Selecting the workout
When we arrived, Tonya had the workout on her hand. She had taken the optional drop to the two 400s and the four 200s that Adam suggested for our group. My mileage is over 20 miles per week, but this is one piece of being in a group. We had the choice to stick with the plan of the dropped intervals or split into two. Our crew is comfortable together and I know I didn’t want to split off. I didn’t see anyone else eager to split either so we stayed as a whole group doing.
3 seconds per 200 or per 600?
Our R pace is 53 seconds and Tonya interpreted Adam’s email to mean we add 3 seconds for the entire 600 so she had 54 written on her hand for our 600s. We had all read it as 3 seconds per 200 so we called Adam over to inquire. After some discussion we all settled on 3 seconds per 600. (later when I talked with Scott he said they interpreted it as 3 seconds per 200 but ultimately they ended up 2 seconds slower than R pace per loop).
I had a really busy day at work and then went home and baked for Emoticakes, made a couple of parent phone calls for teaching and headed straight out. I hadn’t really processed the workout until I got there so I didn’t have time to be anxious or stressed about this. After 1000s last week these felt so nice! I settled into my spot right behind Caroline and just enjoyed the loops. Since I still haven’t sorted out my watch situation I was extra grateful that both Caroline and Tonya were there. They both like pacing us and are very good at it!
I admit I was sad we dropped to two of these but the prospect of breaking from the group didn’t appeal to me. The 400s were fun! We did these at R pace (53) and struggled only a little with pacing. The first set we hit 50 and 54 respectively for the 200s and by the 2nd set we were on track. One thing about having full recovery in between is that you really struggle to contain the speed at the end.
And finally the 200s
These were great fun! It is so awesome to start with the longest distance and go DOWN for the ladder, never having to return back UP. I was happy as a lark as we completed each 200. I loved how everyone chatted away during our very slow recovery laps and then when we hit the start line it was just an abrupt end and “GO” we all just ran. That is one of the best things about this group workout.
Everyone has their strengths
At the start when we talked about pace John said he probably couldn’t hit the 600 pace we were going for. We had a long tail for the 600s because when you don’t hit the pace for that distance it becomes visually obvious. However, with the full 600 recovery jog we were all together by the end of recovery for each set. The tail was shorter for the 400s and the 200s were so fun because all the spots shifted. People have their strengths and people settle into their grooves. Tonya was having a hard night at the beginning but by the 2nd 400 she said aloud, “I hit my groove!” John was crazy fast for our 200s. As we were in our cool down run Elizabeth said that this week was so much harder than last week at virtually the same time that I said it was so much easier than last week. It is so interesting how we all have such different perceptions of the same workout and different strong and weak times.
What is the point of all this?
One of our group members asked midway through why we had to hit these paces. He’s new to the concept of speed running and he had two eager group members in Tonya and me both ready to explain. We were both so excited to share our experiences that we found ourselves talking over each other on the short recovery laps. Tonya has been doing this 4 years and she shared that her improvement has been as much mental as physical, though she pointed out that the Jack Daniels’ speed approach is proven effective. This is only my 2nd year, but I pointed out similar benefits mentally. I used to dread going on a Tuesday night so much that I was stressed all day at work. Now I mostly look forward to it and am not nearly as anxious! Another takeaway for me is that I’m so used to thinking I’m the worst person in any group. I’m having to come to terms with the fact that I’m really not a bad runner. I also have come to recognize that while there isn’t actually a best and a worst to begin with, I don’t fall into the category of “worst” in a running situation. Everyone deals with not wanting to do something but knowing they are totally capable and I’m no exception.
The Strava report
Mostly people are using splits on their watches and actually recording our speed, but I’m just recording this on my Apple watch as a treadmill workout to capture distance. It is interesting how with the fast and slow running alternated we end up with a pretty slow overall mile pace (I don’t ever pause the watch) and almost always hit around 5.5 miles for the evening.
And the after!
When I was baking after school my husband came into my kitchen and said, “I want to go out with you.” I said, “I’d like that too, but Xander just offered to make dinner.” He left and I went back to baking. Xander popped upstairs a few minutes later looking for some baking scraps. “I heard dad say he wants to go out. What are you guys going to do?” I said, “You could always make some pasta with meatballs and not have to cook a nice dinner.” Xander is ALWAYS game to have a treat of meatballs. He hopped right on that one. “Oh yes that sounds wonderful! I’m going to go start my dinner.” He quickly bounded downstairs.
So Viva it was. Arriving at Viva at 8:40 on a Tuesday it so different from a crowded Friday evening. We ran into our friends Jess and Joel at the bar and chatted for awhile before settling into a window booth. We agreed on NO margaritas and no chips/salsa/guac as an appetizer. We knew sleep was too important on a Tuesday evening to consider a drink or too much food that close to bedtime! Our food was out fast and we enjoyed every minute of the chance to catch up after a really busy day.