My First Track Workout – AKA Sometimes I Impress Myself

I’ve been doing 400s on the treadmill for quite a while, but yesterday was my first bonafide track workout on an actual oval-shaped asphalt path around a football field.  My training plans have called for 400s to be done alternating one at 5K pace with one recovery interval.  My last 5K in March was a 8:58 pace, so I bumped it down a little bit.  I’ve been doing my treadmill 400s at 8:49, and they felt hard!  The most I’ve ever been able to do was six.  But I’ve ALWAYS thought running on a treadmill at any pace felt much harder than outside.  I’ve just kind of been afraid to try intervals outside because I didn’t think I would be able to pace myself.  But yesterday I put my big girl panties on (Well, technically no I didn’t.  I’ve never made any secret about the fact that I run commando.) and headed to the high school track.  School is out for the summer here now, so I figured any potential embarassment could be kept to a minimum.  I started with the plans of doing at least four 400s, maybe more, depending on how it went.

Here’s how it went down:

1 mile WU @ 10:09

.25 @ 7:43 pace (1:54)  Thought to self, “Whoa there, girl!  You’ll never be able to do that four times.  Slow it down next time.”

.26 RI walk/jog (or “wog” as Kim calls it) @ 11:47 (3:07)

.25 @ 8:17 (2:03)   “Okay, that felt too easy.  Pick it back up some.”

.28 RI wog/water stop @ 12:26 (3:11)   “Dude, it’s hot out here.”

.25 @ 8:05 (2:01)   “Perfect.  Challenging but not stroke-inducing.”

.26 RI walk/water stop/argue with self @ 16:26 (4:36)   “Dude, it’s REALLY hot out here.  Am I getting sun burned?  My face is on FIRE.  This is fun.  Let’s try for six.  Oh, crap, I’m out of water.  Okay, four it is.  But pick it back up for the last one.”

.25 @ 1:57 (7:47)  “Ohhhhh yeah.”
What did I learn from this experience?  #1 – I should be running faster than I have been.  #2 – I can do intervals a full minute/mile faster outside than on a treadmill, at the same perceived exertion level, even when it’s 85 degrees outside.  #3 – That new skin gel the dermatologist gave me causes sun sensitivity.  #4 – Running fast is FUN!  😀
So I feel like I have a good starting point now.  I don’t really start training for anything again until late August.  I’m just kind of in maintenance mode now, but I plan to use this time to work on my shorter-distance speed.  I’d like to build up to 8-10 400s and then when I start training for my fall half-marathons, maybe change it up to doing 800s.
Now on to a totally different subject… we’re looking at extremely bad weather again tonight.  We have had more than our fair share of this already this spring, but the weather gurus are building this up to be the worst yet.  They have even opened up public buildings (schools, churches, etc.) as shelters this time.  I and lots of other businesses got an email from the guy over 911 and public safety for the county stating his concern.  He said in the email that in his career he has never seen the county at a risk this great for severe weather.  We are under a TOR-CON rating of 9, which he also says he has never seen for this area.  The sheriff came across the local radio station this afternoon stating that he had been contacted by the National Weather Service in Memphis informing him that he and his team and the area as a whole should be on full alert.  Considering that this spring’s weather has already been worse than it ever has in my 31 years (we’ve already been hunkered down with all the animals in the interior bathroom twice), it scares the crap out of me thinking that tonight is going to be worse.  A neighbor has told us we can come get in their basement with them if it gets bad, so I have the dogs’ leashes and the cat carrier out and ready to go if we have to grab tail and run.  We’ll take that Tahoe across the yards and be there in 30 seconds flat.  Seeing the devastation in Joplin, MO, coming on the heels of the recent storms of Tuscaloosa, AL, I’ve gained a whole new respect for storms this year.  Prayers go out for all of those people, and I ask for your prayers for my family’s and my community’s safety tonight.