“Training was a rite of purification; from it came speed, strength. Racing was a rite of death; from it came knowledge. Such rites demand, if they are to be meaningful at all, a certain amount of time spent precisely on the Red Line, where you can lean over the manicured putting green at the edge of the precipice and see exactly nothing.”
― John L. Parker Jr., Once a Runner
Today after getting off work at 4:00, I went to the Richard Montgomery Track to do 8X400 meter repeats w/ 400 jog recovery. This was pure speed work, which has never come naturally to me. I've always viewed it as work for my body, whereas cruise intervals or lactate threshold workouts or even marathon pace workouts come so naturally to me. But work is good. This is the perfect time for me to work on my speed. I hit the first 400 in a slow 74, but then hit the next intervals in 69, 69, 67, 68, 68, 68, 68. Felt pretty good overall, and considering I was doing 200s last week in 33s, I am progressing nicely. Did the workout in my Saucony Kinvaras.
At the same time, I have been returning to more "normal" mileage. Monday I ran 11 miles and Tuesday I ran 12 miles. I am debating whether I want to jump in a new years day 5k or not. I know I definitely want to run the indoor 5k at the Maryland Invitational on Jan 22. I think I should be able to run about 15:30. After the 5K though my focus will be on the Shamrock Anthem Half Marathon. My goal for this race is what I think is very realistic: 1:10:00.
Then there will be Cherry Blossom, Pikes Peak, and perhaps the Broad Street 10 Miler....
But for now, it's the heart of winter, and I continue to train...
I stepped out onto the Richard Montgomery Track Wednesday, ready to do some 200s. The workout was to be 8x200 meter repeats, with 200 jog between each. It took a little while to warm up as it has been very cold outside. Finally I was ready to start the workout, and hit the first few in 35s but quickly dropped to 33s for all the rest(maybe even a 32 in there-I didn't get the timing that accurate but whatever-I was concentrating on turnover-which was exactly what I wanted to focus on. This workout was a first key ice-breaker for getting into the 5k zone. The 200s were a perfect distance as they were good for working on turnover but did not stress my body since the distance was so short.
Yesterday was my final race of 2010 as well as the 3rd of my typical trio of 10Ks during Nov/Dec. These 10Ks were a nice redemption for me after perhaps what I think is the most dissapointing race I have ever had: The Chicago Marathon. Nevertheless, the most dissapointing marathon I've ever had is also coupled with probably the most successful year I've ever had. When I look back on the year, I set PRs in 8K, 10K, 10M, & 13.1M, and the last race of the year I set my newest PR in the 10K.
I am projected to finish the year off with 3300-3400 miles run-highest ever and by far will CRUSH the miles I ran the year before (2376). I am healthy, happy, and hungry for 2011 now.
PROGRESSION: Perhaps the most dramatic progression I have seen over the past 2 years is my improvement in the 10K. I never reached my potential when I ran in college-my 10000 PR at the time was barely shy of 35 minutes. Below is the year by year improvement I have seen each winter:
On to 2011: In 2010, I discovered how my endurance and speed can be translated to the 10 Mile with my performance at Cherry Blossom. I will definitely run Cherry Blossom in 2011 again.
Despite my dissapointments in the marathon this year, I have learned much about the marathon-and may I add I learned this the hard way. I will NOT run a marathon this Spring. I have learned that it may take some time for me to mature at this distance-I am still relatively young for a marathoner and I encourage many of you younger runners out there to not jump in it too quickly if you want to reach your potential-it won't hurt you to run one-but I warn if you want to run fast you may not be happy with the end result. It is a distance that takes some time to physically and mentally learn. Of course everyone is different and this is just my perspective because of what I have experienced.
What's next? There is an indoor track 5000 meter race on Jan 22 at the PG Sports Complex in Landover, MD. It is the UMD Terrapin Invitational. My 5K PR is sooooo soft(it's only a few seconds faster than my current 10K race pace), and I look at this race as an opportunity to completely demolish it. I need to develop my pure speed a bit more and do some reps as well as some more VO2-Max track sessions.
