In the meantime, I've been training, and training during the summer sucks. It is (insert lots of whining) so hot. My long runs have been slower than usual, the combination of vacation-style eating habits and the heat have made me struggle with speedwork somewhat, and I have been skipping my resistance training.
THIS week, though, has given me reason to smile. I have kicked ass (and I do say so myself) during my two speedwork sessions this week (albeit they are shorter because it's a recovery week, but I'm patting myself on the back, anyway).
Both speedwork days I ate no junk food and lots of fruits and veggies, and lo and behold... my evening runs were awesome. Huh. Hot dang. Do you think there might be something to this "you are what you eat" thing? I wonder if all those nutritionists are right?
My first speedwork session was only 5 x 1K (.62 miles) repeats (after a 1.5-mile warm up and before a 1.5-mile cool down). My time on the track happened to coincide with the high school cross-country team out there on the track doing their speedwork. They were doing repeats of 800s (.5 miles). So: an old lady juxtaposed with skinny-minny high school kids.... oh... and Sophie, running around the track with me intermittently. It's hot for Soph with 2 fur coats (God knows how she has any hair left with all of the hair she sheds inside the house), so she takes breaks every so often, sitting on the side for a lap or two, then joining in. Problem is... after her break sometimes, she will sprint across the field to catch up to me (it's beautiful to watch), and she kept cutting off the high school runners. oops. my bad. well, Soph's bad.
Anyway... I digress. So here I am running speed laps with the skinny-minny high schoolers. Doing repeats of a slightly longer distance than the teeny-boppes. Well, here's the point of my story. During one lap I was behind a skinny-minny teenage girl in the middle of her speed interval... and I was approaching. Huh. I thought to myself. I'm going faster than she is. I wasn't the only one to notice this. Her fellow adolescents, doing a recovery lap, were tuned in to the situation. They were watching. I kept running. And I kept catching up. I got nervous. Should I pass her? It's going to humiliate her. Well, I didn't have much choice. I passed her at about a 7:10-minute-mile clip. I think she was stunned, and her cohorts were rolling. The poor girl would never hear the end of this. She stepped it up a bit, but so did I... it felt so good... and as she neared the end of her shorter distance, I kept going. Ahhh. The thrill of victory; the agony of defeat. Someone should use that as a tag line or something....
Yesterday, for my week's 2nd speed session, I was supposed to do a 3.5-mile tempo run at my 10K speed, supposedly 7:35-minute miles. When I tried to do this last week (a 5.5-mile tempo run at 7:35 minute miles), the best I could do was 7:44-minute miles resting for a couple of minutes after 2 miles and 4 miles. Yesterday, though, I was pumped from having passed the skinny-minny teeny bopper... AND I went out in the light rain just after a nice downpour had brought the temperature down 20 degrees. I was in a good place mentally.
And... I DID it! I ran my 3.5 mile tempo run in 7:18s - kicking in a 7:05 pace for my last 1/2 mile. This time, at the same track, a couple of teenage boys happened along just as I was starting. They ran a quick mile at about the same speed as I was going and then stopped, scratching their heads and watching me. Darnit if I was going to let up. I was less motivated when they left, but kept it up.
Not much humor in this post, sorry, but I am smiling. It's so easy to convince yourself you've lost what you need to do well - especially in the summer's heat and humidity- but now I feel like I can do it.
By the way... for my runner readers (and non runner readers if you're feeling cheerleader-like. I follow a blog called 26.2 Quest, a guy training for his very first marathon. Yesterday's post described the longest run of his life so far (14 miles) and asked for his followers to spread the word because he needs as much support as possible. If you're feeling kindly inclined, feel free to stop by and encourage him; that's what runners' comraderie is all about. While you're at it, I could use some support for my October 18th marathon BQ attempt. I've been hesitant to blog about it because I'm afraid of failure...but ya know what? I'll just keep trying! ;)