Thursday, July 13, 2006

Up tempo running

I scheduled a 4 mile tempo run (7:39/mi pace) for this morning. Instead of screwing around on the road dodging cars and dogs and worrying about out racing red lights, I went over to Paradise Valley Community College and used their track. No one was at the track at 5:15 AM when I arrived and the sun was just starting to peek through the trees east of the track and the temperature was starting to rise over 90. I ran an easy 1600 to warm up and started my attempt to hold a steady 1:53 split for 16 laps.

The first lap went by in 1:52, not bad for a start. Everything felt ok. The second lap clocked in at 1:56; ok, I’m slowing down a bit, time to start paying attention. Lap 3 improved back to 1:52 and lap 4 slowed back down to 1:56. Seemed to be see-sawing back and forth a bit, but finished the first 1600 in 7:36. With 3 miles to miles to go I was still feeling strong. No problems other than a couple of twinges in my left hamstring.

As I begin the 5th lap I started wondering what I was I doing out here in the heat. The voices in my head soon took over and I sort of lost track of where I was on the track. I think this is the same effect as talking on the cell phone while driving down the freeway at 75 MPH. You look up after a few minutes and have no idea how you got to where you are. Laps 5 through 8 ran by as 1:54, 1:52, 1:54, 1:52. Total time: 7:32. Apparently day dreaming while running works. Somewhere in here a jogger entered the track and started plodding along using the inside lane. Although I enjoyed having someone to chase and lap every couple of times around the track, I can’t understand why someone going that slow feels it is necessary to hug the inner edge of lane 1. Oh well. It’s been 35 years since I passed anyone on a track.

Halfway through and only 2 miles to go. I had no idea of course that I had improved the 2nd 1600 by 4 seconds, but I had a sense that things were going well because the lap time seemed to be hovering around 1:53 each time I passed the start line. By this point, I had just settled down into a nice steady pace and was gaining confidence that I would be able to hold up for at least an other 4 laps and perhaps all 8.

I ran the 3rd 1600 as: 1:52, 1:53, 1:52, 1:53. Total Time for the 3rd 1600: 7:30. Somehow I had managed to settle into a total auto-pilot mode for this 1600 and just ran around and around day dreaming about something. By this point in the run I had totally lost track of where I was in terms of lap count. Even though I had set up my Garmin to show LAP TIME and LAPS (or lap count), my ancient brain had difficulty figuring out if the LAP COUNT was the lap I was on or the laps I had run. The jogger gave up and went home, but several teenage girls should up and started milling around.

Again, I’d lost track of how many 1600 I’d run, but had a vague idea that I still had at least a mile to go. I decided I needed to run an extra lap at the end to ensure I didn’t short change myself and remembering that 1600m is about 30 meters short of a mile, I knew an additional lap would take me out beyond 4 miles. I even tried to multiply 30x4 and thought it was somewhere near 100 which seemed to be less than 400. I’m glad I don’t try to do my taxes while running at this pace.

The 4th 1600 sailed by in a blur: 1:53, 1:54, 1:55, 1:54. Total time: 7:36; slowing down a bit. I don’t even remember how I felt at this point. I thought I was still doing ok and running somewhere very close to my 1:53 lap goal, but the legs were just moving on their own. It’s amazing how long I hung on to 1:53 I saw on lap 13. I don’t remember seeing the 1:55 at all. Must have blocked out any negative thoughts.

After running 6400m I had lost track of how many laps I’d run (even though the Garmin was telling me) and was convinced that I had at least 1 lap to go and needed to add an extra lap as a safety lap.

Lap 17: 1:56 – yikes. I saw this one, needed to dig a bit and hustle around on the last lap. Lap 18: 1:53.

Time for a cool down.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 7.0 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace
Wed – 7.0 Miles, easy, 9:05/mi pace
Thr – 4.5 Miles, tempo, 7:39/mi pace + 2 mile WU / CD


Dusty said...

Good job on the run!! I totally agree about spacing out on laps or during a run. I remember once trying to figure out what my pace was.. I wanted to run a certain pace for 2 miles. I was trying to break it down to how many seconds it would be for 100 meters so I could calculate it on the track and figure out what the speed felt like. I think it took me about 4 miles to calculate the damn thing out, but I didn't remember a thing about the run - makes me wonder how more of us runners don't get hit by cars -- at least you were smart enough to zone out while on a track!

I don't know about you, but I prefer to run when I have something on my mind...

Mike said...

Hard to run fast in this weather, though since you really didn't slow down you are obviously capable. Sub 45 baby.

Phil said...

Mike ... I read the RW article you posted yesterday on Bonking and got thinking about it on the 5th or 6th lap as my confidence in keeping up the pace started to wane. Somehow I managed to think about happier thoughts and I forgot all about being tired. This is the fastest 4 miles I've ever run outside of a race.

Dusty ... thanks for the comments. Since haven't run this many laps on a track non stop since high school (on dirt tracks no less) I didn't have a clue what to expect. I was amazed when my actual time at the first 400 was spot on. It seemed to be the right pace for the day. Tomorrow will be different.

carmen said...

Ooh, I love making calculations in my head about distance when I'm running. It seems to make the time fly by faster. I'm amazed that you are able to maintain your goal lap pace even towards the finish. That's really good!

Today was definitely the hottest day of the summer I have felt! I felt like my skin was going to peel off on my bike ride home today! Good thinking on the early morning run. The temps forced me to run inside today. I'm already waiting for November to swing around. Ahhhhh.

Phil said...

Carmen ... I hope we don't have to wait until November. I left work at 5:30 tonight and dropped the top on my Mustang (I can't stand driving with the top up). I literally thought that my eye-balls were frying as the air came roaring over the wind screen. I don't know how you can run outside in the evening.

There is a good reason we don't go on Day Light Savings Time. The last thing we need to do is save anymore daylight. If we could just ship daylight off to the day light starved people at the tip of South America we'd all be better off.

Looking forward to the race in Tempe next week. I'm a bit worried that the temperature at 6:30 will be 95, but we'll all have to deal with that together.

Keep running.