Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The throw-down on the track

Cycle 2 of marathon training has commenced! And with a bang - today was mile repeats. I wanted to get them done before work and the heat, which meant the alarm sounded at 4:45. There is something about pre-5AM that seems, well, dark and obscenely early. I did my 2.5 mile warm up slowly, because there it can be so unfortunate to rush through a warm-up and discover halfway through that you used up too much energy then. Arrived at the track and it was time for my throw-down. Hadn't been on the track for intervals in 2 weeks (last week was fartleks on the road), so there is always something exciting about returning to it.
Today's task: 5 x1 mile repeats starting at 7:20 pace and knocking 5-7 seconds off per repeat. I had the track to myself (yes!), and so I took off. First one, 7:19. Alright, very close. Second one, 7:13, but admittedly, I slowed down a little so that I wouldn't knock off too much time. Third one, there was someone walking in lane 1 (my lane), so I had to dodge around them. 7:01. Aah! 12 seconds faster - this was really going to make the last two intervals really hard (and surely sub 7 minute miles). At this point, I am trying to go slow on the recovery lap in order to regroup and face the last two intervals. This is when my track workout turned into a wrestling match.
I am a grown-up - I take complete responsibility for running that third interval so fast. But now, I cannot back down and wimp out for the final two intervals. If I do and not hit my expected splits, I only have myself to blame, and I know I'll beat myself up for the rest of the day. So, it is a throw down: me vs. me. 4th interval: 6:55. Felt so fast, and it definitely freaked me out about my ability to do the final one. But lo and behold, 6:50! I did it! I was exhilarated - I beat myself! Even though I pushed hard, the later me pushed right back!
This is why I love track workouts. When they go well, they are a jump start to my day, and a small victory that no one can take away from me. So, I got an A for the day, and then did my 4 mile cool-down, which totaled the run to 13 miles. It's hard not to feel victorious having run almost a half-marathon before work, and that I won my throw-down.
Here's what the rest of my running week entails:

Wednesday, June 30: 6 miles easy.

Thursday, July 1: 9 miles easy.

Friday, July 2: OFF

Saturday, July 3: 18 miles; First 8 miles easy, 10 mile tempo, start at 8:25 pace and work down to 8:10.

Sunday, July 4: 8 miles easy

Total Mileage: 54 miles

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