I suppose you may have noticed I'm one of those runners that's not real hung up on time/numbers. I like to place in my age group and all that, but I run for about a million reasons...getting faster is a byproduct for me, rather than a goal of all the running I do. So, many running bloggers really get into putting down their splits, but my eyes kind of gloss over numeric details as if it's Japanese dropped into the text. I hate numbers...I hate math, even though I'm proud to say I made it to precalculus in college before I said, "enough of this shit!" and had to drop out of the class. I have, however, set a time goal for myself for the Akron Road Runner Marathon. It's important for me to conquer this course that I alternately love and loathe all at the same time. It's a modest one: I'd like to run it in 4:20, which is just ten minutes off my PR for this course of 4:31 two years ago. It's ironic how much hard work you have to do to shave off a lousy ten minutes, but that's the reality of running marathons and especially a tough bird like the Road Runner. Marathoning, for me has had a very steep learning curve. I felt different for each of the 5 marathons I've trained for--battling new challenges and learning more each time.
I'm feeling stronger than ever this year, so I think I've got an attainable goal within my grasp, but I've got to do the speed work. Fucking speed work. I hate it, but it'll put me into a position where I can swing that cocky bird by the feet as I run into the Aero's Stadium. Can you hear the conviction? The anger? The first year I trained for the Road Runner my running partner and I went to the track every week to run mile repeats and 800's. I think women, in general, have a hard time with track running. Something about running in circles that makes me feel more insane than running in place on a treadmill. But, Jodi, made it fun...we'd crack jokes in between lung busting laps around that God forsaken track. The best part of our track training was running circles around the boys in the police academy. These were young police recruits, and hadn't yet fallen into the donut routine, and still they couldn't keep up with us. One police recruit pushed me aside one time as I ran by him...didn't do anything to dispel my stereotype of cops being fat donut assholes. Jerk...couldn't handle a speedy runner girl. Jodi hasn't been running for a long time now, so I don't have anyone to go to the track with anymore. Too lonely running in circles, so I stick with the treadmill now for getting in my speed work.
The workout I did this morning is one of my favorites; I call it the Kenyan Progressive Run. I start out real slow...then progressively start increasing the speed, so that the "run comes to me" rather than me coming to the run. You must say this with a Kenyan accent for best results. I don't even hit an average pace till about 16 minutes, but by this point I'm well assured I'm all warmed up. I'm old and creaky...I require lots of warm up time till I'm good and hot. Then, once I've been running a tempo pace for about 20 minutes...I start the speed work. Speed work doesn't even start till I've been running 40 minutes and then the treadmill is cranked up to the fastest I'm able to run without flying off the back. Running at this speed on a treadmill is scary, so I make sure my body is ready for it. I think most injuries can be avoided with a proper warm-up of slow running. I picked two songs--today I chose two rockin' Foo Fighter's tunes to make the Speed Work medicine go down with the least aftertaste. I run like hell for two songs, or approximately 6 minutes...in which the drool flies and I sweat like idiot in my musty stale aired basement. Sounds pleasant, huh? Yet I much prefer this non-numerical method for getting in my speed work. I've also been doing fartleks on my neighborhood runs, just choosing different points to speed up and then slow down. If this method of speed work doesn't work and I still run a slow crappy Road Runner, I will have to resort to more regimented numerical methods, to bag my bird the next year...and hope that I don't bore myself to death.