Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Stalking Time

It occurred to me that Cherry Blossom - my favorite race of the spring, or perhaps the entire year - is just around the corner. In fact, I ONLY have two weeks to get ready...

With that in mind, I had a good first week back.

On Monday, I got in an easy 10 (70:00) with Luff along the towpath.

The next morning Luff and I took to the streets of North Bethesda and got in 8.5.

On Wednesday I ran an easy 5 with Koonce in the morning before heading to B-CC that night. The workout was tough (for me), but it was just what I needed. I left the track huffing and puffing..longing for a cigarette and a pint of cheap whiskey (joke). I ran 3 x 1200m (2:30 rest) at around 5:00/mile pace before moving on to 4 x 600m - 1:44, 1:43, 1:40, 1:42. I called it a day after that, forgoing the prescribed 300m reps. It was a 15 mile day.

On Thursday morning, Luff and I ran a sufferfest 11 miles down to and around the Walter Reid Annex trails. The color green is starting to poke through the grey-brown landscape, but the unseasonably cold weather makes it feel like spring is far from near. We were both tired from the workout and it felt as if we ran a mile too far.

On Friday I ran a very easy 7 with Catherine, Koonce and Jimmy.

On Saturday, I drove out to Ashburn to compete in the Van Metre 5 Miler. Three years ago, in 2010, I ran a PR of 24:46 here. Knowing I have to race myself into shape, I figured this "Red Fox-endorsed race" was the perfect place to bust some rust. I took off the line conservatively, hoping to run my first mile (uphill) in 5:10-5:15. A sea of blue and white - all GRC teammates - surged around me on all sides. Alex Benway, the Viking, did the lion's share of the work in the first mile (5:13 - GPS), but once we crested the hill, I decided to drop the hammer some. Benway, The Outlaw Jerry Greenlaw and new harrier Paul Balmer followed suit. We hit mile 2 in 5:04. We traded the lead on numerous occasions, not in an effort to shake one another, rather with the goal of keeping the train moving forward. Outlaw fell back around this time, but Balmer and the Viking kept pace. Feeling good, I decided to throw in another surge just past mile 2 and together our trio hit mile 3 in 15:21 (5:04). We traded the lead a few more times running our 4th mile in 5:06. Content that we had worked together for the majority of the race, and sensing I likely could not out-sprint my compatriots, I decided to grind down the pace ever so slowly in an effort to squash their respective kicks. A quick look at the GPS (4:51 pace) suggested I was doing just that. I continued to uptick the tempo, but I began to fall apart with just about a 1/3rd of a mile to go. Viking strided ahead and then I let Balmer pass me. I decided to sit and wait and then throw everything I had with about 30-seconds left to go, however, I was never able to get back on my toes. Viking won in 25:48, Balmer was 25:49 and I was 25:50. I ran my 5th mile in 5:01 (circa 25:29 for 5 miles - GPS watch said the course was 5.08, but with all the tangents and turns it's not unbelievable that I ran .08 extra), my fastest of the race. It was a solid effort and just what the doctor ordered. It was great to work with teammates the entire time. Of course I was miffed to not come out on top, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I got in a healthy cooldown and logged 13 for the day.

On Sunday I met PMurph and Wiggy for the Zoo Loop. Wiggy was scheduled to run some pick-ups and I decided to join him (I wanted to see how I felt running hard on race-weary legs). After an 11-mile warm-up, we ran 8 x 60 seconds (60-sec rest) from "Three Mile Bathroom" back to The Line. We started out running 4:45 pace, but by rep 7 we were south of 4:30. I fell apart on rep # 8, though, like Saturday, it felt good to run the rust out of my system. I got in 15.5 for the day.

It was an 80-mile week.

No comments: