The ability to run, that is. Last night's FAST meeting was my first time running since the marathon. It was a nice 4-day rest, but it's time to get back to work. I was pleased to see that I can still run, and that I can run hard, without dying or falling over or throwing up.
We started out last night with a group photo. Everyone who raced last weekend wore their hard-earned medals with pride. Just look at all this bling!
It's a really good thing we took this photo before the run, instead of after, because I think most of us were looking pretty ragged after the run. Coach Brad was in an evil sort of mood when he cooked up our workout. I believe what he said was "After the warmup, we'll do some suicides on the hill, then we'll go up into the park and have some fun *evil grin*" Whenever the coach says "we're going to have some fun", what it really means is he's going to have fun watching us suffer. As if running suicides up the Hill of Death isn't "fun" enough already!
For those of you who might not be sure... suicides are a running drill where there are several equally-spaced markers on the ground, and beginning from the start marker, one runs to the first marker, then immediately back to the starting marker, then immediately runs to the second marker, then back to the starting marker, etc until one has reached the farthest marker - with no rest between markers. Suicides are typically performed on flat ground as a sprint drill. But that's not evil enough for our coach. Instead, we got to do suicide drills on the Hill of Death. Markers were drawn at four points on the hill: the bottom of the hill, a third of the way up, two thirds of the way up, and the very top. We were instructed do our usual 2 mile warmup and then go right into the hill suicides. One suicide round was enough for me, considering this was my first run post-marathon, and I knew Brad had more "fun" planned for us after the hills.
I was surprised to find that the hills weren't that bad. Oh, don't get me wrong, it was still hard. But I was expecting to really drag. Instead, I found that I was able to run the hills strong. After I finished my single suicide round, I ran up the Hill of Death one more time (hey, why not?), since the remainder of our "fun" was going to happen at the top of the hill.
Turns out, the "fun" was a 1-mile timed fartlek run: 30 seconds at 5k pace or faster, 30 seconds easy jog - lather, rinse, repeat for the entire mile. I went to town with my fast segments. Coach Brad later told me I appeared to be running so fast, that time was going backwards around me. *snort* He had to be joking. If you look at my run data in the fartlek section (you can tell where that is because the pace graph is up, then down, then up, then down, etc), I really wasn't going that fast during the sprints. Maybe a 7:30-8:00/mile pace. That's just a warmup pace for the coaches. (And it's worth noting that it is definitely faster than my 5k pace.)
After a mile of that, and having already done hill suicides, I was pretty much toast. But it felt great to put the Lunarglides on again and take them for a ride. My toe blisters are still a little tender, and I could feel that while running (especially downhill), but I'm sure they'll be gone before I know it.
So now that The Pig is over, some of you may be wondering what's next? Well, I've already decided I want to run The Pig again next year... so I've got my countdown clock ----> reset to count it down for May 1, 2011. In the mean time, I've got several other races planned this year, and some new goals to work toward. Tomorrow morning is Race For The Cure, which I don't think I'll be "racing", but we all know how good I am at "not racing" during races. *looks shifty* This summer, I've also got the Soldier Field 10-Mile in Chicago, Steamboat Classic 4-Mile in Peoria, the Warrior Dash in Joliet and the Chicago Half-Marathon. But the piéce de résistance for the remainder of this year will be the Chicago Marathon. If all goes well, I am hoping to run my first sub-5-hour marathon in Chicago. eek! I will, of course, be documenting my training journey along the way - the speedwork, the hill repeats, the 18-mile runs in 85-degree weather. I will truly embrace "sweating like a pig". Bet you can't wait!
Peace. Love. Train.