Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Not vs giving in

Getting back into doing speed work and harder tempo runs as I'd like to concentrate on a few shorter fall races. Plus its nice to shift focus away from training for an ultra or longer races after some much needed rest and downtime.

Ran a set of 8 400s last Wednesday back on the grass of Chappelle Park.  Averaged about 1:23 thru the first seven reps on a short recovery cycle of 75 seconds. After the fifth rep I was starting to almost dry heave and would have to double over for a good 15-20 seconds before being able to slowly shuffle/ jog back to my starting line. The eight and final one again the lactic acid started tying my legs up already within a 100 meters or so... causing my breathing to falter and my chest to start to constrict and tie up ... or as described in the seminal classic The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner... it felt like I had a bag of nails in my chest.

Of course for those of us who labor in such endeavors this is nothing new, and is something we periodically encounter. But on the last rep I just couldn't seem to will my body, and perhaps more importantly my mind thru it. Subsequently my pace slackened and I finished in 1:28. Still a good work out, but that last rep would nag at me mostly because of how I reacted to it.

Some days we give in and succumb to the pain. We see the wall we must smash thru (and we know how to smash thru it from experience) but we stop short at its base. We flinch and back away, for reasons unknown.

Friday I set out on a tempo/ cut down run of 6-8 miles. Ran into a headwind up towards the north end of the island, but once I made the turn and headed back I attempted to drop the hammer down from the current pace of hi 6s the last 2 miles.  I heard a voice say I'll catch you if you fall at the end...a strange mystical whispering. I was cognizant of that last rep Wednesday too. I wanted to hold it close to full throttle all the way around the neighborhood that juts back into the far end of the canal. This time when it all rushed at me I kept it at bay and fought thru...to the last stop sign... 5:57 pace for .63 miles. Just for today, I had won.

Reading Bowerman and the Men of Oregon. Made some tweaks to my speed work approach Monday. In laymen's terms I shouldn't quite be keeling over on the back half of interval sets. The results of which were a set of 12 200s at :37 on 90 seconds rest on the inner island dirt roads. Felt fluid and hard but not killer.

There will be plenty more walls to try and smash thru...