The Shamrock Half Marathon will be the start of my Spring season in March. From there I will run Cherry Blossom & Pike's Peak in April, and Broad Street 10 Miler(which will be a debut race for me) to finish it off in May. I have high goals for the Spring, but I would really like to nail a 1:10:00 Half Marathon at Shamrock. I also have very high goals for Cherry Blossom-a fantastic race that brings some of the worlds best runners as well as many of the best local runners of the Washington, DC area-right in the heart of DC! I was 46th in this race last year.
The last race of 2010: Despite placing 3rd and PRing, the race yesterday was pretty miserable. Rain/Drizzle came down and it wasn't warm. Cold rain is the worst in my opinion. It just soaks everything and even if you bring warm clothes it won't work unless you have some sort of inclement weather protection. I was also sick during this race. The previous night, I was up most of the night with a constant runny nose. I almost wasn't sure if I was going to run, but decided the hell with it and drove on the VERY DARK GW Parkway at 6:00 AM. I was surprised at how many people showed up when I got there. Hundreds of runners made their way to the starting area-it was amazing given the conditions. I had to park pretty far away so I warmed up by running to the start with my backpack hanging off my shoulders. I met up with Dave and Dickson who warmed up with me a bit more before the start. I slid off my pants and jacket 5 minutes before the race and did a few strides in my shorts and singlet(although I did wear arm warmers and gloves as well). Got to the start line and the rain came down again. I shivered. Goddammit, start the race....
Finally, the gun went off and I sprinted to the lead....lol. CALM down Chris, this isn't an 800. I was surprised to find no one ahead of me. Then off my left I saw Wilson and another runner following him go in front of me. I tailed off of them while another runner caught up to me and ran shoulder to shoulder with him. We went through the first mile in 5:05, and from then on (Rich) the runner stuck with me for most of the race. I could see Wilson and the other runner furthur ahead duking it out for the top position, while Rich and I dueled for 3rd. We went through 2 mile in much slower which freaked me out(split was like 5:25 the 2nd mile)...were the miles accurate though? I wondered. We reached 3 Miles in 15:43(5:13 split) and 5K in 16:20. Perfect, I though, now just hold on and you will run a 32:40. On through Mile 4(21:00) Rich and I worked together to keep the pace moving. There were no runners in front for us to see. Then, before Mile 5, I could see Wilson. It appeared the other runner had dropped him. Mile 5(26:25) was slow and I surged and began to drop Rich with less than a mile to go. I was all alone at this point and just concentrated on pushing as hard as I could. Mile 6: 31:40something. I kicked it in, making sure I did not have any more gears left. I finished in a new Personal Best of 32:51 for 3rd place. Not a bad way to end the year.
It's cold. It's dark. It's Winter. There aren't as many runners out on the roads now...
The good side of this weather is that it toughens the body and mind up. I somehow enjoy training through the adversity. Running in this type of weather just clarifies how much I truly love to run outdoors. This is the time to train. Endure through the long, hard winters. I grow used to it, and get stronger because of it.
Today I did a light track session by myself before meeting up with the group I am coaching through the PR store. I warmed up and did 1X1200, 1X800, 1X400, with 800 "run" between each rep. Nothing crazy, just increased the pace during each interval. 3:57 for the 1200, 2:27 for the 800, and 66 for the 400. Again, nothing special, just getting into the "zone." It was enough.
Tomorrow I will do a pretty steady/moderately hard/tempo run and that should be it for workouts this week until Jingle All the Way. The coaching tonight went very well, a solid group of 6 showed up at the track tonight and braved the cold conditions. On weekends there are 20-30 who come for the long runs so the track group is smaller in comparison so far. I am very happy with how the first sessions this week went for the runners.
Good Mileage Week-70 Miles. Hah, it's funny though, over the summer, 70 miles was nothing for me...I was hitting up to 115 MPW training for the Chicago Marathon at the time...
But I am not planning to run another Marathon anytime soon. (Though I will get the mileage higher again soon(mid 80's). Right now I have one more race to end my 2010 year: Jingle All the Way 10K! This is a great race and I am looking foward to kicking in my 3rd and final 10K of the season. I worked a lot on sharpening up this week as well as endurance work. No crazy workouts, though this week I have one final planned workout on the track probably. I did 200 meter reps on the track last week to sharpen up my speed, and also did some fartleks on a nasty hill nearby my apartment. Thanks to Joe who suggested the route on Tilden Lane-a great rolling hills road that really gives strength a good test.