It has been quite some time since I have done any work on a track. I think the last time was when Justine was still in the NICU and I escaped away to Lake Shore Park to get my mind off of the craziness of the hospital. I remember I was just so happy to be running and doing something “normal”. Over the past several years, running and working out has served as a way for me to clear my thoughts. When I am in the middle of a workout, all I need to do is concentrate at the task at hand. All of my worries and concerns will still be there when I am done with my workout. So this time is just for me.
I told Jim that I want to run a sub-30 minute 5K. It seems like an attainable goal IF I put in the work. He told me I needed to start incorporating speed and hill work into my training. In training for the marathon, I never really focused on speed since it is all about the distance. It was hard work getting in all of those miles every week, but there is no time limit. I knew stepping onto the starting line this year at the marathon that one way or another I was going to finish the race. And I did! But now this goal for the 5K is different. It is time based so just putting in the number of miles isn’t the only thing I need. Now it is about what I do in those miles: quality over quantity.
I hadn’t done 400m repeats in a long time so I wasn’t sure how I would do on my first attempt. I did a 1 mile warmup (not shown below) and then did 8x400m with a 1200m cool down. Ideally, the 400s would be at 5k pace, but like I said, it was my first try, so I just went with what felt good. I never knew how difficult it was to hold a steady pace for 400m. The wind on the backside straightaway did not help either.
Ultimately, I think it went well for my first try. I learned I know nothing about pace so I need to focus on that. When you are as slow as I have been, there is no rush to get to that finish line. “I’ll get there when I get there”. Now with this goal in mind I want to start pushing my limits to see what I can achieve. I’ve seen how far I can go. Now it’s time to see how fast.
I mentioned this a little bit on one of my recent DailyMile entries. It just amazes me how fast some people can run. As a teenager I could run a 10 minute mile. I absolutely HATED running back then, and just played basketball. There is a level of endurance involved in basketball, but it is definitely different than distance running. I look back now at my teenage self and I wish I could talk through time and tell past me to start running more, because when he turns 30, he will want to be faster when running races. He would probably tell me there would be no way that he would end up loving running. Somehow I would have to convince him that basketball would become secondary to running in his life. Right out of the script from LOST or Back to the Future, huh?
Anyways getting back to the topic at hand. Speed. How is it that the human body can travel at such speeds? For instance, the guy who won the Shamrock Shuffle 8K I ran in just a couple of weekends ago finished around 25 minutes! That means when I got to the start line (28 minutes after the elite group took off), he had already finished the race and finished a couple cups of water, a banana, and got his free beer. Meanwhile, I finish a couple of minutes under an hour, and I celebrated that! 🙂
Then I see people on DailyMile posting runs where they would average anywhere from 7-8 min/mile. Even in my best shape in high school, I never touched those kinds of speeds. Let me get across that I am not hating on these people. I am simply in awe of what they can do with what they have. And what they have is the same general anatomy as me: Two legs, two arms, brain, heart, lungs, etc. Now of course there are variations in their equipment compared to mine, and they have had years and years of training and discipline.
So I can’t help but wonder what kinds of steps I need to take in order to close the gap on some of these runners. Now I am pretty I won’t be getting to the 7-8 min/mi speed, but I would just love to chase my old self. 10 minute mile. Obviously with this marathon training hindering any true progress in speed, I may not get to it this year. But I think it is something I would like to pursue. Last year I was able to shave around 5 minutes off of my 5K time bringing me down to 32:32 – 10:29/mile. Just need to shave off another 30 seconds to reach that goal (assuming I still could run as fast). Maybe I’ll catch you next year, “16 year old Joey”. I’ve got my eyes on a bigger prize this year! 26.2!