Thursday, May 24, 2012

Running Vacation and a Solo 800

Generally, my lack of blogging can be attributed to 1 of 2 things: I am busy or running is not going swimmingly.  In this case, for last week, it was both.  It was my last week in DC full-time for the summer.  My brother graduated on Sunday from Notre Dame (very proud), so in addition to returning my parents' car to Rochester, we then got in the car and drove to South Bend.  In short, I drove 380 miles on Thursday all by myself (yes, I know, most 25 year olds have made such a road trip), then got in my parents car and we drove to South Bend on Friday.  Commencement was Sunday (really nice), and then we moved Ryan out and came home on Monday.  In total last week, I ran about 13 miles - lowest mileage since...June 2011?  And it can be described as such:
Last Tuesday, I had a big track workout scheduled.  I felt awful and tired as soon as I started running, and my left hip hurt.  I got to the track, did 4 lousy strides, and 1 interval, and then called it a day.  I did my cooldown and trotted home = 5 miles instead of 9.5
Wednesday: easy 5.  Felt better, no hip problems (must've just slept on it funny), but still tired.
Friday: easy 3.5 at home in Rochester.  No pain, still tired.
I didn't run at all over the weekend.  I wrote to Sarah and asked for my 800m time trial to be moved from Saturday to Tuesday and got her blessing on that.  Since I had had such an off week, I was hoping that this workout would go well, especially since it included a time trial.  I was also just hoping to get in a run that actually had good speed in it - not a run where I felt like I was struggling to just put one foot in front of the other.
This was the workout.  Nowadays, I've gotten to the point where I can memorize them, but I had to write this one down:
2.5 mile warm-up; 2x200 (40-42); 800 meter time trial; Aim to run 2:42 (81 second per lap pace); 3 mile run; 6 x 300 (69, 67, 65, 63, 62, 60) (jog about 200 meters between each); 2.5 mile cool-down. Total= 11 miles
I was very excited.  During the warmup, I felt like I had more energy than I had in a week.  I ran to my old high school track, switched into my flats, and did my 2 200s in 39 and 42.  Okay, I still have the speed, and I am totally able to do this.  Now, I must've misread this, and thought I was supposed to run a 2:40, which I thought was crazy fast.  A few weeks ago, our goal was 2:50, but Sarah readjusted it...but I remembered 2:40, not 2:42.  I had never ran an 80 second 400, now I was supposed to do 2 of them?  I told myself that no matter what, it was going to be over in less than 3 minutes.  And so, I started my watch and was off!  I went through the first 400 in 80 (fastest ever) and was a bit concerned about my ability to repeat the effort.  Sarah said that this was to be an all out sprint, and it definitely felt like that.  After 500 meters, I was just trying to hang on.  I did not dare look at my watch and I just wished I had someone else pushing me through this.  It was very hard to do it alone.  Everything just hurt and felt hot, and I staggered across the finish line.
So, only 4 seconds off of the goal!  Not too bad!  That was the fastest 800 I've ever ran by almost 10 seconds.  And it was very very hard.  This video was of Jenny Simpson's reaction to an 800 that she ran this weekend, and I couldn't agree more with the feeling.
And then I did my 3 mile run off the track, and returned for the 300s, which were fine, but man, I was tuckered out by the end.  The cooldown was more of a shuffle, but I felt like it was a major triumph.  Best run and best workout in over a week, and with just 2 weeks to go until my mile track race, I felt like I was back on track (pun-intended).  I wrote to Sarah afterwards, as usual, to let her know how it went.  She knew that things had been a bit off-kilter, and we were both hoping that this would be a success.  Her response,
Well, that's only 4 seconds off the new goal, so that's not so bad by yourself!  And that feeling of complete leg burn at 500 meters....welcome to the 800!  I hope you feel good that you were able to do that time, and hopefully that also makes the mile splits seem even easier in comparison. 
And I do think that will be the case.  This also showed that some time off was just the thing I needed to feel good.  Plus, with the adrenaline of a race, I hope my 5:47-5:45 goal will be all the more attainable.  In the meanwhile, two weeks to go - time to sharpen up!

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