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May 30, 2012 / fionarwbl

On Not Skipping The Last Mile

To kick off the holiday weekend I indulged in a little speedwork in the park. Now, when I write it like that, it looks like I had fun. Ha!

Last time I did speedwork on a Friday night, I had a great time, and my legs ran their fastest mile splits ever, so I had high expectations. Of course, I’ve had pretty consistently miserable runs for the last month, so why should this be any different? Well, the sun was shining and I was in a great mood, that’s why. Who cares that my husband had taken my headphones and I would have to motivate myself to the sound of heavy breathing and a thudding heart rate?

I ran my first mile quick! And when I say quick, I mean the fastest non-racing mile of 2012! 7:22. Which was also 28 seconds faster than I was supposed to run it. My actual training plan said 1 mile warmup, 3 x 1m at 7:50 with 0.5 mile recovery, and a cooldown mile. Given a choice between speedwork and a tempo run, I will take speedwork every single time. It’s tough, but it’s short. And you can recover.

So yes, my first mile was pleasantly fast. I was feeling very strong and proud of myself. However as soon as the bleep went off for the second mile, all that strength and confidence vanished. Instead, I became a tired, angry, frustrated person who hated running. My quads and calves were burning, my face was hot, and my breathing resembled a warthog. Not that I’ve heard many warthogs in person, but you get my meaning. I questioned why the hell I was out here on a Friday night, running paces that I was clearly not capable of, thinking that I was something I was not, and fooling myself to believe I could run at all, and wondering just what pleasure I was getting out of this. I was in full Running Hateration mode.

I ran that mile in 7:46

And now came the crucial decision point. During fateful Mile 2, I promised myself that if I just finished, I could stop after Mile 2. My recovery would take me to the Reservoir Loop exit. Would I actually quit? I stopped to get water.


I didn’t quit. Oh wait, the title of this post told you that already. I made myself run the third mile. Running the third mile would make me stronger. Running the third mile would make me a better runner. Why I want to be a better runner is still unclear to me, and maybe it always will be, but it’s what I want to be. Running the third mile would be 8 minutes of pain for an evening of satisfaction. Do it.

The power of positive splitting.

I would love to say that I ended up with an amazing negative split and set an example of how awesome my mind over body powers are. Wouldn’t that be a great speedwork tale to inspire? Nope. I ran the last split in 7:51. I would love to say that I gave that 7:51 my all, but in all honesty, I probably didn’t. I gave myself a bit of a pass on the basis that hell, I was running, wasn’t I? Yeah, I know. I’m not a role model. Still, I am taking solace in the fact that the average of my splits is 7:39, a full 11 seconds faster than my goal pace. Consistency is not my strong point, but I hit my goal. And I felt proud of myself. And very sweaty.

Sweaty freckles.

Sunday was Long Run Time. I took Moose to the Park on Sunday morning, and it felt deliciously cool, like when you walk past an overly air-conditioned store on a hot day and get hit by that blast of chill. By 10am, when I started my run, it was 68F but felt more like 78, and I had 12 miles to run. I was listening to some This American Life, which was all about mortal sins. Normally I’m all “omigod you have to listen to this it was was enlightening and interesting and emotional and funny”. Yeah, not so much. Feel free to skip that one. I didn’t bring any water with me as I figured I could rely on the Central Park fountains. I did bring a bag of Honey Stinger Cherry Blossom gummy chews. I love the gummy chews normally, but the cherry blossom ones were frankly a little weird tasting. Not going to be buying those again.

The first five miles went by pretty steadily. I ran one counter-clockwise loop of the park using the 102 Traverse. Everything felt pretty steady, and I was running pretty slowly (9:20s) but steady and comfortable. I ran a loop of the Bridle Path and realized that my iPhone app hadn’t been on for the last 2 miles. Meh. Win some, lose some. For my second five mile loop I ran clockwise. At mile 8, I had another technology fail when my Garmin battery died. Ah, who cares? I’m long running, I know when to stop, it’s no big deal, I thought to myself. See, trying to be chill after my last run meltdown? I took a long water break at Engineer’s Gate at my favorite water fountain. It’s the ig one which is always super cold and has good pressure and there are always dogs drinking water there too. I was starting to feel pretty hot at this stage. By mile 10, my breathing was very ragged, and my calves were unhappy campers. I am ashamed to say that I quit at 72nd street, rather than making it all the way to 86th st, so a mile short.

I forgot that long running in the hot sun leaves you feeling as if you’ve been repeatedly hit by a bus. This wasn’t even a particularly long run. Next weekend I have to run 14. And then 16. And so on. Still, I dragged my dazed self to Duane Reade where I go the most disgusting chocolate milk ever. I don’t care if it had extra Omega-3; it was foul. Sticking to the yellow one I always buy – I think it’s Nesquik. I also had a long debate over which was the lesser of two evils between Orange Vitamin Water and Orange Gatorade. I went with the Vitamin water and ended up only drinking half of it anyway. Gotta love post-run stomach churn.

My final sweaty endeavor of the long weekend was a trip to Pure Yoga to get my hot yoga on. I went to an instructor who I’ve heard a lot about, and came away with incredibly mixed feelings. He had the most infuriating way of speaking where some random syllables were drawn out for no reason. Chaaaaaaaaaaaataranga. Dooooooownard facing dog. I kept looking at the clock and the minutes were going to slowly they were almost moving backwards. That is, until I realized that we completed an entire series of 10 poses on one leg, and still had the other leg to do. Game on! Once I understood the flow, the class moved a lot faster, and I actually enjoyed the class. I even almost stopped noticing his ridiculous speaking style. During downward facing dog I noticed that my left calf was tighter than my right calf, so my lucky husband got to spend half an hour trying to get a ridiculously large knot out later. Lucky him, right?

I have a very exciting run schedule this week. I get to try out a whole new workout, and since I messed up scheduling, get to run back to back and do Refine etc all in a row. Because that’s what my body wants. Ha.



Leave a Comment
  1. Kara / May 31 2012 1:13 am

    Good job with the workouts! I’m planning to try Pure Yoga this week – can’t wait! Hope I don’t get that same teacher, haha. I get annoyed at the stupidest things when working out and I think him speaking strangely would push me over the edge!

    • fionarwbl / May 31 2012 1:15 pm

      Let me know when you go to Pure! I love Dana for hot yoga, and Jessica for Slow Flow. There is also a good vinyasa at 2pm on Sundays I think …

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