Saturday, August 23, 2008

Two Mile Time Trial

This morning's workout on the training plan was a two-mile time trial.  Last week, I ran the 2 miles in 15:35 - my fastest time for 2 miles EVER - however, I had very little left in the tank afterwards.

My goal today - run as close to an 8:00/mile pace over the first two miles, and then do a cool down run/jog for the last 1.1 miles of the 5K course.

To help me out on pacing, I mapped out the course again - this time noting where each quarter mile ended so I could check my splits.  Even though Google Maps' hybrid view shows the street and satellite view together, it is sometimes difficult to find an appropriate landmark to determine where each quarter mile ends - so this was not an exact science.  But it was close enough for my purposes.

I started this morning by stretching before venturing outside.  I was feeling a bit tight - and this could have contributed to my foot cramping earlier in the week.  I left the house at 7am - 59 degrees outside and sunny.  What a great morning for running!  Later in my run I realized that I forgot my sunglasses...I'll have to remember those next weekend if it is a sunny day.

I jogged up to the race's starting line - less than 1/2 mile from my house - at a 10:55/mile pace.  I then stretched a bit more and started my run.

I found my 8:00/mile pace pretty quickly as my first 1/4 mile split was 1:59.6.  Wow!  That was perfect.  Split #2 was 1:56.6 - this is a 7:47/mile pace which is a bit too fast for me at this point.  I knew I had to slow it down a tad - and the fact that the next quarter mile was going uphill made me naturally slow down.

Split #3 was 2:10.  I guess I slowed it down a little too much (well, going uphill definitely helped out there).  During the next quarter mile I saw two other runners that were marking out the 5K course.  They were running slowly - about a 12:00/mile pace - so I was able to overtake them pretty easily; however, it was a great feeling passing other runners while doing my "fast" two-miles :-)  Split #4 was 2:03, making the first mile 8:09.  A little slower than I wanted, but not my much.

The first quarter mile of the second mile was flat and then downhill.  I coasted as much as I could but did not want to speed up too much.  I'm still trying to keep that even pace, remember??  I checked my watch at the quarter mile point - 1:49.7.  Oh well...a bit too fast (but I just made up for the additional 9 seconds that I was behind on the first mile!).  Splits 2 and 3 on the second mile were closer to the 2:00 I was hoping for - 2:01 and 1:58.

One more quarter mile to go and I was on track to 16:00.  However, the course starts to get a bit uphill again.  And I am starting to tire out.  Again.

At this point I was starting to question whether I'll have the will to keep pushing past that second mile and finish out the race as strong as I started.  There is a good half mile there - from miles 1.75 through 2.25, or a little past that - that are uphill.  It's not a big incline (like at Riley's Rumble), but it is constant.  I know that if I was a bit more diligent with my core training, that I'd have a better chance getting through this...but I have been pretty lax about it lately.  I'm going to try to make a commitment to core training this week - doing most of the exercises every day - and hope that this will help getting through this difficult part of the 5K next weekend.

I kept on going - not at full speed since I still wanted to "recovery jog" the final 1.1 miles of the race course - but I tried to keep that 8:00/mile pace.  I got to the two-mile mark and saw my split - 2:09.

Two miles in 16:07.  8:04/mile pace.  Not bad at all.

I slowed it down and continued the running up the steady incline.  I started to enjoy the wonderful, crisp morning again now that I wasn't pushing myself so hard.  It's ironic - when I first chose this training plan I was excited that my workouts would be shorter, however, I now realize I would rather do longer runs at a slower pace than the shorter more-intense workouts.  One more week and I'll go back to running bliss :-)

It ends up that my "recovery run" was not so slow after all.  I think it is hard for me to slow down after running fast - I was in such a rhythm and my body doesn't want to break from that rhythm.  I finished the last 1.1 miles in 10:40 - a 9:42/mile pace.  And a full 5K time of 26:47.  That's only 26 seconds off my current 5K PR of 26:21.

Although I'll be shooting for a sub-25 minute 5K next weekend, I know that even if I don't reach that goal I'll be in really good shape to set a new Personal Record.  Perhaps all of these shorter, intense workouts will be worth it after all...

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