Thursday, April 21, 2011

3x3 Miles at Booty Loop

3x3 miles with 4 min rest at Goal 25k Pace (18:00)

2.5 mile warmup
3x3 miles @ 17:34 (552, 556, 545), 17:39 (551, 600, 547), 17:47 (559, 604, 542)
~2.5 mile cool down

Sometimes I really wish I was fast enough to pace Jordan in his workouts because I would like to repay him for pacing me in tough workouts like this one.  I'll just keep him company on his slow doubles so that he can hit a weekly mileage in the triple digits.

Since I'm house sitting in Matthews, I woke up this morning and drove to my house in uptown to warm up and meet Jordan at the tennis courts in Freedom Park.  On the way over, I could tell that my stomach was not happy and that I was likely to have stomach issues throughout the workout. 

The plan was to run my standard Twin Cities Booty Loop course, which is a hilly first mile, a flat second mile, and a mostly downhill third mile. 

On the first interval, we began with the hilly mile.  Everything felt harder than it should; my legs were heavy, my breathing was labored, and my shoulders tense.  We went through the first mile in 552, mainly because I was setting the pace.  I heard the garmin beep, saw the pace, and said "Shit."  I think I said that because 1) I knew that I would need to maintain that pace for the next 2 intervals and 2) I already felt really terrible 1 mile into a 9 mile workout.  It was going to be a long one.

I always seem to struggle on the flat portion of the Booty Loop, and that was no exception today.  One thing that I have learned about myself is that I tend to run very well on rolling terrain with gradual hills versus flat courses or really steep hills. Today, I really had to mentally focus on the flat portion. I think Jordan could tell I really struggled on that section, so we offered words of encouragement to keep me focused on the landmarks. 

For the second and third interval, I just felt like my legs were hitting the ground too hard and that I was using up a lot of energy on my ineffecient stride and arm movement.  My entire body felt really tense.  When I finished the second one, I questioned my ability to even do the third one.  I really didn't want to do it because I knew that my body really was pushing hard to maintain a pace under 18:00.  Luckily Jordan was there, so I couldn't just duck out. I am actually quite surprised with how the third set went considering that I was mentally falling apart in the first mile and that I had some GI issues.  However, I felt like I really made a conscious effort to start pushing again after the Garmin beeped for mile 2.  I was able to finish up with my fastest split of the day - 5:42.  It's always great to end your last mile with the fastest time.

All in all, while the effort was excruciating and while the pace gradually slowed, I am happy that I was able to run faster than I've ever run on this course.  Also considering that this is my third week over 80 miles, I am confident that after a week of taper, my legs will be ready to run 6:00 pace for 15.5 miles in just 23 days. 

For historical purposes, I did this workout twice before Twin Cities, on August 24th, 2010 and July 29, 2010.  

In August, my splits were:  18:53, 18:17, 18:00.

In July, my splits were:  18:31, 18:03, 18:13.

Granted, it was a lot hotter last year when I did these, but I think that the times I posted today showed a little improvement in my fitness.


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