Sunday, Dan was planning a 5K track run, as a baseline; to figure out how much training he’ has to do to get a PR. I needed to get in 5-8 miles, but wanted some speedwork too. So, I decided in a fit of genius to run to the track, meet up with him, do some sprints, then get a ride back from him.
I headed away from the track for a quick lap around the area before heading toward the track (straight shot ~4 miles on a greenway). My first mile was 9:00, and I thought “Well that’s okay. I can slow down and settle in. I have another 4 miles, plus speedwork.” And I thought I settled in some during the second mile, but it was a 9:01. I then hit a half mile uphill jaunt, which slowed me to a 9:18. And then began pulling back a bit- a 10:33, with another uphill struggle for a good bit (and confusion of which way to fork on the greenway). My next mile I felt comfortable, and the 65-degree sun was warmly hitting my back. With the wind blowing, I felt great! And then Dan drove past, and honked with encouragement. 8:59.
I then hit my final hill (close to a mile uphill) to the track. I just tried to let my legs loosen up some. I noticed I was hitting 6.0 miles. I kept looking for the turn-off for the middle school, and was thinking I maybe missed it. Especially when the sidewalk ended. But the next turn off was the school. I slowly jogged to the stairs, hit them quickly. Then, hit the track with a decent stride for a 400m sprint. 1:21! Nice (Okay, I started a little after the official start line, so it was about a 335m, but still…) I dropped off to grab some Nuun (Thanks Dan for bringing that to the track for me). Walked around once, then ran a 100m sprint. Then walked 200m, and ran 200m. Walked 200m, and ran another 200m. My final “200m” was actually 225m, and I clocked it in 0:49. I don’t generally time these things. But felt like I finished strong. Well, hard. My legs almost gave out as I finished the last sprint. Which, isn’t that really the point of sprints? To push you to your limits? I stretched a good bit, and walked a few times around with Dan, who was finished and cooling down.
[Dan’s 5K was off. His goal was 6:30s for the first mile, and sub-6 by the last mile. Instead, he was keeping a strong 6:15, which he said felt way too hard. He was tight, and couldn’t loosen up, so scrapped it at about 9 laps, after a decent warm-up. I felt bad, as he was hoping for better. But I am guessing he has learned something from the workout and will hit his goal in the next one]
So my total mileage ended up at 7.05, average pace was 9:33; though average pre-track was 9:18. Mostly 9’s excluding the excruciating uphills of the course (which have made me stop to walk in the past)
All in all, I felt like I pushed myself well. I maintained a 10K pace for the first 10K, then got in some good strong sprints at the end. I ran a social run to kick off the Rock n Roll series coming to Raleigh in 2014. Three miles with Dan (and ~100 of my “closest” running buddies haha). All the major muscles in my body are pretty sore, but I definitely feeling like I am becoming a stronger runner. All thanks to compression socks. Or myself. But probably the socks.
I always think as I become a stronger runner, I become a stronger person. So, stronger is better.