Tuesday, August 25, 2009

6 weeks and counting...but who's counting?

Last Saturday I once again had the privilege of speaking to the women of the Charlottesville Women's 4 miler training program. This is always a highlight of my summer and I am so inspired by these runners! In past years I have talked to them about having different race day time goals, pacing themselves in the first three miles, adjusting their goal race times for the weather, and embracing the idea of being competitive. Most of these women have never run a race in their lives and they train together all summer to get fit and raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research and prevention. Awesome.

As I was gutting through my toughest track workout to date on Thursday, I noticed a group of 4-miler women getting ready for their workout. They were laughing, talking, and clearly invigorated by being together and running together. In contrast, I was suffering alone in the worst heat and humidity of the summer while attempting a ladder that went like this:

200 in :46
400 in 1:35
800 in 3:08
1200 in 4:46
1600 in 6:25
2,000 in 8:00
1600 in 6:24
800 in 3:06
400 in 1:28
200 in :43

Each with 2:00 rest in between intervals.

I went up the ladder with no problems---in fact, I got a little (actually, a lot) greedy. My 1200 was 4:36. My 800 was 3:06. I was feeling it and feeling good, until the 2,000 (which AJW noted, "do this and you're good to go!"). Of course I am thinking about his comment the entire 5 laps while really suffering. Using a random guy runner in front on me as a pacer, I squeeked across in 8:02. FAIL. Guess I'm not good to go!

The way down the ladder was uninspiring. 4 seconds off the splits here, 6 seconds off there. I even bagged the 800 just so I could have something for the last two (which I did). I limped home with my tail between my legs. Ouch.

But then I started thinking about the 4 miler women. They were having fun; I was not. Nor did I didn't take my own advice and adjust my goals for the weather, and I let the clock be my slave. Granted, that's the point with a track workout, but I should have been smarter in the beginning and paced myself. I let the clock drive the train instead of the weather and my experience. Definitely something to remember come race day on October 2!

Hallie and I ran 11ish miles nice and easy on Saturday and then I hammered out a nice 5-hour jaunt with Jeff Wilbur and Quatro along the Rip Rap and AT in the SNP (running up the three longest climbs without walking---16 minutes, 32 minutes, and 26 minutes...but who's counting?). It was a great way to end this very tough training cycle.

One more three week cycle to go before the Grindstone taper! A big shout out to coach AJW for his top-10 finish at Leadville 100...three 100s in 8 weeks and three top-10 finishes. I am in good hands. And just to prove what a tough ultrarunner he is, check him out losing his lunch here at the end of Leadville.


Rick Gray said...

Sophie, Your training is top notch. As I said before, you are going to ROCK Grindstone. I know you feel good when you talk with these ladies, but in the end you really have a big impact on them. They realize that if they stick together, set a goal and work towards that goal, they will be successful in finishing something they never thought possible. Keep training. See you soon and I will miss you at Cheat this weekend. Rick

ultrarunnergirl said...

Your dedication and drive never fail to inspire me. Down to the treadmill for speedwork, stat!

Anonymous said...

Well, i was feeling good about my training until i read your blog, now i feel undertrained and not ready for Grindstone....lol. You will tear it up, cant wait to share the course with ya!!!


Sophie Speidel said...

Thanks everyone for your nice comments. Yeah, following the training plan AJW has laid out for me this time around has been really fun b/c it's a step up in intensity. Every other Tuesday it's either 4-5x 4:00 hill repeats within a medium run OR a 5-6 mile tempo run (7:15 pace) with in a medium run. Thursdays are these brutal track workouts which I find myself enjoying for some weird reason. The rest is just easy miles during the week and then lots of training on the course. Marc, you know the key to this race is preserving the quads and eating well! You will do great. Rick, I am psyched you will be along this year for the adventure. You will love the course---want to come up Sept 5 and join me and Marc for a training run on the course, 30+ miles? Kir, thanks for your good kharma!!


Rick Gray said...

Sophie, I would love to join you and Marc on September 5th, but I am runnng the Iron Mountain 50 miler that day. I really wanted to be able to run some on the course, but it just has not worked out. I hope everyone has a great weekend with some playing in the mud on this wet weekend. Rick