Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Workout of Truth

I was trying to come up with some other clever title that was close to THE RACE OF TRUTH. But since i am not talking Bike TT's I didnt want to use that phrase. And since i am not really racing at the track ( unless you count me racing the junior high kids that were warming up today while i was smack dab in the THICK OF IT) then i am not racing anyone but the clock.

Hence, the run or workout of truth.

Last time i went to the track the wind was 30-40mph, and it was quite iffy whether i could make the workout worthwhile. But since it was 400s and it wasnt super rainy, coach and i decided i would just go give it a go. The interval was challenging but i think well within my reach, on a GOOD DAY. With the wind it made for some interesting challenges, but lets just say that the 400's where i finished WITH the wind were executed with a bit better form than that ones where i finished into the wind.

Training this late in the season for me is weird. I am really doing ok with it, after a hicup around labor day when i was DONE. It got cold, it is dark, I wanted to be done. I started racing in April this year, and that was after an intense 3 weeks in Tucson in March, so if i do the math its gonna be Oct before i am done.
That is about 7 mos of pretty hard core GO GO GO.

But Fall. Ah Fall. I love Fall. And today at the track i had a flashback to fall tennis. The cool mornings the crisp but sunny afternoons, and the sun at an angle where no matter where you threw the ball on your service toss, the sun was there. I thought to myself " I can do this fall stuff. Fall is tennis time. I did this for how many years in highschool?" And then in college? We played 2 seasons and fall was always better weather, fall tennis was much better than our spring season!

So fast forward to today. Forecast is for winds of 10 mph by 9am, and sun! Yes!It was about 48 when i got to the track, about 52 when i left and a breeze but nothing like old man wind above! Coach is really smart ( in my opinion) with how she gives me track workouts. I am not a spring chicken despite seeing a workout on paper and thinking it looks tame, i know how the track, like a time trial, can humble you in a mere 3 minutes.
So today was 6 x 800 with some warm up and cool down. The interval she set looked ambitious, but then i remembered i had run a 5k this past weekend and kept an average pace of just about 15-20 seconds above this pace ( extrapolated) so i thought...ok, this looks AWESOME. See in my opinon you want a track wko or a bike TT to kick you around but not DESTROY you. I may be seeing double at the end, but i dont want to see double on the first interval or throw up until i am done:) But really I have never thrown up after a race. Great now i likely have jinxed my luck.

I hit the first 800 5 seconds faster than my starting goal. OOPs. I figured it would just have to be a "well lets see how this goes." 2nd 800 is 4 seconds faster, on purpose i held back. And i was feeling good.
3rd 800 I am descending now and it is starting to H-U-R-T. Rich was there too, he was doing some post ride running, and he cheered me on. What a fella. I was trying to take them in 2's. So after the 3rd 800 I thought, OK you are half way done! This is where the breathing and the pukeing starts to be a challenge.
4th 800 I am going strong and then i see them. The junior high boys are headed out for PE and they are warming up on the track. I figure I have about 200 yards till i either plow right into them or i start some fancy footwork. It's their track, and i am a guest, so i do the fancy footwork and dodge the boys. Rich said there a draft effect when i went by, they tailed onto me and sped up until they lost the draft:) I hit that interval about 15 seconds faster than the intial goal time. Yikes. This last one was gonna be a sufferfest.
I was needing to walk a bit before my easy jog and i knew i had to finish with good form and without throwing up on their track, now that i had the teachers and the kids out there.

Last 800 was just perfect, 2 seconds slower than the "dodge a kid" 800 but spot on and it hurt.
This is what i imagined myself doing:

Carrie Tollefson

Light on my feet, arms pumping, and trying to steady my breathing. NO matter what the 400 is hard and after that it just gets harder. I dont care if its 800's or 1200's or 1600's for me i have to steady my breathing and focus on my form or the aftermath isnt nice.

So what is my point to this post? Just that as much as i love time trials I love the track. There is just something so simple about it. Either you make the time, or you dont. I also get to wear my racing flats which i dont wear other than racing, so that is fun bc they are pink:) simple pleasures. And i get to take an ice bath. See life can be so simple with these little joys!

And at the same time i have huge respect for the track bc i know it can do harm if i am not healthy and orthopedically secure. So each corner i round and each kid i dodge, i do with gratitude that my body is letting me do this. And thanks to a coach that doesnt give insane volume at the track. For me at least, that is a recipe for self destruction. My mantra for tennis used to be "one more." This meant alot more than one, in most cases, serves, forehands, backhands, overheads, whatever it was the perfectionist wanted to finish with the perfect hit.
That doesnt really translate so well to the track:)

Stop while you are ahead, is my mantra for the track!

For all you people who are racing cross and / or doing one more tri or du, good luck! For those of you who have eased into some off season time, I am on my way! Happy Fall Solstice!


Running and living said...

I love the track, too!

Kim said...

sista, youre crazy for loving the track! :)

Beth said...

The track definitely doesn't lie!! Great workout Julia! Oh and I hate when the junior high kids come out...they scare me!! :)

Kim said...

WOW! That track workout was a serious one but you executed it beautifully Julia! Trust me, this is coming from someone who KNOWS track workouts! Way to go!!! I keep telling myself the same thing about Fall too (and I started in January)..embrace it, enjoy it, be thankful - this is YOUR journey!

Angela and David said...

I love the track as well, although often it makes me as nervous as a race does. There was a point this summer when I was getting comfortable with it but now because of the achilles I'm back to my race day anxieties.

Great job out there. And nice work staying out there with the boys. I always bail and just run on the road with my Garmin once the kids come out.

Libby said...

you killed that workout girl! nice work!!! I can't wait to be orthopedically secure and get back on the track :) and wear flats again (but I'm getting heebie geebies about that!!)
glad the weather has calmed down, hopefully you didn't get any of that flooding!! I'm missing fall in the midwest :) happy first day of fall (way late :)) to you and rich! what an awesome husband to cheer you on!!!

beth said...

nice job with the workout! thanks for reminding me of the brighter side of track :)

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

there's something about track workouts and cold air in your lungs that give me a high. Glad you feel the same! Hard but good!