Thursday, July 21, 2011

Let's light it up!

I keep wanting to try to live like an elite athlete. I know I cannot run as fast as they can, but if I can follow their methods and efforts, maybe I'll reap some results. And so, I channel different elite runners at different times.

When I'm shopping for gluten free food, I'm thinking of Amy Yoder Begley and Stephanie Rothstein. I'm hopeful, hoping that I continue to get my diet straightened out, I'll see big results.

Since I am taking time away from the marathon to focus on shorter distance, I think of Desi Davila, who took time away to do track work, and then came in 4th in Chicago and 2nd in Boston. Looks like that plan worked for her!

Now that I am in California, I am channeling Deena Kastor, my big role model, more than ever. I can't sleep like her, but I can try. If you saw Spirit of the Marathon (one of my favorite movies), you saw Deena run through Mammoth Lakes, CA. That is about 9 hours away from me in Santa Cruz. I would like to go there someday and run on the trails that the Mammoth Track Club run on. But for now, I can run in Santa Cruz and hopefully take to the hills like her. Things are finally clicking on the hills of Santa Cruz. While it is still hard to climb 600 feet in elevation, it is becoming more doable. I am hoping to take that back home and flatten the normal hills.

I'm now adding someone else to imitate: Shannon Rowbury, the world championship medalist middle distance runner. Running Times published a pull out of 8 exercises she does on a regular basis. I don't have the hurdles available to do 2 of the exercises, but the rest have been really good, especially the ab stuff, since I always need to work on that. I really love taking on drills and exercises that I know the big deal people do.

What is it about the track that brings out a new level of energy and competition within in me? I don't know - track was never my thing, but now, track Tuesdays (tenacious Tuesdays) are my favorite training days of the week. In between intervals, I always do my recovery lap, and sometimes then grab a sip of Gatorade. Then, right before I start the next one, I sort of fold over, as if to clear up and stretch my legs, and then start again. This time, maybe it was because of the neon flats, my phrase kept being "let's light it up" - meaning, bring it on, let's set the track on fire. And I really felt like I did.

This was the workout: 2.5 mile warm-up; 6 x 150 meter strides; “The 1.5 mile workout”. Run 1.5 miles continuously. First 800
at 3:35, the second at 3:25, the third at 3:35. Run an 800 meter recovery jog. Run 1.5 miles continuously again. Run the first 800 , 3:22, second 800 at 3:32, third at 3:22. Run a
400 meter recovery jog. Do 2 x 800 meters. Aim for 3:20 for both (400 meter recovery jog in
between). 2.5 mile cool-down. The challenge on this is to change pace in a work-out, so try to
be as consistent as possible with hitting those times. Total: 10.5 miles

I did a bit better than predicted, and finished the 1.5 mile intervals at 10:15, and 10:05, and then 2 x 800 at 3:18, 3:16. All of my intervals were sub 6:50 pace, and while I was flying, I didn't feel like I was dying either. It wasn't too long ago that 3:18 800s would have been hard to reach, but that it turning into a more commonplace time. I was finishing strong, and while there was inevitably a sigh of relief as I hit each time, I didn't feel like I was going to collapse either. The track workout are meant to be hard, but not deadly. I am finally starting to learn how to go out and not kill it within the first 200 meters, but just settle in.

I think one of the challenges/adjustments I've noticed lately is that I need to mentally remind myself that I am capable of hitting these times and paces. Currently, there is something scary about sub 7 pace. I can do it in a 5k, but I know my training is aiming to bring my 10k pace to close to 7:00 (currently 7:12 pace for 10k PR). And I have to remind myself that sub 8 pace was scary for Boston, but it happened. And now it's time to adjust my expectations and fears again, and realize that I am capable of running this fast, and not just for a lap or two, but a consistent race.

Let's light it up!

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