More Fire!

I’m finishing up packing duties for our vacation so I can’t devote a lot of time to this, but I want to give a little rundown of today’s workout. 

My weekly workout schedule has now developed a pretty consistent pattern, where Saturday is the long run (20 miles), Sunday and Monday are easier recovery days of varying mid-distances (12 – 14?), then Tuesday is the night you hear the most about – speedwork with the group. We always do some sort of awesomely brutal workout at painfully fast paces, a lot faster than I would ever be able to do by myself. Wednesday is another easy recovery from Tuesday and a gearing up for Thursday. Thursday is another rough workout of some sort or another, whether that is hills or speed. Then Friday is another recovery to get ready for Saturday. Visually, this is an up and down of strenuous speed to distance recovery. As we get further into the months, which will probably come sooner than I think, the recovery runs won’t change much, but the strenuous workouts will get, well, more strenuous. I guess that is what the whole “build up” in the blog header is all about, slowly building up the intensity so as to handle the highest workload just a couple weeks before Chicago. 

By the way, I like that the Chicago Marathon is so large and substantial that it only needs to be referred to by its first name. Say, “I’m doing Chicago” and other runners know exactly what you’re talking about. No further explanation necessary. Anyways…

I would rather have ran today’s workout with the group, or even with one other person, but hey, you do what you gotta do. Specifically, it was a 3 mile warmup, followed by 5 x 1 minute hard then 1 minute easy, then 3 miles at approximately 85%, followed by ANOTHER 5 x 1 minute hard then 1 minute easy, and ending with another 3 mile cool down. 

For whatever reason I enjoy doing the broken up intervals, probably due to the rest time in between, but that’s deceptive since the last handful of hard 1 minutes are usually pretty brutal – today being no exception.

I casually jogged the first 3 miles at a pace that I find embarassing to be seen running, but is necessary to avoid injury and not fatigue myself before the good stuff starts. Then I started the first group of 5 x 1 minutes. It felt good to just lay it on at that pace and not worry about blowing up, and that first group went by without incident.

Then I started the 3 miles at 85%. Initially it took me a bit to transition from the pace of the intervals into the 85% (whatever that is), but my body started to adjust for me. It was fun blasting out the 3 miles even as I started to fatigue, as I was running on a rail trail with a few street crossings, so a couple times I was pulling some moves that reignited the adrenaline I used to feed off of while doing bike messenger work. That broke up the monotony of going all out and added a little challenge to the mix. At 1 1/2 miles, where there should have been my third 800 marker and turnaround point..there wasn’t. So I think I ran a bit farther than 3 miles on this. Regardless, I turned around and started pushing the run the other way, into the wind and on a little incline that is noticed in the legs and lungs if not the eyes. I went through the first mile of this run at 5:18 and reset my watch for the last mile, which brought me in at 5:30. I’m guessing with the incline and decline I probably averaged around 5:20 – 5:25 for each mile. 

Then it was time for the last 5 x 1 minutes. These, I knew, were going to hurt. That 3 miles really takes it out of you and it’s difficult to keep your heart rate down after that sort of sustained effort. I started the first of the intervals and made it through those two with effort, but no breakdown. The third interval I felt myself falling apart and worked to focus on the parts I noticed faltering the most, but it was difficult to sustain one part when another was failing. If it wasn’t my core, it was my posture. If it wasn’t my posture, it was my leg speed. If it wasn’t my leg speed, it was my leg strength. If it wasn’t my leg strength, it was my arm movement. I was sort of a mess. I tried my best to stay calm on the 4th one, but yeah, same story. 

Then potential disaster. When I went to stop my watch I hit some function that threw it all out of wack. As I slowed down and tried to fix whatever I did, I managed to step on a walnut and roll my ankle enough to force me to walk. Memories of the trail race I did last spring that REALLY tweaked my ankle ate at my conscious and told me to skip the last one. I walked on it a bit, rolled it around and jogged for the recovery to see how it felt. Screw it, I decided, I’m doing the 5th on anyways.

I started gently at first, but quickly picked up speed as I gained confidence. I’m sure whatever form I had wasn’t pretty, but I managed to knock out that last one and finish the workout. The ankle was decent and I jogged the last 3 miles home, absolutely soaking in sweat, but satisfied with the effort sustained even by myself.

Like I said, I’d rather have done that with a group. Or at 6pm instead of 4pm when it’s super hot. But you gotta do what you gotta do. The fun thing is, although this workout was a minor step up from the last time we did 8 x 1 minutes, this is still just getting ready for the good stuff. We haven’t even put “quality” into our long runs. That’s when it’s gonna get real good.

Finally, tomorrow I leave to see my son in North Carolina, then head up to New Jersey to see my family. Posting for the next week will be sporadic at best. I’m sure I’ll put something up regarding running in Jersey, on the beach hopefully. Until then, take care. Run fast. 



3 mile warmup
5 x 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy
3 miles at 85% (5:18 – 5:30)
5 x 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy
3 mile cool down


Breakfast – 2 pieces toast w/ margarine and peanut butter, coffee
Lunch – Peanut butter sandwich, Sloppy Joe
Dinner – Veggie burger, corn on the cob, sweet potatoes
Snacks – Organic oatmeal packets, water, coffee, chocolate bites, soymilk


One response to “More Fire!

  1. uhhhhh….. corn on the cob AND sweet potatoes.


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