July 13, 2011

Running fast, slowly

Yesterday was a busy day. First, I schlepped stuff out of my parent's basement. They're making way so the ceiling can come down, so the electrician can do his magic. Then I was up on a ladder putting screens on gutters for a while. Then I primed the front bedroom. I thought about taking pictures of all this, but was too busy actually doing to stop and memorialize.

When I got home I had just about enough time to eat, clean up, change, and head out the door. It was my first day for the Second Sole Striders Speedwork Session (say THAT 10 times fast!).

As recommended, I showed up early. About 20 minutes early. There was no one around.
I drove around the front and back parking lot, making sure I was in the right place. By the time I came back around, people were arriving. I'm horrible at meeting people, so was very very nervous. I sat in the car until they moved over to the track, then casually wandered over and asked if they were part of the Striders group. They were.

I hoped there would be people in my speed range, but suspected they would all be really really fast. My suspicions were correct. They were all very nice though. I only remember a few of the names. Adam explained what a 400 (one time around the track, so quarter mile) and an 800 (twice around the track, so half mile) were. Ben called out "Good job!" every time he passed me. Melissa was also a newby, trying to get fast enough to join her college cross country team.

We started with a mile warmup, which is when I realized exactly how much faster everyone was. At least they didn't lap me. Then everyone broke out into 2 groups, for short and long distance. Because I am running a 10-miler next month, I went with the long distance group. They were running mile repeats at ... I forget what the pace was supposed to be. The coach explained to me (as everyone else took off) that I should probably cut it into halves or thirds, this being my first time.

I've never run track, never even run on a track. I've never run with a group or team. My only experience with speedwork is when I played on the treadmill. I kind of had it in my head that there might be a lap clock, like there is at the pool. Or that the coach would stand there with a stopwatch as everyone ran by him, calling out their times. I was wrong on both counts. The "coach" ran with the short distance folks. Everyone had a Garmin, or ran with someone who had a Garmin. I didn't even bring my phone with the Jog Log app. I determined I would just run at a slightly harder pace than normal. I would push, without sprinting.

So that's what I did. I started by cutting the exercise in half. Where they ran a mile, I ran a half mile. Remember that I haven't run in 2 weeks because of my heel. Understand that it was at least 85 degrees. Know that I ran the warmup mile faster than my normal pace. I ran 2 half miles, then cut it down to quarter miles for a total of 3 miles for the evening. I have no idea how fast I ran, but I do know I pushed all the way through. I could tell by my heartrate and breathing that I was working, never mind the sweat. I can tell by the stiffness in my legs today that I worked something.

I left after an hour, content that I put in work and promising to be back next week.

Here's the thing. While the high school track near me is locked regularly, there is apparently a track open about half the distance away as the track this group runs on. I am trying to decide if I need the motivation and accountability of meeting up with people. I am trying to decide if running with these super fast people will intimidate and discourage me. I've already decided I need some form of stopwatch with memory, or a way to carry my phone (I usually carry it in the camelback). I've decided speedwork is definitely a must if I want to improve. The question now becomes when and where.

I think I will be back next week, because I'm not sure I trust myself to do this on my own. We'll see if I get discouraged, being passed all the time. There were several encouraging comments throughout the evening, and while not thrilled with my speed, I didn't leave discouraged last night.

I'm also thinking about getting there early, and getting started early, so I can get the entire workout in before I have to leave early. They apparently post the workouts somewhere. I just have to find them.

No comments: