YesterdayI decided ( probably stupidly) to get in a nice little threshold workout. I dropped my sister off at the movies ten made my way to my Alma Mater, Holy Cross High School in Waterbury. Normally I do my track work in Wolcott, but decided to visit my old stomping grounds, I can say this I don't miss the hill down to the track. The memories of having to sprint up this 10 percent grade in the begining of summer start flooding back, the super studs racing ahead, and me hanging toward the back. I got down to the track and did an easy mile to warm up. The smell was the same burnt ground up tire smell I remembered, the lines were a little more weather worn and the surface was ground down a little more than it was when I last graced its surface almost 5 years ago. Some football player was doing laps, running a mile, walking a half as he conditioned himself for spring training as I made my way to the inside lane after I finished my warm up. The words of my track coach ringing in my head 4x 800m thresholds, use the first one as an easy one then descend the remaining 3 between 5-10 seconds. 60 seconds rest between each, feel like you could have pushed harder at the end of the workout , don't thrash yourself. 9 years ago as a feshman these words seemed like blasphemy by senior year I understood. This workout was a gas gauge, how fast was your "go to pace." A test to see what was possible, after more base, more hills, and a little speed. a test to see if your training plan was working or if you should go back to the drawing board. A test of lactate, before all the high tech toys of Garmins, HR monitors, powertaps, GPS Monkey Calibrated thingambobs, just you 400 meters of rubber and a stop watch, training as ,dare I say, it should be. I did my first 800 going noticeably slow. 4:10, took my minute walking around not to get stiff, cleared the stopwatch and off on to number 2. This is where it would get tricky, in high school I would suddenly blast off and try to catch the faster guys and blow up. Today there were not faster guys, just me and the clock. I took off on Number 2. I finished it in 3:58. 18 seconds, maybe I pushed a little too hard but set my goal for # 3 3:53 Took my minute then it was off again. I kicked it up just a little bit more on this one, running down some older guy who was doing his distance run on the vulcanized surface. 3:38...20 seconds. I took off the long sleeve for the next one, I need to fly, crack 3:30. My minute rest finished and off I went. I did the first lap fairly hard I didn't take a split I was just running by feel. I continued to push trying to pick up the pace on the second loop, building through the turn, cranking down the back strech, building through the final turn and sprinting down the home strech. 3:21. Not a bad one, I felt like I could do another but decided not to push it. I did an easy 800 and stretched before making my way back to the car. It was a good workout no frills, no fuss, the way I like it. Is this the best kind of thing to do to improve a half marathon split, not really , there weren't enough repeats, but a least I know my progress. Right now I know that I can easily sustain 7 min miles so hopefully I can break the 20min. barrier at the Griskus sprint, and maybe have a crack at the overall.
I plan on doing this workout, or some longer varation to track my progress throughout the course of the season. The days of just doing easy base rides and runs are over, I need to get my body to suffer, I need to get faster, I want to feel like I did in high school, tired and sore before the races began but knowing when the time came to race I could drop the hammer, my racing is starting to become more than just a weekend hobby, where I throw on my running shoes, crank out a 5k and then guzzle a little brew at the post race? Will I still keep it fun, yeah, if it's not fun why do it? That's why I sign up for most of my locals every year. The other part of me wants to know just how fast I can go.
Dreaming of the day he goes pro.