Last night I arrived at our track workout expecting to do some number of 800s (twice around the track) and some number of 400s (once around the track). Imagine my surprise when the workout for those of us training for marathons turned out to be four 1600s (four times around the track) followed by two 800s. Whoa!
The coach told us to run the 1600s at our 10K pace. Since I haven't run a 10K since last November I decided I'd stick with Maribeth who runs about my pace, perhaps a little faster. That should push me, right?
Oh boy did it ever push me! Especially since I got there late and didn't get a chance to warm up. After the first 1600 (which, by the way, is a little longer than a mile. At least according to my Garmin) I didn't know if I'd be able to keep up that pace. For reference, my best 10K time was an 8:50 pace. But here are my times from last night:
1600 - 8:36 (Mile time - 8:15)
60 seconds rest
1600 - 8:21 (Mile time - 7:59)
1600 - 8:12 (Mile time - 7:57)
60 seconds rest
1600 - 8:24 (Mile time - 8:22)
800 - 3:59
Approx 60 seconds rest
800 - 3:53
Cool down mile - 9:31
We were REALLY proud of that 8:12 1600. Really, really proud. Of course, on the fourth 1600 I wanted to cry. "Close the gap!" the coach kept yelling as Maribeth pulled further and further away. I started to get anxious and I felt my throat threatening to close up.
"This is just for fun," I kept repeating to myself. Finally, my throat relaxed and I was able to make it all four laps.
The first 800 felt tough. I was really worn out and my legs felt like lead. But then something clicked in the final straight away during the last 800 and I was able to sprint past Maribeth and power my way past the finish.
I'm really glad I didn't ride my bike to track practice. I would have been walking it the 3 miles home. I was worn out. I barely had enough energy to make myself dinner when I got home. But last night was the first night where I really felt like I was pushing myself past my comfort zone and overcoming some of my mental hurdles. Nights like that will definitely make me a better runner. Bring it on!