Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Everybody loves a maintenance mile!

Well, everyone except for the people who have to run the maintenance mile. But everyone who doesn't have to run the maintenance mile loves it!

What exactly is a maintenance mile, you ask? Well, my friends, it's a special kind of surprise torture reserved for the fastest runners in FAST. It is a post-workout, balls-to-the-wall, give-it-all-you-got, run-til-you-puke one mile time trial. Doesn't that sound like FUN? And the best part is that you never know when it's coming - the coaches don't tell anyone about it until after the main workout is complete and everyone is already fatigued.

So last night, after we had all run 3 x 1 mile progressive repeats through the cemetery, Coach Brad broke the news to the fastest FASTies (Nikki and Tim) that they would be doing a maintenance mile. Ha! *points and laughs at Nikki and Tim* Hahahahaha! Thank goodness I'm among the slow FASTies! We had the privilege of watching this maintenance mile take place. Coach Brad's instructions were that Tim would be given a 30 second head start and Nikki would have to try to catch him. (Nikki is generally faster than Tim, so this was a fair advantage.)

We all gathered round as Tim took off and then 30 seconds later, Nikki took off. They disappeared into the trees of the cemetery and we anxiously awaited their return. Would Nikki come around the corner first? Or would it be Tim? The suspense was killing us. We bit our nails in anticipation. Okay, not really. We pretty much just stood around and chatted about this and that and the other. But we didn't have long to chat because soon Tim came blazing around the corner. After he finished (at a ridiculously fast pace which I can't remember but I know we were all pretty awed by it), Nikki came blazing around the corner. After she finished, she very nearly earned the puke crown. Nearly. But not quite.

Meanwhile, the rest of us stood around and cheered and thanked the powers that be that we didn't have to run a maintenance mile. The workout we did was hard enough, thankyouverymuch! And here is said workout...

The goal in the mile repeats was to gradually accelerate through the repeat so that the pace at the end of the mile was significantly faster than the pace at the beginning. The tricky part of this exercise is that the one mile loop is mostly downhill for the first 800 m, and mostly uphill for the last 800m. So one actually has to run faster on the uphill part, which makes it that much more challenging. While it may have been tempting to jog the first 3/4 mile and then just sprint the last 1/4 mile, so it looked like we were getting progressively faster, deep down we all knew better than that. And also, Coach Brad told us not to do that. Drat. The recovery between repeats was however long it took to walk back to the one mile start and grab a quick drink.

All in all, a very good workout even though it was a little shorter than recent workouts. I will gladly accept a shorter workout if it means I don't have to run a maintenance mile. And you know that just because I said that, Coach Brad is going to make me run a maintenance mile one of these days. And that happens to be the day I join the FASTie Protection Program, change my name to Kara Radcliffe (or maybe Paula Goucher) and move far far away.

Peace. Love. Train.

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