Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gettin' Me Some

Oh, yeah, I’m talking today about that thing we all need, we all gotta have, we humans, we animals, we living creatures. That thing that whether we acknowledge it or not, motivates our every action. That thing that, when we do get it, completely overtakes us, makes everything else in the world fall away. It’s a desperate and primal act, that thing, full of panting and gasping and for the more vocal among us cries that blur the line between agony and ecstasy.

I’m talking of course about track work.

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that the target paces for my Eugene-program track work are challenging. Farfetched, more like it. I’m using the FIRST program regimen, which is more aggressive than McMillan generally, and the paces are based on my marathon goal of breaking three hours. That said, because I’m doing many more weekly miles than FIRST recommends, I'm hitting the track every other week instead of every week. (Seriously, deadly VO2 sessions every week for 16 weeks leading up to a marathon? I guess if you’re actually doing the program and only running three times a week that could make sense.)

On the agenda today:
1200 @ 4:10
1000 @ 3:25
800 @ 2:43

600 @ 2:01
400 @ 1:19
All separated by a 200 meter rest interval.

Before leaving the house I figured out that the 400-meter pace for the reps descended from 1:23 to 1:22 to 1:21 to 1:20 and then finally that last 400 itself in 1:19. So while the distances got progressively shorter, the pace break was not very substantial. Bastards!

I warmed up by jogging the two and a quarter miles from home to the Grant Park track. Nice day to be out: mostly cloudy but dry, temp in the mid 40s.

1200: I started and noted how nice it felt to run fast on the smooth, slightly soft track surface in my Asics Speedstars. I’d run for seven straight days before today, totaling 70 miles, pretty heavy mileage for me, but felt surprisingly fresh. For a lap. You know how that goes? First lap in 1:24 and all was well. Then the lactic acid began to build and lap two became harder work, another 1:24. Lap three I don’t even remember. I was swirling in pain, vowing to keep going as hard as I could despite having nothing left to give. Amazingly, the last lap wasn't dramatically slower, a 1:26, giving me 4:14 for the rep, four seconds off the goal.

1000: This was the worst of the five reps. Just a minute after the 1200, it took a mere half-lap to get to the bad place. I didn’t split each lap. The final toll was 3:32, seven whopping seconds off the goal. Brutal.

800: While jogging—very, very slowly—the 200 meter rest interval, I tried to buoy my spirits. Hey, just two laps! So much shorter than that first 1200! This is going to be easy! Well, no. It wasn’t. That said, mindful by now that I wasn’t likely to hit the goal time I took this one out a little slower, hoping for a more even pace. And, indeed, I didn’t begin to feel like barfing until I’d run about 500 meters. Only 300 meters of head-to-toe misery, that’s not so bad. 2:51, eight seconds off the goal time.

600: Right, you’ve got the picture by now. Pain, agony, slower than goal time—but only by three seconds, at 2:04.

400: Something I’ve noticed about track work is that I don’t care how much the last rep hurts. In fact, getting to The Last One is not very different from being done entirely. The way this works, I think, is that the real dread isn’t a tough rep—it’s a tough rep with the knowledge that there is more to come. Once that “more to come” feature is dispensed with, once I’m on The Last One, what the hell, bring it on. For kicks I took a 200-meter split on this one and found I was at 38. I felt like I was barely moving during the final 200. My legs were cooked well done. And yet that second 200 was actually run in 39 seconds, for a 1:17, two seconds faster than the goal time. That’s right, I ran the rep too fast.

After a walk once around the track I jogged the two and a quarter miles back home, feeling spent, satisfied and relaxed. Curiously, however, I was not interested in smoking a cigaret.

No comments:

Post a Comment