MITHACAL Milers Week #6

Too scared to read the email

Every week Adam sends us an email with the workout details. Typically I read it carefully and sometimes I even write the paces on my hand. For some reason I just couldn’t make myself open it this week. I was afraid our distances could be longer than 800s. Anything longer than a 600 indoors is really challenging! As we drove I said, “I didn’t read the email because I was scared. Should I be scared?” Silence. “Are the repeats longer than 800s?” More silence. Oh no! Scott finally replied. 1200s followed by 200s. Most of the rest of our car ride was quiet as I contemplated the upcoming workout.

Laurel came back

Last week was my friend Laurel’s first time going. It turned out to be the first week we missed. She mentioned she was in Tonya’s group so I knew that meant that Tonya’s foot recovered and she was back. When I walked into Barton, Laurel was one of the first people I saw. We chatted about the distances and I shared the email story with her. She said, “I think it is 1000 repeats followed by 400s.” Hmmm. 1000 is better than 1200s. 400s are not better than 200s though. We chatted along and pretty soon it was time to warm-up. Whatever the workout, the time had come to just do it.

Adam sets the stage

After our 10 minutes of jogging and 10 minutes of dynamic stretching we gathered for the start. Adam verbally shared the workout. Two 1000s at T pace followed by 4x200s at R pace. Laurel and I exchanged a smile. Both she and Scott had gotten half of the workout right! Soon we gathered with the 7 minute mile crew and within minutes we were off on our first 1000. There wasn’t much time to think.

The workout I was too scared to open.

T pace is nice

Our T pace called for 1 minute for a 200. That was pretty lovely. We fell into a nice crew with Caroline leading us around the track. Tonya shouted out if we were too fast or too slow and we all managed the first 1000 quite well. The 2nd 1000 was not terrible either. Suddenly I felt a little silly for being afraid to open my email. The 200s were challenging but short and before we knew it, the time on the clock was 7:51. We were supposed to get two sets in and with the entire workout wrapping around 8 I knew that was a tall order.

You are what you repeatedly do

As we finished up our 200s of set one my mind flashed to how nervous I had been just a little bit before this workout. All of that vanished as I started to run. Continuing to expose myself to this type of group workout is improving my running. I may still be afraid of the workouts, but we all are in some way. We come together for the comfort of the group, the push from the group and the chance to improve and maintain our running. We sometimes struggle with being tired from work, an injury or even a small nagging pain. We all have to decide when to pull back, when we can keep up and when we can’t or shouldn’t keep up. On this rather warm February evening, I said to myself, “you are what you repeatedly do.” It is good that I dragged myself to this energizing workout!

800s it is

As we finished our last 200 recovery lap I found myself with Bill, Elizabeth and Laurel. The rest of our crew was right behind us but Tonya and Caroline were across the track starting one more recovery lap. We waved frantically at them and they cut back across the track for us. We steeled ourselves for our 2nd set. We knew T pace would feel more challenging this time. Tonya led with, “Caroline and I would like to do 800s this time.” She went on to explain that she felt like she was unraveling a bit. Tonya has struggled with a foot injury this winter and her mileage is down from her typical weekly load. I mentioned that it was already 7:51 so it seemed wise to cut one lap off anyway in hopes of finishing the entire 2nd set. We all quickly agreed that sticking together and dropping to 800s sounded great. John confirmed we’d still be at T pace (not faster) and we were off. Again the 800s were uneventful and rather meditative. It feels nice to push your pace past a casual run pace but not so fast that you feel like you are dying.

Commencing running

I love what happens when a group of people comes together. We all don our group personalities and sometimes those personalities are different from our solo running personas. When I run intervals on my own and it says to do a recovery jog of equal distance I almost always end up walking or shorting the distance. In a group I’m a rule follower and it turns out that I’m also a leader for others. As we ended each 200 we were expected to jog a 200 cool down. Our group typically had to quickly avoid a crew of fast runners as we ended and we’d find ourselves walking slowly for a bit. Each time as we rounded the curve I said, “commencing running” and everyone would follow. By the end it was a cute little joke.

The group

Our 7 minute mile crew!

As you spend week after week running with a crew of people you start to depend on them. You look forward to the casual conversations and connections you make every Tuesday night. It becomes something to brighten up cold winter evenings. Tonight I really wasn’t jazzed about running. It would have taken almost nothing to talk me out of going, but as with every week I was completely energized when I arrived. My group is fun and committed and I enjoy running with them. As we started our first 200 of the last set one of our group members who isn’t doing too many weekly miles said he was going to peel off. We convinced him to do one 200 with us. I seized the moment and asked if we could stop for a quick photo after 3/4 of our cool down loop. I explained that I blog about this group and it would be fun. Everyone was up for it so we got our photo. After the photo we started right into our 2nd 200. I looked to my left and he was still running with us. I smiled and said, “you are still here!” He replied, “you guys are making it too hard to leave.” That is the power that is in the group. We all bring each other up and we accomplish more than we would if we were completing intervals on our own.

That’s a wrap!

It was especially late this week. Scott and I skipped out on the cool down stretches (again). I feel bad about that, but we can’t really eat before the workout and when you go to bed at 9 it is hard to get home at 9 and start dinner! So we raced out and got home around 8:40 to find that Elizabeth and Xander had heated up dinner for us. They chatted with us as we shared our evening and they were able to share details from their respective days. Soon we all headed off to bed to recharge for the next day. Another great speed workout is in the books!!

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