Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Nobody said this would be Easy

Holy Tempo Run Batman, they want to you to do what? 5 miles at 15K pace did you say? At 5:00 AM? Who dreamed up this plan and just when did I agree to follow it?

I knew that following the Pfitzinger plan would probably be a little tougher than other training programs I’ve used, but this morning, I really got tested. For those following along at home, this morning schedule was 10 miles w/5 miles at 15K pace. For me, that translates to a 7:40/mi pace. I know I can run much faster for 5 miles since I ran my last 10K at 7:23/mi and my last 8K at 7:10/mi; but this wasn’t a race. It was just me running around by myself in the dark.

I took my black lab, Cooper, out for an uneventful two mile warm up and dropped him off at the house before jogging over to the “start line”. As always, I started out way too fast, covering the first ¼ mile well under 2 minutes, but I quickly settled into a nice rhythm with the Garmin holding at 7:38 avg pace. Starting the 2nd mile, I had loads of confidence that the next 4 miles would go pretty much the same. However, no one bothered to talk to my lungs. My breathing became labor (as if I were running hill repeats) and evil Phil woke up to remind me that a nice warm bed was only a short jog away. My shoulders tensed up and my pace became erratic; but there was no way I was going to stop

According to the Garmin, I got to the end of the 2 mile in 7:45, not too bad, but 5 seconds slower than target. But now I was on Mile 3; a clean slate so to speak. I got my breathing under control and relaxed my shoulders and just focused on my turn-over rate (why does it take so much concentration to get this body to move?) and felt much better right up to the point where I had an altercation with a white pickup truck.

I saw the truck pull up into the “bike lane” prepared to make a right hand turn well in front of me. He hesitated, started to go, and then stopped as I approached. Finally, someone was paying attention … well not exactly. As I got within 10 feet of the truck and started running around the front, the truck began to move again and blocked my way. I dodged left to run behind the vehicle but didn’t quite make it and bounced off the side of the truck near the rear bumper. Fortunately, I stayed on my feet and finished navigating around the back side of the truck and tried to accelerate out of the situation as quickly as possible. The fellow driving the truck open the driver’s door and actually APPOLOGIZED! Needless to say, I was shocked. I probably lost 2 or 3 seconds in this altercation but got my legs up and humming again within 100m.

On the back half of mile 3 I noticed a runner jogging with a large dog on a leash. The course through here is a narrow sidewalk with hedges on either side, making passing somewhat problematic. As I approach, I called out “ON YOUR RIGHT”. The poor woman (probably thinking she was under attack), let out a scream, moved right and tightened the leash attached her dog on the left side of the sidewalk. I’ve never been a good hurdler, but this morning, I got a chance to jump over a dog. I wouldn’t recommend it. The Garmin had me completing mile 3 in 7:39; however, I was really starting to drag.

Miles 4 and 5 were more typical and not too exciting. I was dragging more but still running under 7:50 and finished out 5 miles without any more “incidents”. Once I got home and measured the actual distance with a mapping program, I realized that the actual distance covered was 5.05 miles; leaving me with an overall average pace of 7:41/mi for the tempo portion.

After the tempo, I ran a 3 mile recovery at a 9:30/mi pace to round out the total distance for this morning to 10.3 miles. I haven’t even looked at what I need to do for the rest of week, but I can’t imagine I’ll need to work that hard again for a couple of days. I don’t know how you speed demons do this day in and day out.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 10.3 miles, w/ 5 miles @ 7:41, avg pace 8:41


Feminist Runner said...

Phil, you hurdled a dog. Before dawn. After a truck tried to take you down.
I'm guessing all that adrenaline really wore you out by the end, needless to day.

Mike said...

You know you are nuts, don't you?

Just so you don't feel bad, I had trouble with most of those tempo runs. I blew the four mile one at 3 miles, the five mile one at 3.5, and the 6 mile one at 4. The only one I actually completed as intended was the last 7 mile one. I believe you'll be there when it counts at the end if you stay consistent, trucks and dogs be damned.

Anonymous said...

Pfitz? Check! Tempo run? Check! 5am? Check! Dying on your feet after 2 miles? Check?

Been there, done that, Phil. it does get easier, eventually. I think the first 2 miles are always the toughest, it does seem to get easier after that.

These days I actually like tempo runs. I think they are the most crucial aspect in developing marathon speed. (or maybe I've just forgotten how they felt)

Mind, I never had to jump over a dog. And I hope I never will.

Love2Run said...

yes, certifiably nuts! Welcome to the club. I loved your early morning adventure/tempo run. Keep up the good work.