Sunday, August 12, 2007

Double Digits

Nothing fancy, just 10 miles on the treadmill at my gym. With temperatures in the high 90s at 8:30 this morning, I was in no mood to trying running in the heat. Instead, I headed over to my gym for a spin on the treadmill. I picked a machine next to a woman running a nice even pace (instead of the walkers) and started the first 30 minute interval at 9:40/mi. The machines at my gym only allow for a maximum of 30 minutes + 2 mintues cool down for each session. So it's just easier to think about a treadmill workout in 30 minute blocks.

After a couple of minutes a young stud got on the machine to my right, did a few dramatic stretches and cranked his machine up to 7 MPH (9:00/mi pace). He lasted about 3 minutes, stop the machine, did a few more dramatic stretches and repeated the process. It was the strangest treadmill workout I’d ever seen. After he left, another youngish guy hopped on the machine and set off at a 10:00/mi pace. He looked much more like a runner than the strange dude that preceded him. Now I had two serious runners on either side.

For the first 30 minutes, my HR stayed stable at 137 (79% HRmax) and I decided to keep running out the next 30 minutes at the same 9:40/mi pace. I wasn’t breaking any records, but I was staying aerobic and breathing comfortably through my nose. The lady to my left restarted her machine 4 minutes earlier and the fellow to my right eventually restarted his machine once his first 30 minutes ran out. I really was running with real runners. This was a first for my gym.

My HR drifted up a few points and as I approached the one hour mark and I noticed that guy next to me had cranked his machine down to an 8:50/mi pace. Shoot, I could do that. I already had a nice 6.2 mile aerobic workout, so it was time for some fun. I started up my machine again for another 30 minutes and matched my neighbors 8:50/mi pace. After one mile (7.2 miles in total), my legs were feeling good and my HR only went up to 145; I still had a lot of head room. My running buddy decided to slow down, so the only appropriate response was to speed up. I took treadmill up to a 7:42/mi pace and completed another mile. I backed the machine off a little, down to 8:00/mi pace, but realized I could get in 10 miles before the treadmill timed out at 90 minutes if I pushed things a little harder.

I took the treadmill down to 7:10mi and cruised along for a bit. However, the math wasn't working out. I still needed to go faster. I cranked the speed up again to a respectable 6:58/mi pace and my HR responded by increasing to 163 within a minutes. My nice and easy nose breathing was long gone and I was starting to breath much heavier; but the legs still felt OK.

With 9.7 miles behind me, I still wasn't going fast enough to reach my 10 miles in 90 minute goal. I don't know why this mattered to me at that moment, but it did. The lady to my left had finished up a few minutes earlier and was replaced by a walker and the guy to my right was in his final cool down. I wasn’t going to get any inspiration from either of them, so I hit the speed set button a few times and took it up to 9.4MPH (6:23/mi pace). The treadmill has really cranking now and I had no idea what my HR was doing. My chest strap had slipped down to my gut and there was no way at this pace that I was going to try to get it adjusted. The seconds continued to tick down the distance counted up. I was going to miss by a few seconds, but I didn’t dare increase the speed anymore. I was already running much faster than I’d run in the past 2 months and I’d never been on a treadmill going any faster than 7:40/mi before. One wrong step and the machine would send me off the back end and through wall behind me.

The machine timed out and went into “cool down” mode and it was a full 11 seconds before the mileage digits acknowledged that I completed 10 miles this morning. I missed 10 miles in 90 minutes by 11 seconds; however, I left the gym elated. This was the first time since San Diego Marathon on June 3rd that I’d managed to get out over 10 miles. It felt great.

While I was screwing around in the gym, a number of you were out racing:

Chad, Lisa, and Pat ran a hot and humid 5K on a hilly course in Phoenix. I had to go up to Flagstaff AZ to support my daughter's soccer team and wasn't able to join them. In addition, Stephanie ran her first 50K since moving to Southern California from Manhattan.

I'm sure there are more of you racing this weekend, but I haven't had a chance to catch up after getting back from Flagstaff.

Have a great week.

19 comments:

Gotta Run said...

You should feel elated!! 10 miles.. I will take that any day!!

Reading your chase down report lets me know that you are back :).

J~mom said...

The guy doing the stretches sounds hilarious! Glad you got 10 miles in, that must have felt great!

Thanks for the shout out and your kind words! It was a little hot out there.;>)

Glad you are ok, we all looked for you yesterday!

Thomas said...

Wow, nice strong finish to a good run. You really managed to crank out 6:23 pace? I'm impressed.

ReneeMc said...

Nice strong run. I am especially fond of the treadmill forcing you to cool down before the mileage is achieved. One time, I was going a 5K program and this happened. What? Crazy!

~concrete angel~ said...

Wow, double digits..good for you! Sometimes I take double digits for granted, but after being sick this spring, and not running more than 3-4 miles at a time for weeks...the first 9 and 12 felt GREAT.

Not sure how you did it on a treadmill though...for me it's hard to do anything other than workouts/tempo on there...doing easy to moderate miles on it kills me. I'd rather get my sorry butt out and run at 4:30 or 5 am as this girl hates the heat as well (though it's hotter by you).

Always plenty of characters at the gym, that's for sure!

Deene said...

those 30 minute intervals present a challenge when you want a longer run at the gym. isn't it funny when the other runners started trying to match paces, it's almost like road rage.

coty said...

A run well done! Nice to get that feeling again..

Anne said...

This sounds as close to running in a treadmill "pack" as I've heard. Glad you were so motivated.

Lana said...

Awesome run, Phil!! 10 miles on a treadmill is tough enough as it is...but to run in it in that pace is great.

Love2Run said...

You're going stir crazy racing on treadmills now. I think you need to find a good outdoor road race! Good luck.

Michele said...

10 miles on the tredmill?!
What a great pace.
Please never come here and run with me and Lana, between the two of you trying to keep up with each other I would be left in the dust!!

miss petite america said...

awesome run! i love "racing" other peopl on the treadmills too...and it's much nicer to be in an air conditioned building in august than outside!!

Addy said...

Great job! My problem (or perhaps benefit) with treadmills is that I get the same way wanting to break random time goals, and end up speeding up bunches. Unfortunately for me, this means that I usually push too hard. You, I suspect will benefit from this speed workout. And my goodness, I can't even imagine going as fast as you did, especially at the end of 10 miles! Congrats. And Congrats on breaking double digits for the first time in a bit, on a treadmill no less :)

stephruns said...

Beware of those treadmills...they are devilish!!!! I always get excited when I read your treadmill reports. I haven't done one in a long time, because my new gym sucks. The mills are more like miniature treadmills and there aren't any inspiring runners to share some fun with. Those games are just so much fun - you play with others secretively;-)

Awesome ! Any half marathons in sight???

DawnB said...

Great job Phil!! I can't ever remember getting in double digits on the treadmill!!!

Laurie said...

Wow. 10 miles on a dreadmill is an accomplishment in and of itself, finishing in just over 90 minutes is icing on the cake. Well done. It sounds like you are back!

Sempre Libera said...

I think it's a safe bet to say you're back - way to go!

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Great job with the 10-miler. That was a heck of a progression from start to finish. You were flying at the end. Sounds like you are starting to get your running legs back.

Ewen said...

That was an impressive run Phil. Not only physically, but mentally, in that you seem in the right mood to tackle solid marathon training. Well done.