Thursday, February 17, 2011

Uncle! UNCLE!!!

Remember how I told you all that Coach Brad likes to come up with crazy workouts just to see what I'll write about them? Well, he's at it again. And this time he's achieved a whole new level of crazy. And I'm crying uncle!!!

If you click on that link above, you'll see that that particular crazy workout was about 7 miles, and consisted of 6 miles of pyramid intervals and a maintenance mile (7:37 pace, baby!). It was easily one of my longest FAST workouts ever.

Until now.

Thanks to Coach Brad's poor math skills (or deceptive trickery, I can't decide which), I ended up running 10 miles of pyramid intervals last night. You read that right, folks. Ten miles. And I didn't even realize it until I was done.

I know what you're thinking.

How stupid do you have to be to run 10 miles without knowing it?

Okay, I didn't know you were thinking that! But if you must know, it was Coach Brad's fault. He LIED to me! Here's our exchange. I'll let you, the readers, decide who is at fault here:

Coach: "We're doing pyramid intervals. 1 easy, 1 hard, 2 easy, 2 hard, 3 easy, 3 hard, etc..." (the numbers refer to number of laps around the track) "You can go up to 4/4, or up to 5/5 if you want. Then do some core work with Maggie, and then reverse the pyramid."

Me: "So what's the difference in mileage if I go to 5/5 versus 4/4?"

Coach: *counting on fingers* "Well, I think the 4/4 workout is about 5 1/2 miles. And the 5/5 workout is about 7 miles or so."

Me: "Okay, I can probably manage the 7 mile one." *runs off, blissfully ignorant of the truth*

Maybe I shouldn't have so blindly accepted Coach Brad's finger math. The first half of my workout was no big deal. It was hard, yes, but I felt strong and I really enjoy doing shorter "sprintier" type workouts like this. The longest hard interval was 5 laps, which is about 3/4 mile. For me, this is a lot more fun than, say, a 3-mile time trial.

But after the mid-workout core work (which was only 1 minute total and hardly constituted a proper recovery), I was starting to feel the fatigue of this workout. I was about to set off for the down-pyramid portion of my run when I had this discussion with Coach Brad:

Coach: "So, you gonna do the 5/5 workout?"

Me: "I don't think so. I did the first 5/5 and I'm getting pretty tired so I think I'm just going to skip the second 5/5 and go right into 4/4 this time."

Coach: "Why? You did one 5/5, why not do another?"

Me: "Because it adds like another mile! I'll be here all night!"

Coach: "So? Then I'll be here all night too. I don't care. You're a stud. You can do it." (Yes, he called me a stud. I'm not sure if this is a compliment or an insult.)

Me: *sighing deeply* "Fine. Fine, I'll do it."

And off I went, thinking I was going to be running about "7 miles or so". I knew I could handle that - I've done a few 7-ish mile workouts in FAST before.

As the laps ticked away, I came to the realization that most of the other FASTies had long since left the track. I was tracking my lap count in order to know when to run hard laps and when to run easy laps, but I wasn't really paying that close attention to the total number of laps I had run. I was just... running. But when my lap count hit 60 laps, something clicked in my brain. I knew from the many long runs I have done on that track that 30 laps was 4 miles. Which meant 60 laps was 8 miles. I had hit 8 miles and I was nowhere close to being finished with my pyramids. I became mildly alarmed.

Eventually, it was just me and fellow FASTie, Brian, out on the track. Brian, who is a much faster runner than I am, zipped past me while asking "Why are we the only two people left out here???" I was wondering the same thing.

As it turns out, we were the only two people who tackled the complete 5/5 pyramid. We were either very brave, or very foolish. Probably some combination of the two. When I finally finished my workout (and cooldown), I got out my iPhone calculator and did the math for myself. I had run 75 laps.

(1/7.5) x 75 = 10 (duh)

Of course, after doing that math I realized I didn't need a calculator to figure that out. But my brain was pretty fried from having just run 10 miles, so cut me some slack, okay? We all know I don't do math while in an oxygen-deprived state.

For the record, I have never in my life done a mid-week run longer than about 7 miles. So to do a 10 mile very tough run on a Wednesday night was achieving a whole new level of running for me. I don't know if I'm ready to make the 10-miler a regular mid-week thing. But at least now I know I'm capable of going longer distances between weekend long runs.

I suspect this was Brad's intent when he told us that bald-faced lie about the workout being "7 miles or so". When I called him out on his "mistake", he admitted that he hadn't included the warm-up and cool-down in his calculation (although he failed to mention that to us beforehand). But even so, the workout itself was 8 miles, not 7. Sneaky, Brad. Very sneaky.

There's a lesson in this whole story: Never trust your coach's math. Of course, this lesson doesn't apply to the people I coach, so those of you reading this can relax. I'm not going to lie to you about your distances.

And how did I actually do on my crazy pyramid run last night? Not too shabby. I finished in 1:37:40, which is an average pace of 9:45. That's a lot faster than any other 10 mile run I've ever done. Of course, it wasn't a continuous run, so it hardly counts as a PR. But I'm still happy with it. And my final interval was a single lap at a 6:52 pace. Zoom zoom!

(click to see it bigger!)

And how about the aftermath of this monster workout? I have to admit, I'm feeling it today. Although it's not nearly as bad as I expected (maybe it's going to get worse). I'm a little stiff, and the hamstrings and calves are a bit sore. But all things considered, I feel pretty good, and I'm planning to tackle a short, easy run this evening to get things loosened up a bit.

Coach Brad says he wants to come up with some "doozie" workouts to close out the Winter FAST season. I'm not sure how he can possibly out-doozie the 10-mile pyramid workout. And honestly, I fear for my life. So Coach Brad (and Coach Maggie too, because I know she likes to plot evil things as well), please, for the love of Pete, show us some mercy!!!

Peace. Love. Train. UNCLE!!!

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