Note: I normally do not do any sort of hard running. Ever, if I can avoid it (outside of races), but usually I wait until the weather becomes more to my liking, and even then I'm real careful about it. I certainly don't fear it, I just tend to race more than most, do long races and prefer to go into them fit rather than fast.
Two years ago I employed this strategy and ran a decent time at the Shamrock 5k in March. Last year I did the same thing, and ran even faster. It's pretty sweet. In fairness, I do let the races act as hard running, and last year I did two indoor meets consisting of the mile-2mile double.
This year my training has been going well. I haven't taken a day off since December 1st, and there haven't been any days that I'm absolutely dead tired. I've had a couple of days where I didn't feel like doing anything, but thanks to my planned group runs throughout the week, I can usually avoid the temptation. So I've been running more days per week and more miles per run, and feeling good about that.
But I had a little itch to do a workout tonight with the trio of Brennan, Arjun and Ben, otherwise known as BrenJunGram. Their workouts have been daunting lately; a lot of 2 mile repeats and up. I haven't done any extended efforts like that in a while. The most I usually do is 3x15min or 3x2mi every so often in the summer on grass. The workout tonight: 2x3mile w/3min recovery, then a 2mile. Yikes. 8 miles of hard running, just two days after Club Challenge.
I felt surprisingly good after the race, but last night I was a little tired and today I was sore. I got down to Fed Hill a little late and only had about 8 minutes to warm up, during which time I regretted my decision to join them for this workout. After a quick hostage release in the Harbor, we got going.
Their plan was to run high 5:30s for the first mile, and I figured I would try and hang on for as long as I could and if I couldn't make it through the whole workout that would be okay. First mile felt quick, but only upon confirmation of a 5:24 did we realize it was way too quick. Definitely for me, maybe not so much for the other guys. Either way, I slowed down a little and came through the 3 miles in 17:05. Shoot, that probably would have worked out to be my 5k PR from high school.
A little under 3 minutes later for me we got going again, this time into a slight headwind. I was determined to go out slower, hopefully 5:45ish, and just stay even. For the most part I accomplished that, hitting the mile in 5:40, but the 2nd mile is a little tough with some road obstacles slowing you down - so I came through that 3 mile in 17:26. Considering I was 16 seconds slower on the first mile, I was cool with that.
Now my stomach was feeling pretty bad, and I still had two miles to go. I was hoping to be able to hang with Ben and Arjun (Brennan had abandoned due to stomach ailment) for at least a mile, no matter the pace, and then play it by ear. They ripped into the interval and I had to slow down. I wound up running an even split 11:36, so all told it was a good workout and I averaged somewhere around 5:45 for the 8 miles. If by September I could hold that pace at Philly Distance Run, I'd be real psyched.
The workout definitely took its toll on my legs, and I'm going to take it easy until the weekend when I'm hoping to get in two solid runs while I'm in NJ. For now, I'm pleased I made it through a workout on a chilly evening around the Harbor. Of course the weather over the next few days is supposed to be much nicer, but whatever.
THEN it was party time. Mardi Gras clearly doesn't hold the same weight in Baltimore that it does in other parts of the country, but I was determined to make it out for some Fat Tuesday celebrating. I talked a few people into going out with me, so the BrenJunGram trio did in fact make it out as did Luna and Leighanne, and we hit Kooper's in Fells. They actually had a big banner out front and had some Mardi Gras specials, which was cool. Now that it's over, I guess it's onto 40 days of being good.