Sunday, December 26, 2010

1 down

My first training block is complete (minus an hour sitting on my bike). There was a lot to like as well as the cruel reality that there is a lot of hard work ahead. My bike legs came around well and seem to be picking up strength every week. Because of my off-season swim focus, my swim is passable, in fact much better than usual. My run needs work. My slower effort paces seem to be coming around, but wow I've got a ways to go to find my A game. Today was 4x 1 mile repeats. I knew when I saw it on the plan that this would be a rough day. The christmas marathon of family, food and gifts is a big deal for my clan. Following a suggestion from Jesse, I tracked my trailing 3 day average of sleep going into this workout, and basically saw what I expected. I need sleep. Averaged 5.5 hours a day. Must do better. Must.

I ran the miles on the Shelton Highschool track, and the workout was everything I thought it would be: painful and slowish. It was windy on the back stretch, very cold, and snowy. 23 months ago I did a similar workout, albeit on the road as opposed to the track...track is hard on the brain, and put the miles under 5:50 with a fast of 5:44. 2 months later that was six repeats below 5:50. Today I did not break 5:50 once. 5:54, 5:57, 5:57, 6:00. True I was running on less rest between repeats this time (~1:40 vs 3:00+), and I was really tired, but if I'm honest I think I am slower. I weigh about 4-6lbs more than during those previous efforts. The weight is helping recovery, but the foot speed is suffering. My heart didn't really get tested today. It was the legs not turning over, the arms aching, the head rolling around. HR averaged around threshold, which is well below what I'll average on a higher quality effort.

The fact that I've had concerns about this workout could lead one (including me) to believe it was in my head. I was beaten before I began. This is somewhat true. However if I lost that first battle I won the war of wills today. I thought I'd quit after the second repeat. I finished it. Bent over. Hurled. Caught my breath. Saw my heart rate had already recovered completely. Hardened up and cranked out #3. I knew if I got through the third one I could get myself through the last. And while a 6:00 mile on the last repeat is nothing special, I was 6 seconds behind that pace w/400m to go. It took a 1:24 final 400 (5:36/mile pace) to hit that 6:00. The eyes were closed, the legs were burning, and the head was lolling backwards...but I did it.

The Brooks/Hanson running team trains using the philosophy that you aren't training for the first 16miles of the marathon during that 16mile run on tired legs, you are training for the last 16. Well today I felt like I was training for the finish of races. My finishing kick is probably my favorite part of my race. Today's workout reminded me I can still kick. I have 26 weeks to speed up the earlier miles of my race.