If the only thing in life I had to look forward to was speed workouts, that would be pathetic but I would at least be guaranteed an hour of bliss each week.
Oh, lordy! The Nike Pacers have started up their speed workouts out of Paragon Sports again (every Wednesday at 6:30 PM) and I am thuh-rilled. Big shout out to SA who alerted me to this. Last week I was intending to go to what would have been their second of the season, but as you all will recall I was all germy and feverish, confined to my bed, trying to entice Matilda to brew me cups of tea. I was, to say the least, very disappointed to miss the workout. But I say: why dwell on what I didn’t get last week when I got it in such abundance this week?
It was so great to see the faces of some familiar pacers–Lauren, Kevin, Coach Kate and Brad. And, within the first five minutes of our warm up across 20th Street to the West Side Highway, I met a curly-haired redheaded chick who is 30-seconds faster than I am in pace groups and super-cool. I love pulling new runners into my circle of buddies. She’s training for Boston, so of course I said: I’ll be there! I’ll cheer for you.
The workout was 1.5-mile warm up leading into a 3-mile tempo run and followed by a 1.5 mile cool down. Lauren was my own personal pacer since the group was so small, and I kept her talking by making her tell me every detail about her experience running the Flora London Marathon in 2004. (She’s a puppy-not even 30.) I suggested we try for 8:15’s, since that’s what I try to do on my pace runs. We ended up at 8’s. They were challenging, but not impossible: I could gasp my way through my end of a conversation. But mostly it was just fun to be back on the rec path along the West Side Highway, this time feeling strong and kicking butt, unlike my painful Saturday pace run.
By the time we pulled up in front of Paragon, I was elated. Runner’s high, for sure. Ah, speed. Ah, nudging at the limits. I love way every other thought gets edged from my mind; I love that form and breathing become the most fascinating thing on the planet. Speed workouts make me feel like a “real” runner-not that I wasn’t without them, not that I still need affirmation that I am a “real” runner, but I take the fact that I adore them as a sure sign I’m a tribe member.
Knee update: nearly 100% better. When I stretch my ITB I feel great relief, so I suspect that could be the primary culprit. More general physical update: I’ve scheduled a massage for 4 PM on SuperBowl Sunday. Sports fans, all I can ask is, to paraphrase the words of my colleagues at work: please understand I don’t follow football and make allowances. (Hey, I know what a “down” is! I do!) Further update: Encouragingly, I can feel my body switching over into training mode. I’m not as hungry, I crave more whole foods, I don’t suffer through my rest days, I’m starting to wake up around 5 AM without my alarm (okay, that’s just plain scary).