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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Strong Outing, 800 PR (Yes, Again)

3200 meters wu
800 meters 8x100 striders
600 (300) fresh
400 (300) fresh
3x800 (400) good
2x400 very fresh
600 meters wd

Total: 6.625 miles

79°F
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: S at 12 mph
Humidity: 83%
course: Wheaton College track

finish
74°F
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: S at 16 mph
Humidity: 87%

It was a workout I dreaded. Whatever is causing me to sleep terribly was at it again. I began the warm up dragging. First mile was a sluggish 9:10 -- not just the time, but I felt awful. I did my striders before Jim showed up, but then rain came. We all traipsed back into Gilligan's Island underneath the bleachers.

Anyway, when I heard 'good' in reference to the 800s, I was concerned. I don't know my pace for any of this yet, and my pace buddy John was already done with his workout. Jim suggested 3:38, but I didn't know if he was suggesting-suggesting, or just pulling a time out of a hat. I thought it sounded as good as any time, so 3:38 it would be. How would I know how fast to go, given I can't quite 'feel' a pace?

Lee stepped up to the plate. He was aiming for a 3:40. Follow his pace, then shoot up a few meters. Seemed easy enough, until ice skate racer boy Lee shot out of the cannon. Lee unapologetically claims from his ice skate racing days, that's the way it gets done, and hard habits are hard to break. Made sense. I felt good, and left him at the 150 m point.

First 400 = 1:39, finished in 3:25 (1:46)
Next 800, first 400 = 1:37, finished in 3:06 (1:29)
Next 800, first 400 = 1:31, finished in 3:00 (1:29)

I freaked out a little as I did the math. I knew my previous best was 3:05 (August 31), and I had just finished a 3:06. Realizing I did the 400 harder than I usually do single 400s, with another to go, it went to reason that I might not have the juice to get the job done.

Good advice as it related to 800s - the toughest part is the final back straightaway. Why? First 400, less tired. Last 100, that's easy to endure. But there is 200 meters, starting with around 300 to go, that Jim believes is tough. Could be. I haven't run so many yet as to know, so I tried it, and that point of view helped tremendously.

Looking back, as Lee and I discussed, maybe the 3:25 was too slow. Jim wanted us to run these at the same pace. I didn't. Might be 3:15s would have been better. No way to know where I could break equally on each, but to average each, it could mean I should have run 3:10s. Next time.

The victory is not the 3:00. It is that the track workouts are becoming more fun, and I am finding my speed. It makes the rest of the fall look tasty for running.

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