Sunday, September 5, 2010

I didn't think I could do it, but I did

This post is about my speedwork* run on Wednesday. It seems a bit odd to be doing it now, after I've already moved on to my long run on Friday, and beyond, but I actually wrote most of it on Thursday and just didn't have time to finish. So a little editing later, I'll just finish it now.

On Wednesday morning I decided to do my run in the afternoon. It was a pretty silly decision because I was wide awake and my legs felt okay, but I decided that it would be better for my body and mental health to loll in bed instead getting dressed and hitting the still-dark streets. (This dark morning thing? Gonna be hard to get used to.) One of the primary rationales I used (and it wasn't bad) was that the track for my planned 800's would be wet and muddy after a night of rainfall (true) and it would be in better shape by the forecasted sunny afternoon (also true).

Let me not say that it was a completely bad decision, because I certainly did enjoy the extra bed time, reading and eventually watching the Today Show. It was a little unfortunate that I'd already had a pre-run snack at 5:30 (half a PR bar). But I still had my full breakfast at 8, of course.

Then I went about the day setting myself up for run failure in the afternoon. Not intentionally of course. But I knew I was making things harder for myself...but yet went forward with my reckless behavior.

The main problem I created was overeating at lunch and not stopping eating during the afternoon. Okay, I wasn't quite as bad as that sounds. My office was hosting a lunch party so the menu was a little more lavish than I am used to at lunch. I wasn't too excessive. I ate lightly dressed Caesar salad and a serving of chicken salad, fruit and just a dab of potato salad and pasta salad. And, er, two rolls...legit carb loading, I would say. A little more troublesome but still acceptable (dietwise) was a sliver of red velvet cake and an even smaller sliver of carrot cake.

The real downfall was the cookies I kept nibbling at, breaking off pieces until I finished the entire least a couple of times.

After lunch I was comfortably full and I knew the best thing to do was not eat for the rest of the afternoon so my stomach could empty before I ran.

BUT after I went to a long meeting then returned to the office, there were those cookies, just waiting. More breaking and nibbling commenced (though I resisted the other leftovers and cake!). End result was that my stomach never felt empty, even when I left the office after 5:00.

On the positive side, my legs still felt good (the extra rest helped, I'm sure), and I felt less beat up and emotionally drained than I usually do at the end of a work day.

I hustled home and changed my clothes with only a little bit of second thinking. I made it out the door around 6:00. It was still sunny and pretty warm (though not hot). I didn't bother with sunglasses because I knew the sun would drop before the end of my run, but I experienced quite a bit of squinting during the first few miles, especially on stretches when I was running west!

It was speedwork Wednesday, which meant 800's** this week (eight???). I decided to start out with three miles of warm-up around my neighborhood. And oh, did my legs feel sluggish and heavy. I chugged along, pushing to get near a 10-minute pace. By the end of the 5K warm-up I was doing about 9:30 (still only averaged 10:05 per mile for that chunk of mileage) and despaired at the idea of doing any kind of fast track work.

I considered so many alternatives. Well, primarily one alternative, which was skipping the 800's and just doing a regular medium-length run. Where I got stuck was how to make up the 800's. It would be pointless to plan for Thursday morning, because that would just put me into too many consecutive running days, especially with a loooong run planned for Friday. I didn't want to do them next week because it will be too close to the Fairhaven 15K on Saturday to stress my legs in that fashion.

So I settled on giving it a try and seeing what happened. I hit the track, reset my Garmin, and pushed off my first lap around the track. And what happened? To my great shock, 3:55 (.51 mile at 7:38 pace). (From now on I'll just refer to the pace for each split, as the distance varies slightly, which affects the actual time.) I never start out that fast! Usually I start slower and then pick up the pace. This time my pace actually slowed a little bit throughout the duration of my 800's, but I did stay under 8-minute pace for each, and finally picked it up again at the end.

I tried to concentrate my form and foot strike, instead of just trying to "run fast," but it's always a challenge. For most of my laps there were two women walking the track with their dogs, and though they always let me pass I am convinced I slowed a tiny bit while going around them.

As usual, through at least the first five I was completely uncertain that I could make it to eight. Thoughts of cutting short ran rampant! But after five, there is nothing to do but stick it out. For the final one, I turned off my iPod and, as usual, finished faster. My splits overall were half miles at paces of: 7:38, 7:42, 7:50, 7:51, 7:51, 7:58, 7:54, 7:38.

Between each 800 I jogged about a quarter of a mile back around the track in the opposite direction. I eventually figured that my total distance, with the 800's and approximately 400 meter recovery jogs, would be six miles. So, what if I added a fast 400 at the end and make it 10K total? So I did.

Final quarter mile sprint 1:53, which was .26 mile at 7:10 pace. Total distance (for the speedwork and recovery)--10K (6.22 miles) in 52:14, average pace 8:23. That's doesn't include the time I spent standing at the beginning of each 800, gazing around the circumference of the track. Procrastination or mental preparation? You be the judge.

Afterwards I jogged about .75 mile home (to make 10 miles total) and then walked about a quarter mile around the block. Just 'cause. That 1.02 mile, with .75 jogging and .27 walking, took 13:02.

So, to go back to the title of this post, I was sure this speedwork would be a complete FAIL, and instead, it was a complete success! Hurrah!

After the long run on Friday I was going to take Saturday off, but decided instead to just take today off. On Saturday I ran 3.1 miles to the Y (30:01), did an hour on the elliptical, then walked home and to Starbucks (2.75 miles). Then spent the evening at Bumbershoot, culminating in the Bob Dylan performance that night. Several hours standing during the concert must be good training for the legs, right? They were certainly tired enough after!

Tomorrow (which at the time of this writing is Monday, Labor Day), I am doing the Super Jock & Jill Half Marathon. My plan (hope?) is to do it as a marathon-pace training run. Just to remind myself that I can run a long distance at 9:00 pace. I CAN!

Have great Labor Day!

*Is it speedwork or speed work? I'm never quite sure, but at least I will try to be consistent within a post, if not from one to the next.

**A friend of mine wrote a mildly ranting :) blog post about the misuse of apostrophes. I give my credit for knowing all the rules of apostrophe use and think I always do it right; however, there is one situation where I am perennially confused, and that is the plural for numbers. Is it 800s or 800's? Well, the rule is clear, but it doesn't answer my debate:

Rule 11.
The plurals for capital letters and numbers used as nouns are not formed with apostrophes.

She consulted with three M.D.s. BUT She went to three M.D.s' offices. The apostrophe is needed here to show plural possessive.
She learned her ABCs.
the 1990s not the 1990's
the '90s or the mid-'70s not the '90's or the mid-'70's
She learned her times tables for 6s and 7s.

Use apostrophes with capital letters and numbers when the meaning would be unclear otherwise.

Please dot your i's.

You don't mean is.

Ted couldn't distinguish between his 6's and 0's.

You need to use the apostrophe to indicate the plural of zero or it will look like the word Os. To be consistent within a sentence, you would also use the apostrophe to indicate the plural of 6's.

Got it? So, 800's or 800s????


Aka Alice said...

I am such a sucker for a good blog post about the proper use of THE apostrophe.

I too am weak when it comes to nibbling on cookies. I'm just better off to not even start (same hold true for chips...which is my problem today.)

P said...

I'm with AKA Alice on this one - posting about grammar makes my day! I would write 800s, personally. The rampant misuse of apostrophes makes me want to use them as sparingly as possible. :-)
Awesome job on your speedwork (I'm pretty sure it's one word)!

lindsay said...

yeahhh not so much a grammar police here. lol. i'm sure i use things wrong all the time! i would go with 800s myself.