30 Seconds Makes a Huge Difference
I'm starting out on week 7 of 18 for marathon training and things just got a whole lot harder. Yesterday's workout was 10 miles with 5 at a 15k pace - which for a 3:30 marathon is somewhere around a 7:30. I've been dreading this workout for weeks because I remembered how hard my '8 miles with 4 at 15k pace' workout was back in week 3. But I was bound and determined to nail this workout because I knew this one was an important one.
I left the house before sunset (not that you could actually SEE the sun yesterday) wearing a bright vest but sans headlamp (I figured it wouldn't get too dark by the time I was done...mistake!). The first 3.5 miles were warm up - a small loop around the neighborhood and then out towards Squalicum Parkway for my 5 miles. The parkway is my new 'go-to' road for interval running and pace miles. From Meridian down to the waterfront it's probably a mile and a half. Extending that a bit along the waterfront and back tracking I have a nice, uninterrupted stretch of pavement to grind out the miles. With my Garmin all set on the custom workout (3.5 mile w/u; 5 miles between 7:25 and 7:40; 1.5 mile c/d) I was good to go.
The warm up felt great. My ankle (which had bothered me the day before) was a non-issue and the miles passed easily. The pace - 8:16. I hit Squalicum and the Garmin began to beep instantly. Next up, 5 miles of hell. When I started to pick it up my Garmin beeped to let me know I was going too fast. 7 min/mile pace...yes, too fast. I dialed it back and settled comfortably into my range. Heading towards the waterfront is fairly flat if not a slight downhill so I felt good. I was checking my watch incesently and was right where I needed to be. I hit the waterfront right at dusk and knew right away that I was in for a dark few miles back along the parkway but didn't want to come up with a different route on the fly. I paid attention to my watch and my pace and just made sure of my footing - I definitely didn't want a twisted ankle because of the lack of light.
Right at F street I did a 180 and headed back in the direction that I came. There was a slight headwind and I started to feel like I was working hard. I picked off random land marks to check my watch and encouraged myself to push through the 'hard'. I only had 2.5 miles to go at this pace and then I could relax. I just kept repeating that to myself. When I hit Squalicum I was surrounded by darkness. I always seem to forget that the entire 1.5 mile stretch of road is completely devoid of a streetlamp and better yet I was running on the road in the shoulder - there's no sidewalk. Safe...I know. No turning back now. I just needed to get it over in a hurry.
At the park I started to struggle. I only had a mile or so left for the interval and it was all I could do to keep myself going. I couldn't see my footing, I prayed cars could see me, and semis were splashing water on me as they roared pass. My breathing was labored and I was working hard. I just kept repeating 'fast turnover', 'don't look at your watch yet', 'only a mile left', 'give it everything you've got'. It seemed to work. I made it through that last mile without much left in the tank and was so thankful when I saw the street lights on Meridian and heard my watch beep, signaling the cool down portion of my run.
I took a few seconds as a mini walk break and then eased myself into my cool down jog. It's amazing how after running hard an 'easy jog' afterwards is always much faster than you intend. There were several times where I looked down and my watch was reading 8:05 min/mile. I was still clipping right along and it felt soooo much better! That said, by the time I hit my doorstep I was spent. Hardest workout to-date...DONE and DONE!
The reaminder of the week looks like this:
Tuesday - 4 recover mile ('Recovery'...Oops! Ran with Gabe and much faster than intended)
Wednesday - 11 steady miles
Thursday - REST
Friday - 7 miles with 8x100m strides
Saturday - 18 miles
Sunday - REST
Next week should be just as challenging and then it's prep for Thanksgiving and the Seattle Half.
Monday - 6 recover miles with 6x100m strides
Tuesday - 12 steady miles
Wednesday - REST
Thursday - 11 miles with 6 @ 8:00 min/mile pace
Friday - 5 recovery miles
Saturday - 20 miles
Phew! I'll let you know if I survive.