Cold air, mildewing leaves and autumn allergens. It's always a joy to really push yourself physically while your lungs are threatening to implode. I threw a few 2 minute on/1 minute off repeats in to my easy seven mile jog this morning and was rewarded with a chestful of fluid and a lovely rattling noise with each deep inhale. It's nothing that's not normal for this time of year, but that doesn't mean I like it. I feel fine now and I can take a deep breath without the accompaniment of any unpleasant sound effects, so that's a good thing. The next assignment in my 10K training regiment is hill repeats, so I'm looking forward to more fun lung noises tomorrow. I suppose I should try and dig up my albuterol inhaler, but I hate that little gizmo with a passion.
To analyze yesterday's cross country race a little further, I had been planning on running that same course three weeks from now as park of my 10K training plan. I told one of my friends that I'd probably aim for 21:00, since it's a very hilly, challenging course, but that was factoring in the fact that I would have three weeks of tempo runs and track work under my belt. Yesterday I ran the course in an unofficial time of 21:06, just working off a diet of LSD and a solid three-month base of 40-50 mile weeks. Obviously I'm going to have to reevaluate my goals for the November 13th race.
I started the race a little too fast yesterday, trying to take advantage of the flat first section, and hit the mile in about 6:20. I felt I went into oxygen debt way too easily, but this is hopefully where the track work will do me some good. I'd like to aim for just a tiny bit under that split next time, but with significantly less fatigue. Once I hit the hills on the back loop of the course, I really felt out of breath, but was still able to keep up a fairly steady effort. I think a few hill repeat workouts will make a big difference on my ability to really keep my focus through this middle section.
This section of the course from the mile mark through the back hill loop is a real rollercoaster though and not just about the uphills. I'm already a great downhill runner and was pleased with my ability to use gravity without eating dirt. There were a few times on the steepest grades where I felt a twinge in my left ankle as I flew around the corners, but it just costs too much time to be overcautious on those. I did the race yesterday with a friend who is running New York and it would have been stupid for her to risk an ankle sprain at this point, but if your racing Vanny for time, it pays to be a bit of a daredevil.
By the time I came out of the woods and hit the flats yesterday, I really had very little left. Some high school coach saw me glance at my watch and yelled at me for it, screaming that I needed to be "running scared". When I got to the last hundred yards and heard footsteps behind me, I did manage to muster up a little panic sprint, but that last half mile is another place where three weeks of interval training might really pay off.
So, ballpark, what can I buy with three weeks of conditioning?
- :05 on the flat first mile
- @ :03 per uphill....so maybe :15?
- 10 seconds+ on the last half mile, without question