Monday, September 17, 2012

Hell hath frozen and pigs have wings

If you know me, and you know my running, please ensure you are sitting down before reading on. What I am about to write will no doubt induce shock and may cause you to question if the world has tilted off its axis and if the pigs have taken flight.

I like speed work.

Even as I typed those four words I expected the laptop to automatically lock itself, knowing full well its real owner would never utter such nonsense. But there it is.

First, let me take a step back and qualify my statement a little. As you know from my last post I now have a coach and I am attempting to train properly. Seeing speed sessions on my program still makes my stomach lurch a little. Adding a speed workout to my Garmin is always done with trepidation. Even after I've warmed up I talk to myself (yes, out loud - people must think I'm nuts): "Just go Joh. Just hit start. You can do this, and even if you can't you're better off than if you hadn't tried." Then I usually say a swear word and I'm off.

So how is it that I say I like speed work you ask? Well last week's training was a bit messed up because I was sick (luckily tests showed it's not a relapse of glandular fever, just a virus on my chest) and I missed my Tuesday speed session. I expected that I'd feel a bit down that I hadn't kept to my program, but secretly relieved that I'd avoided the horrible stuff. Instead, I felt a bit edgy - a bit like Homer Simpson when he realises he's missing the Annual Chili Cook Off. If you can't recall it it goes like this:
"What's that smell? Onions... chili powder... cumin... juicy ground chuck? It's chili! Oh my god, I'm missing the chili cook-off! [whining, fidgeting] I'm missing the cook-off, it's going on right now and I'm missing it."
That was me, all Tuesday and Wednesday. "I'm supposed to run fast and I'm missing out on it!" So, by Thursday I gave in and headed down to the oval (yes, friends - I go to the OVAL these days, as neglected and uneven as it is) to do at least some of the session I was scheduled to do on Tuesday.

I got through a fair bit of it before my chest felt far too tight and I thought it wise to call it quits. But geeze I felt better for having done it. By Saturday I was feeling much better and I donned my speedy Ronins and hit the oval again to run round and round and round (and round) doing 3k reps. Followed up on Sunday with a 35k run for a solid weekend of training.

You see, not only am I glad that I'm finally trying to run fast, I've actually discovered that the challenge of speed is a little addictive. Can I run faster than I did last time? Can I hold this pace a bit longer? Was it easier this time? And even though it's depressing when I bomb out, I have enough success in meeting the challenges I'm set that I have enough drive to keep coming back. Coach Sean Williams is smart - he's got the pacing right for me. Not so hard that I feel hopeless because I can't do it, but not so easy that I get it right every time.

And there it is. Get out your ice skates friends because hell has just frozen over.

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