Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2/29: To Hell and Back

Workouts are hard.  That's definitely something we can all say.  But every now and then, you get a workout that truly tests who you are.  Every now and then, you get a workout that sticks out and is remembered forever.  Tonight I had one such workout.  I was to do a critical half marathon simulation workout as one of the big final workouts for the 13.1 on the 18th.  I designed it myself and it is a killer.  You think you are done.  And then you go again.  And again.  And again.  By the end you forget about pacing and you just run.  Run to the end.  You dig and dig until you've stripped down every layer down to your very core... 
WARNING: please do not do this workout unless you are ready to and even then this is NOT for every runner.
Ok, having said that..

The task: 6x2400m, 1x1600m, 1x800m, all done at LT-Half Marathon race pace.  On the track.  The workout was designed to mimic a half marathon race as closely as possible.  The recovery was not much, ranging anywhere from 2-4 minute recoveries between each.  So, the pace needed to be accurate-not too slow, but certainly not too fast.  Even, even, even.
2400 is a mentally challenging interval and the way I broke it up was into 800s.  That really helped me focus on pacing and just hitting 230s.  1st interval, done, not bad.  2nd, faster, felt good!  3rd, same pace, still feeling good.  After 4 intervals, it got tough... 

My legs only had so much in them at that point and I began feeling the fatigue.  The rain began to pour harder as I dove into the 5th interval.  My shirt was now beginning to get drenched, and the pain had set in.  I was in hell.  I went through thoughts like, Come on.  Are you going to wimp out?  What is this going to get you?  How BAD do you want this?  You gotta break it down to the core.  Scratching the surface wasn't enough.  I had to dig all the way down to the very last layer and peel myself to the bone.  5th interval done.  On to the 6th.  Then the 7th.  Finally, the 8th.  Rain POURED and I saw a flash of lightning in the distance.  You've made a choice, now DO IT!!!  I yelled out in pain.  My body begged for mercy.  No more No more.  God, NO MORE...

If you really want something, you have to go through pain.  There is no way around it.  You have to already make that choice.  And that is what this workout was truly designed to do, besides me technically saying it was physically to "simulate the half marathon race".  The physical part, yes got my body to do what it needed to do, but it also was a very mentally challenging workout.  And that, is also a very large part of being a successful distance runner.  Even though my mind and body were constantly fighting during the workout, by the end, I felt like I had achieved a sense of nirvana.  And afterwards, I feel like a new runner.  During an extra day during the year, on 2/29/2012, I can happily say, I really lived.

2400: 7:31 (5:00 pace)
2400: 7:28 (4:59 pace)
2400: 7:28 (4:59 pace)
2400: 7:32 (5:01 pace)
2400: 7:35 (5:03 pace)
2400: 7:38 (5:05 pace)
1600: 5:06 (5:06 pace)
800: 2:32 (5:04 pace)

Total Miles: 10.5 miles(52:50), average 5:02 pace

I think the last 3 intervals are my half marathon race pace(5:05).  That pace equates to 1:06:00 for 13.1.

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