Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Speed Kills

Oh c’mon now – surely I’m not the only living person on the planet who grew up watching WKRP in Cincinnati?!  Every weekday, after school.  One of the most brilliant sit-coms ever.  EVER!

And The Hold Up?  In which Dr. Johnny Fever DJ’s live from Del’s Stereo and Sound?  And, in response to Del’s over-caffeinated speed rant, Dr. Johnny Fever deadpans, “Uh-huh. Speed kills, Del,”?  Pure awesomeness.

Haven’t seen it?  Then, click below and watch, then come back.  I’ll wait…

My second-favorite* episode.  EVER.

What on earth does this have to do with running? Let me tell you… speed does kill, Del.  Or at least it can kill a training plan.

I had a speed workout planned for this past weekend.  6 x 800-meter repeats at a 10:30/mile pace.  It was a nice morning, for West-Central Florida, (meaning that the humidty was only 99% and the temp was actually BELOW 80! I almost grabbed a parka.  almost.), and I was feeling all sorts of badass after a little ½ mile warm-up.  So I fired it up and rolled off the first 800m at a 10:22 pace.  Nailed a second 800m at 10:11.  Slowed down a tad to run the third 800m at 10:37.  And then felt the full force of the sun and wound up running the 4th 800m at 11:18. 

But I still felt strong, and that last slower lap left me feeling recovered enough to push the next 800m.  So I did.  Push.  Against the pavement.  With my right foot.  And then stopped.  With an audible, “WTF?!”  My knee hurt.  A lot.  On the outside.  And it wasn’t my bad, ITBS-ridden left leg.  Oh no.  It was the right leg – the good leg.


Long story short, I tweaked a bunch of stuff that connects to the top of my fibula, stretched my LCL and hamstring tendon a bit more than they like to be stretched. The Miracle Worker (my chiropractor) did some chiro-magic to reduce the swelling and promote healing and told me not to run for a week.  And then, when I do run again, to slow down some. 

Speed kills, V.

Luckily, I have plenty of time before any long race and I've already hit 10 miles in training, so I'm not too worried.  And really, it's so blasted hot down here, I'm quite okay with taking a week off.  So there.

*My absolute favorite episode is, of course, the 1978 classic, Turkeys Away.  Priceless.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Need for Speed

"I feel the need... the need for speed!"

If you are of a certain age – and I am – you don’t just know this quote and its context.  Oh no.  You’ve repeated it a few hundred dozen times.  You’ve performed the accompanying ‘round-the-world-over-the-shoulder high five.  You’ve also referred to your good buddy as your “wingman.”  And, chances are, you can sing every word of You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.”  You know – with feeling.

I digress.

I’ve been feeling the need for speed, now that my stupid IT Band seems to more or less have accepted that it’s going to run, whether it likes it or not.  Thanks to my piss-poor lungs, I’ll probably never be a fast runner, but I’d sure like to be faster.  So my training plan for the Tower of Terror10-Miler and Halloween Halfathon includes some speed training stints on my non-long run weeks.  And I got started on them recently.

First up was a session taken straight from Jeff Galloway’s Time Improvement plan for the runDisney Tower of Terror 10-Miler: run 800 meters at a pace 15 seconds faster than race goal pace, walk 3 minutes to recover, repeat for a total of four times.   Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I am a sprinter by nature.  Not a super fast sprinter, mind you, but a sprinter – I love to run at top speed for short stretches.  Distance training has been sort of a downer in that regard; I’ve been so busy building base mileage and nursing injuries, I haven’t had an opportunity to go fast in over a year.  So I was pretty psyched to tackle my first speed training task.

I have this awesome little outdoor, paved track near home.  It circles a pretty lake surrounded by trees, so much of the track is shaded – a huge plus this time of year in Florida.  I took a trip around to warm up properly and started in.  I’d set up my Runkeeper iPhone app to four interval sets of 800 meters followed by three minutes walking and wore my Garmin 10 to pause during recoveries and check my pace on the fly. 

So how’d it go?

No, no – I’ll tell you… it was GREAT!!!  Really amazing.  I don’t know when I’ve felt better in a run.  Forget 15 seconds faster than my 12:00/mile goal pace – I ran 800 meter splits of 11:05, 10:33, 10:44 and 10:42.  Up to a whopping 1:27 under goal pace!  Pretty comfortably, too; I really felt like I could’ve pushed harder, but didn’t want to invite problems unnecessarily.

Two weeks later, it was time for hill repeats.  Now, if you’ve followed my blog for a while, or if you live in the southern half of Florida, you know that there is a distinct lack of hills in the area.  But here in coastal Florida, we have many bridges connecting the mainland with our barrier islands.  Since my knee had been acting up the previous week, I opted for the lower of the two bridges near me and vowed to kill it.

I started out on the flat beach road, turning in a mile warm-up before getting to the bridge.  I then ran up, walked down the other side, turned around and repeated that the other direction.  Twice, for a total of four ascents and descents.  Going up a fifth time, the bells began to ring, alerting all that the draw bridge was being raised to allow a sailboat to pass underneath.  I took it as some weird sign to pick up the pace and beat a couple of teenaged girls to the top before turning around.  And I did.  Pass them. 

Once more I ascended and turned around, then finished with an easy, flat mile for recovery.

I must say that I’m loving these speed workouts!  Which is really making me think about next year’s race schedule… perhaps a bit less distance and more 5Ks?  We’ll see.  For now…