It’s the final week of summer vacation. CIM training officially starts on Sunday, so I’ve been really soaking in these last few “fun runs”. I make Brian ask me everyday “what are you running today?” just so I can proudly exclaim,
Yes those are the Brooks PureFlows. I’ve started my Launch replacement hunt. Will report back later once we’re past the honeymoon phase.
This summer running “break” had a few purposes. First of all, it wasn’t really a break – I still averaged 20-30 mi/week, but took off the pressure of scheduled workouts. If I showed up at the track and didn’t feel like sprinting, I didn’t. If a long/slow sounded better than a short/fast, I listened. It was my time to run how I wanted, and remember that I do this because I LIKE to, not because I HAVE to.
Hugely successful mentally. I feel refreshed and ready to tackle a training plan that’s geared around some big goals.
Performance-wise? Not quite as successful.
I made a few short-distance goals after my breakdown at Ojai, hoping some new challenges would re-ignite the competitive spark I lost somewhere along those 26.2 miles. And because I was scraping for any confidence-booster I could patch my bruised ego with, lets be honest.
But here we are with the marathon ball and chain right around the corner, and none of those goals have been touched. Some I barely even made an attempt at. I tried not to beat myself up, and told myself the break was worth it, and that I’d have plenty of chances to run down those short goals some other time.
That in the long term, all of this was to make me a better distance runner come fall/winter.
So when Margot asked what I wanted to do for our final Summer Track Party workout, I faltered. One last chance for fast, or settle in early to the marathon plan?
Part of me – specifically the part that doesn’t like hitting puke-threshold before I’ve had my morning coffee – wanted to bow out with some easy ladder or interval or something. 9 min/mi laps in lane 8, anyone???
But another part, from I don’t know where, somewhere that’s been hibernating the last four months or so, screamed for one last go at those summer goals.
“I want to mile time trial again.”
Kristina agreed to trial also, and Margot, who’s recovering from her badass SF Half performance, offered to pace laps 2 and 3.
After our warm up we stood around and I stalled the best I could. I thought about how hard it was going to be, how bad it was going to hurt. Kristina kept saying shit like, “but weren’t the 400s we ran last week that same pace?“ (yes). I thought about what it would do to my head to finish the season with yet another failed goal.
disclaimer – this was taken afterwards. our “warm up” did not include “photo shoot”
Margot gave us a
little shove, and after one last deep breath and a “let’s just get it over with”, we took off.
After a slightly-too-fast start we hit lap one right on pace (88 sec) where Margot, living up to her FasterBunny name, was waiting for rabbit duties.
Latching on to her instead of worrying about pace made a huge difference. She called out splits and snippets of encouragement, which I somehow heard over my already super heavy breathing, and we hit our next 400m again right on the mark.
Lap 3 is always the worst – you’re only halfway done and already so tanked that running another 800m seems impossible. Margot started pulling away a little, and K & I fought to keep up. I remember thinking at the back turn that if we could just get through this lap on target we’d have a shot.
Margot peeled off after the final straightaway, yelling some (now inaudible over my gasping for air) coach-type things, and I Oly-geeked out pretending to hear a bell for the final lap. Sucking wind, willing my legs to keep turning over, and ignoring the simultaneous threats of complete muscle failure and pants crapping were all that went through my head that last lap.
Margot said she could tell we were “giving it all we had” on the last 100m. I took that to mean “you guys looked so close to death I thought I was going to have to call an ambulance. or Brightroom to capture the moment.”
Guess who didn’t care? Brightroom, you can take all the nasty ugly photos of my 5:55 miles you want. BE MY FREAKING GUEST.
So I finally got to check a goal off my list. Maybe someday I’ll give the 5k and 800m another shot, and maybe some other day I’ll tell you what’s under all those little green lines. Or maybe not. Girl’s allowed to have a few secrets here and there…