A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Friday, January 21, 2011


This time two years ago I wasn't doing speedwork. Two years ago I wasn't running with the Oak Park club. Two years ago I would never run outside in temperatures below freezing (except for that one race I did in 2008).

But last night I did all three. I purposely avoided looking at the weather after packing my running clothes but I'm pretty sure it was in the low teens with a windchill in the single digits.

I met up with a group of OPRC runners and we drove to the quiet street in a nearby town where we've been doing these speedwork sessions. First we commandeered the town's train station lobby for our standing drills and we worked on learning to be less bouncy when we run. Apparently bouncy is not good. Too bad.

Then off we went on our warm-up loop incorporating our skipping, galloping, high knees and butt kicks. I have to wonder what the people who live in the houses along our route think when they look out the window.

Somehow I accidentally turned the "warm up" option off on my Garmin interval workout so I'm not sure how fast or far we went. It took my lungs and my muscles awhile to warm up and at first I thought this was going to be one yucky workout. The cold combined with the heavy weight lifting I did the night before left my legs feeling like lead. At the end of the estimated 2 mile warm up, however, I felt pretty ready to go.

The plan? 4x4:00 minutes w/3:00 minute rests. Those first two four minute intervals felt like the longest four minutes of my life. The third one didn't feel so bad and the last one I pushed it as hard as I could. I tried to focus on the things we talked about during drills: leaning forward, pushing off behind me, landing with my feet underneath and not out in front. I'm not sure how well it worked.

1st 4:00 interval - 8:03 pace
2nd 4:00 interval - 8:06 pace
3rd 4:00 interval - 8:14 pace
4th 4:00 interval - 7:38 pace

Well, that's why the third one didn't feel so bad! I was going slower! Things you don't realize when it's dark and you can't see your watch.

And while it was cold out my core was perfectly warm. I wore one of my thicker sports bras, a tank top, my Underarmor top, and my jacket on top. On bottom I wore a pair of capri tights under my Underarmor tights. My butt was still the coldest thing on me, though. I suppose that's not bad for running 5ish miles in sub-freezing temperatures.

Now we'll just have to see how I do tomorrow on my 11 mile run. Here's hoping I don't turn into a meat popsicle!


kilax said...

What tricks did you learn to be less bouncy? I haven't heard about that!

Good job! You ARE hardcore!!! You're definitely inspiring me to do speedwork, although I am sure my splits would be a bit different, ha ha ;)

Rose said...


Good luck on your 11 miles tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

You are SERIOUSLY hardcore! For sure! I might play around with speedwork this weekend. And by "play around," I mean....have the option to wuss out if I try it and feel like I might die. :-)

Thanks SO much for your sweet comment on my blog, too! I actually have thought about moving to Chicago before. At least I'd have 2 friends right away!

and then there was METAL said...

meat popsicle is ba\mf

Jessica (Bayjb) said...

Way to go staying warm on the run! A cold butt isn't too bad, cold legs and arms I hate more! Happy Friday!

Anne said...

You are so hardcore! I'm not too crazy about this freezing weather we've been having, but you're inspiring me to keep on getting out there :)

BTW, to avoir a cold butt, I've started wearing nylon pants over the tights and long underwear.

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