wednesdays are my speedwork days – either mile repeats or a tempo run. i’ve had two tempo runs so far this training cycle – both were five miles total of running, three of them (the middle three) tempo. goal pace of just over 7:30 for both.
and both of them i had to stop after the second tempo mile and walk for a few minutes because i was either (a) going to puke or (b) going to pass out. or maybe some combo of both.
today (Week 6 of my cycle – what?!) was SIX miles total, four being tempo miles. goal pace of 7:32.
i was dreading it. because i was afraid of it being miserable. i got on the treadmill (tempo and repeats are the only things i do on the hamster wheel) and started my warm-up mile. 6.3 mph. my right ankle was twingy, my left achilles felt off, my right rear delt has been bitchy lately…basically i was hunting for reasons why this run was going to be a disaster.
warm-up mile done. crank up the belt to 8.0 mph. a half mile in i check my garmin – 7:20 pace, so i click the belt down to 7.9 mph. first mile blows by in 7:21 and i feel surprisingly comfortable. “don’t get too excited,” i tell myself. “give it another half mile and you’ll start feeling like crap.”
second tempo mile. about a half mile in i check my garmin. 7:24 pace. knock down to 7.8 mph.
and i wait to hit the wall.
but i don’t.
second tempo mile passes in 7:25 and i think, “well heck. look at that.” and i move into the third tempo mile. my previously-nagging pains are forgotten. i’m locked in in a way i haven’t been in a long, long time. third tempo mile goes by in 7:30. about a tenth of a mile into the fourth one i feel my quads start to bark a little bit. “you have less than seven minutes left,” i think. “you’re totally going to do this.”
even though the belt stays at 7.8 mph, i finish the fourth tempo mile five seconds faster than the third – 7:25. my overall pace for the four miles? 7:27. six seconds faster than my goal pace.
my cool-down mile was a bit of a struggle, just because i couldn’t wait to stretch and drink tons of water. but i finished and had to refrain from doing a boogie on the ‘mill.
these little victories are what keep me running, even when it feels like i’m not improving or not getting stringer or faster. i wait for days like these. even if and when they only happen every six weeks, on the day you would least expect it.
i also have had the appetite of a pony all day. eatin’ for recovery!!
…so does four mile of treadmill tempo mean i’ll run next weekend’s race in 75 minutes? yes? i’ll just keep telling myself that! : )