It’s just midnight on a school night and I am only now starting to feel like maybe soon I’ll be ready for bed. This from the woman who is normally in bed by 10 PM and wishing she’d gotten there half an hour earlier. Why, why, why such energy at such a belated hour? Two words:
Nooo, not a downward spiral. [Begin Valley Girl accent.] I’m like soo totally past that stage of my life. I said, “Downward ladders!” It’s a speeeed workout, like on the track? (Du-uh!) [End that accent, god that was awful.]
This is one of my all-time favorite track workouts, second only to Pyramids. You start long and slow….and you end up short and fast. That’s basically it, except it’s not naughty like it sounds. Though, at the end of the workout you feel so good you could perhaps forget for a moment that you weren’t naughty. At least, for me, the afterglow is kind of the same. Um….!
It was 48 degrees when I left the office to head down to Paragon Sports for my first Nike Speed of the year (the first session was a week ago, but I was a little busy). By the time we made it to the Lower East Side track, the chill evening had won me over and I was ready to wax poetical about what a perfect night it was. On our first loop around that perfect orange oval, DT rightly pointed out that the usual wind that hits us head on off the river was mercifully absent. I hadn’t noticed the wind (or lack thereof) because I was too distracted by the gorgeous slate gray striations of the clouds and sky that hung lightly over the East River. This is the sort of thing my senses pick up in the seconds I allow them to focus elsewhere during speedwork.
I aligned myself with the 8-minute pace group (this is based on an estimated 5k race time, taken from my Cherry Tree Relay results). Our pacer kept us honest. I definitely felt challenged, though without that searing, gasping, tense exertion I recall from my hardest efforts in past summers. There is time enough for such suffering; indeed, if I come regularly to these speed workouts, I’ll have six months of weekly interval training under my belt before my goal race. That will be my longest stretch of regular speedwork ever.
The splits were like this: 1200-1000-800-600-400, with 200 meter recoveries except after the first 1200 interval when we ran a whole lap recovery. The times were like this: 5:55-4:56-3:50-2:52-1:43. The paces were like this: 7:47-7:47-7:40-7:30-6:38. Talk about a confidence booster! Even though on the 1.75-mile trot back to Paragon Sports I was a little tapped out, putting my hands on my knees at one red light, I still felt elated about the whole thing. We ran nearly 7 miles total–I can’t remember the last time I’ve run further than 6 miles, so it’s no shocker I was pooped.
Here is something I can carry with me through the season: Shoulders back and down. Abs up. Eyes straight ahead. Knees high. My mind has hooked into my body, and I can feel the interior flow that only comes with that connection. There it is again: recognition. With any luck, soon I’ll hit the trifecta and when my mind and body connect up, so will my spirit. Together, we will run forward, slingshot around the outside curve and cut it loose until we’re flying up the straightaway.
Here I come.