Thursday, September 1, 2016

Today’s stop-start

Met Ken at Junior High dirt track at 6:00 a.m. Walked a few revolutions with him, but then he left for home, and I faced the daunting task of accumulating 8 miles of speed-work. My whole being reverts to absolute resistance when he departs, and I look down to set my Garmin to “start” for the 8-mile speed-work,.

Dreadful! I’m at zero miles and I won’t leave the track until I’ve completed the whole grueling 8 miles. 
I could give up and go home. I want to give up and go home to EAT.

During the past few years my pace has sunk from relaxed 10:30 minute miles to 11:30’s to 12 and now to13-minute miles in weekly road work-outs. 

The only way I can pull off the six 91/2-minute-miles in a 10K race as I did in March is to DO SPEED-WORK. Under race-pressure, my body remembers how to zip along, learned and practiced during this speed-work drill.

So, I started out, barely moving, pushing myself against resisting muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments to a pitiful 14-minute-mile on the straight-away. Picking up speed on the next revolution, I spotted a creamy golden dog, ambling toward me, wearing a lab/golden black-lipped smile. Hodi!

My friend, Kim  and her much loved pooch joined me, just home from a trip. Her grandkids’ magical introduction to the family farm near Ashland, Oregon. Her grandkids, all preschoolers and all cousins chased chickens, picked apples and splashed in a real pond. These kids are growing up in suburban Southern California where ponds are as rare as chicken coops. They were captivated and the adults gratified to continue a yearly generational pilgrimage to the family fun farm.

Kim, Hodi and I mostly walked around the track for about 4 miles until they had to return home.
Back to my solo work-out at the track, I faced the same 4-miles of speed-work I started out to conquer. 

I always complete 8 miles at the track. 
4 miles of intervals where I go fast on the straightaway and slow on the turns.
Then I time myself for a mile, 3/4 mile, 1/2 mile and finally 1/4 mile.

Soon Kim will return to work and I won’t see her in the a.m., so when she joins me, I skip the longer distances. and do only the interval-speed-work. Pressing myself to “surprise my cardio” with bursts of speed is more essential to my fitness than the longer segments.

Again, I started round the track.  “I should  be well warmed up by now!” I whined to myself as I struggled up to a blistering 14-minute-mile pace. I kept up my crazy turns around in circles, checking my Garmin until I hit an 8-minute pace on the straightaway. Found an ice-cream stick in the dirt and I scratched my progress in the sand. 

Go! Go! Go! I told myself, working my arms. I marked 6:45 next to the 8:00. 

I concentrated on leg turnover. Felt strong, pictured myself running in a race with competitors at my heels—6:30.

I looked ahead at ruts on the track—a leaf, a stone and told myself to “reel it in,”—reached 6:25. 

And finally when my watch read almost eight miles and I knew I’d be leaving the track, I worked my arms, visualized rapid leg turnover and forced a rhythm of the fastest footfalls I could muster: 6:15.

I marked the 6:15 in the sand and left the track to walk home. One more time, I completed a workout I dreaded. There’s a satisfaction in that.

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