Feasting on speed

It's been a rough two weeks since the Maple Leaf Half-Marathon. Tempo runs have been punishing and long runs have been pathetic. I'm been exhausted at work and been so nervous about getting sleep that I can't fall asleep (how does that happen?!). Who's idea was it to run a Half-Marathon at the beginning of peak training for a Marathon? Oh right, mine.

When I woke up this morning I wasn't having any of it and seriously contemplated sleeping in--but this was my favorite workout (4 x 1 mile) and I only get to do it once every two weeks, so I wasn't going to pass it up.

I get to the track and really don't have high hopes: I just wanted to get an ego boost from coming in under the 7:43 prescribed time for each repeat and go home. I start out at a comfortable pace, since my goal for the first mile is just to hit 7:43, but at lap two I realize that even though I'm going comfortable I'm going way faster than a 7:43 mile. I slow it way down for the second half but clock in a 7:30 mile.


Mile two, same situation, but in 7:14. It's not that I've never done this pace before, the shock is that I'm still not trying hard. At this point I start thinking that I can really do some damage to my one-mile PR of 6:55. But I don't want to get my hopes up so I tuck the idea in a back corner of my brain.

Mile three: 7:00. Now it's starting to get hard, but I haven't given it my all just yet. But wait, who do I see during my final lap but one of my co-workers. Oh crap. I've never seen her at the track before. After I finished the mile I do a lap with her, we exchange a few surprised hellos and a couple of I-didn't-know-you-ran-around-heres, then I went off on the final mile.

Now I had an audience. I had to crank out a really good final push.

I start and immediately concentrate on form and turnover. I'm counting off the laps and they go by so fast. At the half way mark I look at my watch; it's my fastest half-mile of the morning. At the start of lap four I know that I don't want to "leave anything on the shelf" so I start imagining that I'm going through a partially emptied pantry and throwing out anything that is left in it, literally making sure that there is nothing left on the shelves. (Don't laugh, you know you have your silly things too.) Surprisingly enough, I actually start to move faster. If I can just hold onto this for the next 300 meters I'm all set.

At the final turn I feel my left shoe getting looser (are the laces coming undone?) and my stomach acting up (now? really?) and try to ignore it all knowing that the end is just 150 meters away. 50 meters away I close my eyes because I can't stare at the finish any longer, I'm bringing my heels up to my butt cheeks, pushing my feet as far forward as they'll go, and burst as much as possible with each liftoff.

I hit the finish line. 6:41. Holy crap. That's 14 seconds off my best. Where did that speed come from? And more importantly, how can I get that on race day?

I waved goodbye to my co-worker (who I would see at work an hour later) and do a well deserved cooldown on the way home--too much in shock of what I've just done to relaized what I've just done.

Go me.


Laura said...

Sunday run from Super Runners Shop? I'm in town this weekend!

Also, I'm considering doing Newport as a double with Atlantic City.

Jess said...

Yay you!

Marcy said...

Sweetness my friend! Very nice!

*aron* said...

WOW awesome job on the run!! i love when those speedy runs come unexpectedly!

The Laminator said...

Wow...you tore it up! Congrats. Maybe all this marathon training is improving your short game as well!

Laura said...

I need to bail on a run tomorrow, but hopefully we can meet up soon! I don't have any travel plans in the near future other than Akron next Saturday.

chia said...