On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The good, the bad, and the... dizzy?

Speedwork, my dear friend!  I'm back in it!  Sort of.  This is the story of a speed workout that almost didn't happen (and wasn't very speedy when it did).

Last night, after yet another impossibly long day of work, I bagged on the gym and had a beer before watching Law and Order and going to bed.  I got the bright idea that I should do some speed work this morning, so I texted my sister for a workout, woke her up, and got the following text:
1 mile warm up, 12 laps of alternating each lap w 5k pace and the next lap marathon pace, 1 mile cool down
You might point out that my sister is not the best person to get track advice from right now, being as she's walking with a limp due to the large blood blister on the bottom of her foot that she got from running on the track barefoot yesterday.  You would be right.  Anyway...

I stumbled out of bed this morning when my alarm went off around 7.  That's not a figure of speech - I literally stumbled because my head was spinning so badly it threw off my balance.  I made it as far as the bathroom before returning to bed for another fitful hour of sleep, after which I was able to get up and move slowly.  Caffeine didn't fix it, ginger didn't fix it, and the only thing that seemed to help was neck rolls and massage.  This is not a common phenomenon for me by any means and I have no idea what caused it, except for a hunch that I slept badly (and I had a sore neck and shoulders).

Still, I hit the track, figuring I would either loosen up while there or still feel sick and head home early, no harm no foul.  It was kind of neither.  Instead, it was a mediocre, off-goal workout during which I felt only sort of off-kilter.

My target paces were 2:27 for the 5k quarters and 2:51 for the marathon splits (using McMillan predictions for my 5k and marathon paces).  Aside from a superfast first two and two rest laps that I walked, I was fairly close.  My splits were: 2:13, 2:35, 2:34, 2:50, 2:31, 4:22, 2:29, 2:48, 2:34, 2:47, 2:32, 4:22.

As much as this was sort of a dead loss, I'm excited to be back on the track.  I need to do this right now to get a feel for the different paces again and to push myself.  Today sucked; not only did I have no clue what the paces should feel like, but my legs were lead and my lungs were heavy and there was a terrific headwind sweeping down one length of the track.  I only got that adrenaline-filled feeling of power once or twice and it was fleeting.  Usually speedwork, even slowly, makes me feel superawesome.

After a long meeting at work tonight, I'm switching to scotch.  And a new pillow.


  1. Good job trying the workout under less than ideal conditions. The point of that workout is to 1) get used to pacing in general and 2) be able to pick up the pace after tiring out a little so that you don't fade at the end of a race. So, mission accomplished and I have more workouts for you if you are interested.

    When you feel up to it, I think you need to go to the track and run one mile all out for a couple of reasons, first to gauge your current fitness level and two to get a heart rate max.

  2. I'm going to try to make Tuesdays my hill workout days and Thursdays my speedwork - I'll probably alternate between easier speedwork and easier hill workouts so that I'm only doing one truly challenging workout a week. So, bring on the suggestions. I'll do the 1m all out as soon as I make it back to the track (it's best mid-day so that there are fewer people).

    Seriously, more workouts! It takes a village (/internet community) to raise a child (/turn me into a passable runner again).