27 June 2014

The need for speed

As I drove towards the track, the massive thunderhead broke open, spraying rain across the road and cutting the air with crackles of lightning. I sat in my car, having arrived early, and debated the merits of cardio enhancement against being struck by a bolt of electricty and what absorption properties the rubberized track might offer.

As start time approached, the clouds moved away, leaving in their soggy wake a rainbow and a still, heavy air. As we ran our 2-mile warm-up, steam rose from the hot asphalt, bathing us in movie-ready fog (cue the Chariots soundtrack) and giving us a glimpse of the coming workout. 

I both enjoy and have massive trepidation about track workouts. The reasons are two-fold and the same for each emotion: track workouts are a simple and true test of fitness and you can't fake the funk and achieve. A proper track workout pushes you to the edge of all-out fatigue, giving you just enough rest to push toward the precipice again while thinking all the while you'll fall off it and just not make it to the next repeat. You focus on your stride, your breathing, your turnover, remaining relaxed and every 200, checking that your effort matches your goal interval pace. 

We had a group of almost 20 out there yesterday and the workout, supplied by Dave F., was a modified ladder: 2x400, 2x800, 1x1200, 1x800, 1x400. This being only my second time on the track this year, I decided to see how the 400s went and then try to maintain that interval all the way through (vice shifting from a 5K pace to a 10K pace). Splits are on the training calendar, if you're interested. 

All I can say is my splits were a surprise and boy, was I was working hard. My stride has changed quite a bit with the injury and I run much more upright - I had the following boons yesterday - my legs weren't heavy, my shoulders were low, my back was straight and my arm swing steady. And I was chasing Brenda E. the whole way. Another positive effort. Boom. 

(And can someone tell Klinsmann to take Bradley out of the line-up until he can figure out how to properly gauge the distance of his passes? And in case you turned to Wimbledon after the USA match, you missed Jan Vertonghen score the winning goal, with a man down, for Belgium. Oh yeah, he's also a Tottenham Hotspur.) On to Tuesday!!

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