The Return of Track Tuesday

Okay, I’ve been dicking around long enough.  I haven’t been to the track since March.  While I have still been running, most of those runs have been at an easy pace, with my only goal being to keep moving during summer.  Well, I’ve decided that one track workout a week won’t kill me.  Hopefully.

I didn’t really plan on incorporating any speed work until I officially started a training plan for the marathon, but after looking over the first few weeks of that crazyass Smart Coach plan, I wasn’t too intimidated by the suggested paces and felt they would be a good way to at least keep a little bit of pep in my step through the dog days.

Planned Workout:  Four miles.  One mile warm-up then 1600 x 2 @ 9:21 with 800 recovery jogs.
Actual:  Four miles.  One mile warm-up @ 10:59, 1600 @ 9:16, 800 @ 10:54, 1600 @ 9:07, 800 @ 11:05

Success!  And it really didn’t suck all that bad!  That TOTALLY means I can run a 4:19:22 marathon, right?

HA!
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Three Things Thursday

1.  I changed my hair color (yet again) at my appointment last week.  This is darker than it’s been in a few years.  I kinda dig it.

2.  I amuse myself way too much in a Dick’s dressing room.  My gift cards from Christmas were still burning a hole in my pocket, so I went shopping this weekend.  I found these on a clearance rack.  Under Armour capris for $19!  They were positively hideous!  I loved them!

BUT they only had them in a sz small, which enhanced the love handles a little too much for my liking.  Bummer.  But I did score three pair of Nike Tempo track shorts on clearance for like $12 each.  Plus have you heard of GeoQpons?  If you have a smart phone, download that app RIGHT THIS SECOND.  It’s free for Droid and iPhone.  They have electronic coupons for almost any store or restaurant you can think of.  You just pull it up on your phone and let them scan it or punch in the number at checkout.  I saved $20 on this one shopping trip alone.  (Not to mention all the $$$ I saved Christmas shopping at various stores, and I’ve used it once at TGIFridays.)

3.   After my long run fail this past weekend, I took two full rest days Monday and Tuesday and then NAILED my track workout on Wednesday.  I felt strong even at the finish.  So maybe that’s all it was.  (Side note:  I changed my intervals from the scheduled 7 x 400 to 3 x 800 with 400 recovery intervals.  WHOA.  Those are like TWICE as hard.)

BONUS!

4.  After said track workout, I lost my New Balance fleece headband/earwarmer thingie!  😦  I decided I didn’t need it and had my keys laying on it while I ran.  I could have sworn I had it in my hand when I got in the truck, but alas it was not there when I got home.  I went back to the school to see if I could find it on the ground anywhere, but it was nowhere to be found.  So I ordered this Brooks one from Road Runner Sports to replace it.  I hope I like it as much as I liked my old one!

Track Envy

I follow quite a few running blogs.  I have for quite some time.  During that time, I have seen several photos of the tracks that you guys run on, and I can’t help but be jealous.  Most of your photos look like this:

So today while I was at my local high school’s track, I thought I’d snap a few pictures just to show you guys how good you have it!

Track?  Or obstacle course?

Track etiquette says runners have the inside lanes.  Yeah… about that…

And speaking of lanes, I’m PRETTY SURE there are supposed to be lines somewhere out there…

Caution:  Uneven lanes

Watch your step

And again

Aaaaaand again

Pretty sad, huh?

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.