Thursday, July 27, 2006

You've got your good days, you've got your bad days

This morning started like any other morning at the local track; dark (as in pre-dawn dark), temperatures in the low 80's and humidity approaching 80%. All in all, it was a very nice morning. My training plan called for a 5 mile Tempo run at a 7:36/mi pace with a 1 mile warm-up and cool-down. I actually look forward to this day in my schedule. It gets me off the streets of Phoenix and away from the crazy drivers and allows me to focus on my shabby running form while circling the track at Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC).

This morning, I stepped onto the track before 5 AM. The track is on the back side of the campus, nestled up against a local golf course so there is little traffic noise and no ambient light radiating from street lights. There are usually a few walkers that show up once the sky brightens; but at 5 AM, I had the whole thing to myself. Even though it was dark, once I cleared the debris from last night storms from the track, it was fairly easy to navigate without lights. Even I can remember to turn left every 200m.

Although the campus is not exactly remote, there is a family of coyotes leaving in the area. Although I couldn't see them, they could see me and they weren't all that happy with me as I started my warm-up. I was serenaded through the dark by a multiple coyote chorus for 5 or 10 minutes as I plodded around the oval trying to shake the sleep out of my legs. At some point, they must have figure out that I wasn’t a real threat and quieted down.

To hit a 7:36/mi pace, I needed to complete each 400m lap between 1:50 and 1:54 and hold the pace for 20 laps. No problem, I had run 7:39/mi for 4 miles 2 weeks earlier without a problem. I wasn’t expecting it to be very difficult to push the degree of difficulty up by 1 second per lap. After all … what’s a second worth?

Evidently, 1 second is an eternity when the legs won’t cooperate. I completed the first lap in 1:57. No problem I thought, I’m only 3 seconds behind. I was running relaxed and the pace felt right. All I need to do is pick up the cadence a smidgen and I’m there. The second lap came in at 1:55. Now I’m 4 seconds behind. The third lap was back to 1:57 (7 seconds behind) after which the laps more or less held at 1:57 or 1:58 lap after bloody lap.

Nothing I did seemed to make any difference. I shortened my stride and picked up the cadence – 1:57. Increase my stride and pranced like a stable horse around the track – 1:58. Nothing I could think of would get my legs moving any faster. I was, for all practical purposes, running at top speed. I completed the 8k with an average pace of 7:55. Not exactly 7:36! The only good news from this morning was that I WAS able to hold the pace within +/- 0.5% for 5 miles. Not the pace I wanted, but a pace 70 seconds faster than my normal easy running pace under these conditions.

I’ll be back out on the track to try this again in two weeks. We’ll see what happens.

Keep running


StumbleGuy said...

Keep at it and I'm sure you'll hit your 7:36 target. But look what you've achieved already since April - it's not just the track, you really are getting much faster!


Love2Run said...

Good work at 5am (I can never get going that early). Next week you could have a good day and 7:3x will come without even trying (much).

I'm trying to copy your weather template info to my blog but can't get the text current conditions to come up. Any ideas on this? Thanks!

Dusty said...

I wouldn't beat myself up about it or worry - at least not yet. Some days you are just off - and you are wanting to get the harder effort to get your times down... well, you probably put in more than enough effort if you were off. That doesn't mean you didn't accomplish what you wanted physically in the workout - it was probably better than you think.

If you keep having trouble getting the times & you can't identify an outside factor (humidity, temp, etc.) then take a look at your workouts to see if you can find out if you are pairing hard workouts too close, not recovering, etc. Maybe you were a tad sick and didn't know it.

Right now, I wouldn't do that - I'd see what happens on the next two track days.

Just realize - you did good - you pushed yourself for the day the best you could and your consistancy of times is fantastic.

carmen said...

Geez, you are always running into them coyotes aren't ya? They must love ya. hehe

I still haven't gotten around to running in the morning and don't think I actually will. I really got to admire the drive you have to complete morning runs at the hours that you do.

I'm sure that in the next two weeks you'll have a better run at the track. Hopefully it isn't too humid out then.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

coyotes - sweet.

I don't know much about speedword or track work, but keeping your pace consistent sounds good to me!