Thursday, July 19, 2007

Where Did All of the Tracks Go?!?!

Sometimes the hardest part of a workout is simply finding a place to execute it! Today was no exception...

Trying to lay down an interval set in a pool full of kids and old ladies, well that's one thing; They have a tendency to move out of your lane pretty quickly, especially when you have a set of paddles on your hands and are moving towards them in a somewhat aggressive manner! Road work on the TT course, I can deal with that as well; Dodging a few cars in the opposite lane only heightens the excitement of a hard interval or tempo set. Spending 45 minutes driving around trying to find an open track: Now that makes me feel like going "postal!"

You'd think that Gloucester, a city renowned for it's track & field/cross-country programs, would have an outdoor track that would reflect the success that our esteemed running programs have achieved over the years. Not so. The potholes, speed bumps and puddles that you encounter along the 400 yard circuit (yes, it's a short track to boot) are a sign of the times. Our city is struggling financially. However, when compared to the Kenyan training facilities, which usually consist of nothing more than a dirt road strewn with cattle and ruts, I'll gladly take what we have right here in town, if I can actually get on the damn track that is!

It's always a crap-shoot when you plan a workout at Newell Stadium. You can count on people walking in lanes 1-3 (sometimes with dogs!) and 4 or 5 kids riding their bikes around the track, but today, it was obvious that my planned interval set would have to be executed elsewhere.

I arrived at the track to find Pee-Wee football camp in full swing. Great. 8 - 12 years olds and gear covering just about every inch of the stadium. Football players and coaches are oblivious to just about every other sport known to man (baseball and basketball being the exceptions) and feel entitled to do whatever they they damn well please. I've had my fair share of run ins with their kind over the years, but just wasn't in the mood for an argument today. So... instead of having to resort to drop kicking a few of the players and/or coaches through the field goal posts, it was off to Gordon College, and hopefully a clear track.

20 minutes later and still no luck. The Gordon College track is a brand new, 400 meter, Olympic quality facility. The infield boasts a beautiful artificial turf. The place really motivates you to work. However... today the place was in full-fledged soccer camp mode. Both infield and track were covered with kids and gear.

My mood continued to darken.

Last resort was the Hamilton-Wenham track, another 15 minutes away. Upon my arrival, I was somewhat relieved to only find a small MS/HS conditioning program occurring on 50 meters of the back stretch. This I could deal with, even if it meant running part of each lap on the grass or outside lane.

After laying down a 2 mile warm up run on the roads, some stretching and stride outs, I commenced the workout's main segment: A 4 mile descending interval set that consisted of 1 x 2 mile, 1 x 1 mile and 2 x 1/2 mile. Thanks to the forced break that I recently experienced and the fact that I haven't been on the track in nearly 3 months, I wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised with my current level of fitness. I cruised through the set, dropping splits of 10:38, 5:08, and 2 x 2:30 for each respective interval. Factor in the humidity (my asthma starts kicking in), the tight recovery between intervals, and my current intensive training workload, and I was pleasantly surprised with my current degree of aerobic power.

Today really underscored the need for more interval work, and I'd like to get this set down to the point where I can float through the 2 mile in about 10:15 - 10:20 (roughly pace/velocity at Lactate Threshold), the 1 mile in 4:50 (roughly open 8k race pace) and the 1/2 set in closer to 2:20 (5k race pace). By season's end, I should be there. In the mean time however, I'm just happy to be in position to push again! About 3 or 4 weeks ago, I wasn't even sure that I'd ever be able to gear up to race again, so I'm enjoying every session, no matter how hard, and never taking anything for granted.

Okay, time for some scheduling before I have to hit the road for a 2 hour spin this evening!

No comments: