mind, maybe I could keep all those self-doubt voices at bay.  Then, I forgot my iPod in my car.  I decided not to go back for it, because if I lost sight of the speedy people at the front of the pack, I wouldn't know where we were going.  (I'd never been with the group on a track night before.  The last one was while I was in Colorado).

As it turns out, on the track, I didn't need it.  Being able to see everyone else while doing my own thing made it so much easier mentally.  Knowing I got to rest after every 800m didn't hurt either!

I took off for my first 800m, but I'd forgotten to change my Garmin to display lap pace instead of average pace, so I had no idea how fast I went, despite remembering to reset my lap after the warm-up.  During my break, I looked.  3 minutes and 43 seconds to run 800m.  In other words, I ran a 7:30 min/mile for 800m.  I didn't even know that was possible.  I was actually a little freaked out and vowed that I would go slower on the second 800m.  Next 800m?  7:41 min/mile.  Not really what I meant by slower.

Then I teamed up with another guy who is running Big Sur.  We often run together on speed work because we're closer to the same pace.  (He holds back for me a bit).  The thought was we'd aim for doing 8:00 min/miles.  The next 800m was 7:35 min/mile.

Why was I trying to slow down?  I wanted to make it through the whole workout without quitting this time and didn't know if sub-8 was sustainable.  We eased off a bit after that, but wound up sustaining it for the entire workout.  A-FREAKING-MAZING.  That's how I felt afterwards.

The breakdown of the workout in min/mile for each lap.  W/U and C/D were over a mile, so my watch treats those as two laps:
w/u 1.2 miles: 9:59, 9:42
800's: 7:30, 7:41, 7:35, 7:42, 7:45, 7:48, 7:41, 7:47, 7:50:, 7:25
c/d: 10:34, 10:18

Before the last 800m, I told my running partner that if we stayed with the same pace, it would be the first time that I have ever done a training workout where ever non-warmup/cooldown lap was sub-8 min/miles.  So, after our first 400m, he yelled at me for a few seconds, "last lap, last lap, go, go, go".  It made me smile, and the result was our fastest 800m of the night.

We ran an easy pace back to our cars as a cool down (about 1.2 miles), and the stretched using my car as a wind block.  I thanked him for staying with me and helping push me at the end.  This really was one of my favorite workouts ever.

I got home and promptly pulled up all that pretty Garmin data on my computer.  I've never really seen a single 7:xx min/mile since I started running, so I got all kinds of warm fuzzies looking at 'em.

Then, after about an hour of messing around on the computer, I stood up.  And damn, was I stiff!  Stiffest I've ever been after a 7.5 mile run!  Totally worth it.

This morning, my left knee, the inner leg on the track workout, was tender.  My trainer said that was normal but that I needed to see if it progressed.  After my strength training this morning (all upper body, no legs), it felt back to normal though.

That was a lot of words for me to say that I really enjoyed the track workout.  Despite it being the first day of Spring and feeling NOTHING like Spring.   I got a little taste of what being fast feels like, something I typically read about on other blogs with lots of jealousy.  :D

Edited to add:  I wound up skipping my run on Thursday because I never felt recovered enough from the speedy workout.  I ate M&M's and skittles instead.  HA.  I felt a little bad about that until speaking to the two guys I ran with this morning.  Both of them took Thursday off as well.

Have you ever one of those giddy moments after a training run?  Please tell me I'm not alone!

As a reward for reading my mostly words several days late post - a picture from Avery's favorite game.  "Where go?"   As in - where did whatever I threw behind something...or whoever left the room....go?   It was super cute the first 20 times she did it.
Where go all the funny writing, Mommy?


  1. I'm impressed! With both your courage to enter the track (I'm not there yet) and your awesome pace! Go you :)

  2. Fantastic job!! 10x800 is a tough, tough workout. It's an amazing sense of accomplishment to run faster than you think you can, huh?!

  3. Those are awesome paces, Mandy! I should come do speed workouts with you so I can chase you :)

  4. I completely understand how you felt! I felt this way after my first track workout with the group here, and now I look forward to them (hill workouts with them? that's another story.....) Congrats, Mandy! I think you have a lot of speed in you. Just keep at it and you are going to blow yourself out of the water.


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