Happy Autumn everyone! Today is the epitome of a perfect autumn day in Portland. The rain from the last couple of days has stopped and left a chill in the air. The yellow sun is casting it’s tentative light highlighting the leaves that have suddenly turned golden and are fluttering to the ground before my very eyes.
My breath came out in a white cloud this morning for the first time as I jogged an easy mile to the track.
These last several speed workouts have really flipped my feelings toward the track. A lot of the improvement comes from having a reliable track buddy to workout with. To have someone else there to take on half the work allows me to concentrate on running hard and focusing, rather than stressing about time and splits.
We’re also pretty chatty 🙂 We attempt to fill each other in on the week’s details during our 200m recovery jogs, which is pretty difficult to do! But she definitely lightens the mood, and now I don’t view track workouts as do-or-die efforts. I always put too much pressure on myself during solo workouts which caused me to go flat several times in the past. And the nagging little voice in my head, whispering at me to quit isn’t as loud anymore.
There’s no option to quit when you and a partner are equally depending on one another.
I’m going to miss the track….I won’t be returning to it for awhile. My plans after Portland include immediate recovery and then base-building during the winter months. I used to believe that I needed to do speed work all year long to maintain my fitness, but now I understand that it is futile to attempt to stay in peak racing condition year-round. It’s impossible…you’ll either get completely burned out, injured, or at best log mediocre race times all year. By taking a break I can work on increasing my mileage without getting injured and return to the track feeling fresh. Absence makes the heart grow fonder…
12 x 400m with a 200m recovery jog
8 x 1000m no recovery
There was a twist! My coach has consistently been trying to get me to ‘feel’ my pace and I’ve been resisting. I rely a lot on my watch, that’s the type of person I am: I have to know! I am a detail oriented, time-conscious Type A personality. But today we were not allowed to look at our watches after the first 400m. My partner felt liberated, she actually took off her watch and tossed it aside. I was a wreck….her liberation was my chaos! Okay, that’s a little hyperbole. Even though I couldn’t look at my watch during the lap I still started it and checked the time after each 400m. Surprisingly, the results weren’t as terrible as I expected…mostly because my track buddy has a great feel for pace. She actually told me during one lap that I was running an 86 second lap (which was too fast) and she was right!
Results: 90, 90, 87, 90, 87, 88, 86, 89, 86, 86, 86, 86
The first four were supposed to be 90 seconds, the next four were supposed to be 88, and the last four were supposed to be 86.
We jogged a lap before the 100m sprints, which always hurt more than the actual workout. As per usual, I attempted to lift my driving knee higher and kick my trailing leg higher. And as usual, I felt like a marionette puppet with the strings cut.
It was a good workout 🙂
There’s something pleasurable about pushing yourself farther than you are comfortable with. It satiates a deep desire within us. I believe that I would not be the same driven, determined person that I am if I didn’t run. Millions of other runners feel the same need, that’s why we congregate at starting lines of marathon and ultramarathon distances. We have to push ourselves.
Dean Karnazes is a perfect example of this, he is a “self-styled ultramarathon man” who didn’t start running ultras until he was in his 30’s. On either his 30th or 35th (I can’t remember exactly) birthday he had a moment of realization that he didn’t feel fulfilled as he celebrated in a bar with his friends. He had a wonderful family and was conventionally “successful” but he felt like he was missing something. That night he left the bar and started running (running 30 or 35 miles in his party attire). Since then, he has thrived on challenging himself to greater and greater feats. (Source: Dean Karnaze’s autobiography, Ultramarathon Man)
Set goals, achieve them and set bigger goals.
Set goals, fail, learn, try again.