Guys, I’m still so excited about last night’s speed workout that not only do I keep thinking “awww yissss” to myself [and honestly I had to google it to make sure I was using the term correctly… lame old person alert!!] but I also can’t even wait until Sunday’s Weekend Wrap-Up post to talk about it. Yay for a bonus mid-week post!
I hadn’t been to a track workout with the Shammies since August 12, when I could only complete 3 of the 12-16 repeats everyone else was doing because my shins were being stupid and splinty. I missed 2 months of workouts due to resting those splinty shins, nursing multiple bruised toenails, traveling, and commutes gone awry that saw me getting home too late to make it to the track on time.
Last night, though, I was determined. I got home at a decent time, changed, grabbed my neon yellow jacket so that I’d hopefully be seen in the dark, and walked down to the track. The Shammies were barred from the track temporarily, since a high school soccer game was still going on, so a few of us wandered off to run a warm-up lap around the school while we waited. This is where the awesomeness started.
I didn’t know where people were going to run the warm-up, so I knew I needed to stick with the group so that I wouldn’t get lost out in the dark. Unfortunately, the group in question was made up of some of our fastest runners. Luckily for me my friend Pattie was also part of the group, and we agreed to stick together since we’re not as fast as the others (though Pattie is still significantly faster than I am). I didn’t have Simon turned on yet so I don’t know how fast we were going, but it was definitely faster than my warm-ups usually are! Despite the speed, I was able to keep up with Pattie and even chat along the way without gasping and spluttering the whole time, and made it the full circuit (roughly 1000m) without wanting to collapse. Too much.
Steve wanted to get the workout (5x 800m at 5K pace with 300m recovery and trying to negative split the workout) going even though we were still unable to get on the track, so our first few laps ended up being repeats of what I had just run as a warm-up. I didn’t know that though, since Steve’s description of the impromptu course didn’t sound the same as what I had just done, so I steeled myself to keep up with the others, at least for the first lap.
I usually run the repeats alone (or with Drew, if he’s there), unable to even keep up with the cluster of men aged roughly 65+ who usually bring up the rear, but last night I kept as close to them as I could. The result? My pace for the first 400m was roughly an 8:30, dropping down to an average of 9:10 when one of the guys decided to hang back slightly with me. He was in a chatty mood and I felt bad saying “Sorry dude, now that I know the route I need to drop back down to my prescribed 5K pace of 10:30,” so I figured I’d push myself to see how long I could keep up the faster pace. Turns out I could keep it up for 3 more laps!
We ran the second lap of the school together, averaging a 9:35 or so, and then joined the other Shammies on the now-available track for our third repeat – this one closer to 9:15/9:20 on average. By the end of this repeat I was starting to feel it, and during recovery begged free of my pacer for my 4th. Alone, I aimed to stay down around 10:30 like I was supposed to (the tactic from Steve being that I get used to running a 10:30 and then work at bringing the time down), but Simon says I averaged another 9:35, finishing the last bit strong at 8:30 because I just wanted the repeat to be over.
Not wanting to overdo it, I stopped myself after 4 repeats and basked in my random speediness as I guzzled water and waited for the others to finish. Where did this speed come from?! I figured after having been away from speed workouts for so long I would have lost any progress I had made, but apparently something magical happened in the meantime. Either that or I struggled so much during previous speed workouts because it was 80*+ and humid each time, and the fall weather is working wonders for me. Or, as Drew theorized, I’ve been building my endurance in the meantime so it’s easier to keep a faster pace for entire repeats. Whatever the reason, I felt ridiculously fast and, in spite of my slow recovery jogs between each repeat, even set a new Garmin PR (for real this time) for fastest mile – 9:50. Aw yiss!!
We ended the workout with pickups/flying 30s/sprints. Steve stressed at the start that we shouldn’t go 100% on the sprints so I made sure to hold back instead of taking off like a bat out of hell like I usually do (because it’s my one chance to be fast among the Shammies!). According to Simon I averaged roughly a 4:30 pace for the sprints. Not too shabby!
On top of feeling all proud of myself for being faster than normal, the end of the workout left me with warm fuzzies at being back with my run club again after so much time away. Pattie was talking about how the club feels like a family (Steve chimed in that it’s more like a cult and I laughed nervously) and I got props from several people for having a great workout, which puffed me up even more than I already was. There might have been a bit more swagger than usual in my step as I walked home.
(I also couldn’t help thinking about the silliest race photo I’ve seen of myself yet, one taken at the Beat the Blerch race, where I look like I’m thinking “aww yiss, check me out!”):