my 1-mile track creation

Last night, my plan was to do 8x200s. There are only a few local tracks “open” to the public. I still don’t fully understand why I can’t run sprints on a track I spend tax dollars on, as long as it’s not in use… There is a track RIGHT behind our neighborhood, but it is a private school, and there are often events going on weeknights.

So I decided to run around the PNC arena. I mapped it out at work- it was about 1.5 miles to jog around once. I thought this would work nicely. So when I got home, I laced up my fast shoes, and jogged the half mile there. Then began the sprints. I think the last time I did sprints, we ran 400m, about a year ago, and my legs were still fast enough to compensate for my weakening cardiovascular strength. And we finished them in around 1:30. I was thinking these 200s should be around 1:00, but, really I just wanted to get a good baseline.

I used my garmin, to track by 0.12 (or 0.13) miles, so it may have been off slightly. I forgot I could switch it over to meters until I was finishing up and looking at my numbers.

You can easily do the same- found a somewhat-flat loop, anything from 0.5 to 1.5 miles usually works fine. I occasionally ran sprints at my old apartment complex, which had a half mile stretch of flat road from the entrance to my apartment. However, if you plan to run back and forth on the same stretch of road, you have to have an insane amount of determination and will power. You will be sweating and panting, and your legs may even be shaky and feel like giving out, while your neighbors are on their patios, enjoying a beer, talking with friends, eating, sometimes even grilling out nearby.

My loop around the arena seemed logical. It was mostly flat, but an occasional +/-30 ft here or there.

Lap 1.

This actually doesn’t feel too bad. It feels good to run fast. How fast am I going (glance down at watch and see I only have 0.05mi left, something in the 7:30s). Alright! Ugh. Little hill. Keeping pushing! And done!
Jog it off. Hoping I will get up this mini-hill before the next interval. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea. Oh, bikers. Excuse me, cyclists. Wow, they are going fast. Ope! Time again…

Lap 2.

Just try to keep it around a minute. 1:05 is fine too. Just push it. Seriously more cyclists? Where am I supposed to go? There are 20 of you, coming at me at 25mph. Alright good. Now that the cyclists are gone, and hill gone, time to kick it in…. And, 0.13mi.
Alright, and jog it out. That didn’t feel too bad. I mean it was uphill. I wonder how much? Hmmm… Oh, there’s a sidewalk. … Oh wait, that sidewalk goes to the parking lot; not to another sidewalk. Guess it’s back to the road again. Crap! I missed the interval… (0.14mi “recover”)

Lap 3.

Turn it up on this one. Go hard!… Ugh. Hard sucks. No, really. This sucks. …How much longer? Phew, only 0.05miles. I love 200s! …And done!
Shake it out. Go easy. [Stomach] starting to cramp a little. You can always walk these recovery intervals if needed… And, need to make sure I don’t miss this interval start.

Lap 4.

Wow, breathing. Just get into it. Ugh, this sucks. What number am I on? Ugh. Ugh. [panting gasping]. Ooooo. Cramp! Try to keep a decent pace, and get under a minute…
Nice. Okay, and walk, and stretch. And I can do a full 0.25mi recovery if my breathing isn’t right yet. Just keep breathing… Deep breaths. Oooo, I’m about to turn on Trinity; that means a downhill interval. Woo! Those are SO MUCH FUN!

Lap 5.

God! This feels SO MUCH easier than an uphill sprint. hahaha. I could get used to this. (Yes, I think I laughed and smiled on this one). Just let go. Legs are responding. That cramp is gone. This is great! Downhill sprints are so much fun!
Holy crap! 53 seconds! That’s awesome! I’ll pretend it wasn’t downhill the whole way, and walk some to make sure that cramp is gone. Ugh. Cramp still kinda there. I’ll go 0.25 this recovery. Wait, what number am I on? Was that 5? Three more? That’s it. No, I must be doing my math wrong… Time to go again.

Lap 6.

Just keep your pace in the 7’s, and keep going. It’s hard, but it feels good.
And rest. Walk… Okay, pick it up to a jog. Yes, a little crampy, but I am breathing hard. It happens.

Lap 7.

I zoned out a little. Not sure what happened on this one.
Well, at least I was under a minute still. Okay, time to jog up that hill, then sprint down it for a good-feeling final sprint…

Lap 8.

Maybe I should do one more…? These actually felt pretty easy. Am I putting on the brakes? Body, you can go fast down this hill. It’s okay. And push it. Easily in the 6’s. Nice.
Oh my god. I’m down. God, no, I am not doing another one. Why did I think that was a good idea. Okay, pick it up to a jog. And just make it up that stupid hill to get home.



Looking back, I am so proud. I finished 8x200s. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish those when I put it on my training calendar. And they were decently fast. And I was without pain (for the most part).

Side note: I got home, and went to the fridge for something cold, and ended up grabbing a pickle slice. Oh my god. I totally understand why some people drink pickle juice after hot/ long runs. It was so delicious, I grabbed two more slices. I haven’t started drinking the pickle juice yet. Maybe in July…

Today, my legs are a little tight. But, not too bad. At this stage, my legs tend to be stronger than my lungs/ breathing. And truthfully, my ab is a little sore today. But, my abs are really weak from my injury, and this sore is a “I worked out” type of sore.

I am also trying to get serious again about my eating. All my pants and fitted skirts are tight. Like hard-to-breathe-tight. I could spend a ton of cash on new clothes, or just re-focus on my eating habits. Anyway, so no beer last night. Just pickles. Followed by a delicious cheese(turkey)burger and crackers. And milk. And, no I wasn’t starving myself. And I wasn’t hungry.

Yay for the first round of speedwork in close to a year!

10K+… the plus adds a lot

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.