Friday, August 29, 2014

What am I Made Of?

So, the last time I blogged I had completed an easy 6 to reach 1408 miles.  On Tuesday I did a progression workout still feeling slightly tired legs from Sunday's 18.  But I was able to do it with miles ranging from 8:15 down to 6:30 in 15 second increments with the last at 8:00.  I stopped twice rather than once (once, because the treadmills at the Y only allow me 60 minutes maximum, and the second time because I must have hit some control that stopped it).  What was nice is that neither time (especially after the second) did I have difficulty getting started again.

Then I ran an easy 7 on Wednesday.  A nice course mostly east at west going no further north than Walker and no further south than Belvedere.

Then, there was yesterday.  Yesterday, I had a track workout scheduled.  I ran the 2.3 miles over to the at an 8:54 pace.  I felt really sluggish.  I had had several long days at work.  I had had a late and very heavy dinner the evening before.  I just wasn't sure if I could meet the goal that had been set: 10x400 at 1:27 +/- 2 seconds.

I took off my water belt and set it by the side of the track.  I took off my shirt and set that by the side of the track as well. I mean--it was 73 degrees at 5:35 in the morning when I was getting ready to leave.

I ran a warm up lap.  Nice and easy--just under two minutes.  Then, I took off.  First one--1:27.  It was great.  I concentrated. I kept my mind completely on what I was doing.  I did not run too hard.  I did not push myself too much.  And I did not look at my watch as I rounded the track.  It felt, just right.


Second one--1:27 again.  Same thing.  I was amazed at the consistency.  As I completed my 200 meters of rest after lap 2, I hit the wrong button.  Distracted but not deterred, I corrected my watch and did the third one--1:26.  Stopped purposefully for a small drink of water, ran an active rest 200 meters, and ran the fourth one--1:27.  Feeling good I went on to do the fifth at 1:26, the sixth at 1:26, and the seventh at 1:27.  I thought about taking a drink but waited until after number eight--1:27.  Number eight was tough.  My legs were starting to yell at me after five days of running in a row that included the harder but not raced 18, the progression, and now this.  Number nine--1:26 again.  By that time, I was feeling confident but didn't want to push the last one too hard--1:26.

So, for a workout where I had a watch to time the laps, but I didn't look at my watch except at the end of each lap, I had run the most consistent times ever.  The rounded times were all 1:26 or 1:27.  I think I have found my "natural" fast pace, given the end result.

I ran home the 2.3 miles at a 9:09 pace.

I have never had a workout so consistent before.  All by myself.  Persevering.  Having had to go around two different runners who were running slowly in lane 1.  One with headphones.  A workout on which I had never thought I could do what was planned had turned into one of the most revealing workouts I had ever done.  What can I do?  What can I keep up?   What are my limits?

Hopefully what I pulled out yesterday will translate into a good performance in Sunday's race.  I now have 1432.6 miles.  I am still on US 54 west as I will be for a long while to come.  Making my way west.  Aiming to reach 2000 miles.  As I will likely reach 1500 by mid-September, I am way ahead of schedule.  Life is good.   

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