Oh man, running does stupid things to people. For instance, I now live for Tuesday evenings. TUESDAYS. Who lives for Tuesdays? That’s ridiculous.
Tuesday night, for me, is speedwork night. It’s when all the top competitive runners in Indianapolis (well, most of them anyways) get together and knock out some serious runs. At first I thought it was just a bunch of experienced guys doing some fast runs, but it turns out a handful of them all have the same coach who emails them workouts ahead of time, either for those looking to race soon or those working on a marathon build up. It feels kinda awkward leeching off their workouts since I assume they must pay for the coaching, but then again, I was invited along and the coach doesn’t seem to mind. I think there are a few of us that aren’t under his specific guidance, so it’s fairly formal.
The group itself consists of about 7 – 10 guys that range from around 4:45 to 4:50 per mile 5k’ers to 5:30 per mile 5k’ers. I’m not necessarily in the middle of that pack, but not right up with the head dudes either. I’d say I’m in the top quarter of that group, which is good because it means I’m pushed by the leaders, which can only benefit me, for it is ALWAYS better to run with a fast group. A fast group forces you to run beyond your comfort levels no matter what, only aiding you in increasing speed and endurance. And even more so, sometimes the effort doesn’t even seem that bad when you are cruising along chatting it up. It’s a diversion from the strain.
To be honest though, with literally 2 notable exceptions, I’ve run solo for the past 2 years. You see, I don’t like “dudes”. I’m not a dude and don’t care to be around dudes. When I say “dude”, I’m referring to the relatively immature, trash talking, gay bashing, women disrespecting, blah blah blah types. You know…dudes. However, I was invited to this group by a runner who certainly isn’t a dude, so I thought, what the hell. Surprisingly, although the group has a few dudes in it, for the most part everyone are just really great people, and man is that a relief. And as much as I hate to admit it, even the dudes are charming and enjoyable to be around in their own regard. *sigh* runners.
So anyways, today’s workout was 8 kilometers of hills. We started out with our typical 3 mile warmup at plodding pace before entering a neighborhood to prepare for the all out exertion. The loop consisted of a long decently graded hill that flattens out shortly before a significant downhill. That downhill ends at another short flat before the road turns back up for a shorter, but much steeper climb, and finally back into a screaming downhill that ends at our starting point. That is a 2k loop that we knocked out 4 times.
I held back a touch on the first loop, but made sure to get pulled by the front pack of four guys. The goal is to run each loop faster than the one previous, so that your last lap is your fastest. This is not easy to do. Oddly enough, although I felt labored deep into the first loop, I was still able to maintain pace and soon enough other runners were blowing up and dropping back as I kept the lead runner close enough to gauge pace. Each loop felt more and more difficult but I stayed close enough to keep speed and finished strong just about 10 seconds behind him as the other guys trickled in after us.
Now, I never know how to take the opinions of other runners, especially faster runners, but the lead guy casually mentioned that if I can run those 8k’s at that pace, I should be able to run a 2:25 marathon. I don’t know if I mentioned it yet, but I’m gunning for anything under 2:30. I’m hesitant to make any concrete projections this early in the training game, but 2:25 sounds quite fantastic to me. Right now I’m satisfied with going through 1/2 way at 1:15 and then going after it depending on how I feel at that point. Whatever comes…well, comes. Regardless, the encouragement of a 2:25 projection sure is nice.
We ran another 3 mile cool down before dipping our sweat soaked bodies into the White River for a literal cool down.
Running with these guys is giving me great insight into the marathon and all out training, which is going to reap big rewards I know. Although I’m only going out with them on Tuesdays, we are already discussing Saturday long runs together, out of state trips for races mid-summer, camping trips at Dean Wilderness for trail runs, and more runs throughout the week. The memories of high-school cross country are creeping back in. I forgot about this sense of camraderie. Not to be cheesy or anything, but damn this is nice. I enjoyed the Quentin Cassidy-like appeal to running solo, but this group stuff really is infinitely better, with the added bonus of undoubtedly making me faster.
3 mile warmup
8k’s of hills (up AND down) around 5:20 – 5:40 per mile pace
3 or so mile cool down
Dip into one of Indiana’s most polluted rivers
Today was weird. I had a mysterious, sharp pain in my abdomen that was most noticeable when I breathed deep. It never caused problems during my run, but was consistent throughout the day. On top of that I simply had no appetite. I’m usually weak and hungry all day, constantly eating, but today I had no appetite, but at the same time felt strong throughout the work day. Regardless, it didn’t affect my running.
Breakfast – Oatmeal (peanut butter, turbinado, almonds, raisins), coffee
Lunch – Small snacking on leftover pasta soup (lentils, chickpeas, beans, veggies, nut. yeast, etc.), croissant rolls
Dinner – Leftover soup again (Michelle made A LOT!…and it’s sooooo good)
Snacks – Coffee, Post-run smoothie, Gatorade, Water, Chocolate chips, choco soy milk, Apple