Any Given Tuesday

We are a strange bunch.  We give up our lunch hours to essentially hurt ourselves every week (some every day).  We suffer through the Winter days of slush and snow and muck to get a head start on the early season training.  We ramp it up by switching from the roads to the track for intervals.  We suffer through the heat of the Noon sun to get faster.  And then, sure enough… it happens.  Someone sets a lifetime personal record.

It happened two weeks ago (I know I’ve been a slacker on the blog-front).  A mile for time.  Several weeks before that, Fanning and Burns got somehow re-motivated as most of us were winding down.  A mile attempt came in the picture and then workouts to specifically train for it started happening.  Quarters, halves, pyramids… all of the typical workouts.  All at sub-5:00 mile pace.  For Keith, this was more of a “prove to myself I can still go sub-5:00”, but for Burns, this was a “I’m much faster than my sub-6:00 goal would suggest”.  Everyone knew they were capable of such attempts.  Sometimes you have to just prove it to yourself.

Andy decided to give it a go as well.  The three had done the work all Summer and knew that it was time to make it happen.  Like clockwork, they systematically clicked off each quarter with precision and pressed on.  Keith proved once again to himself that he was capable of a sub-5:00 mile.  Andy ran a lifetime PR of 5:14 (knocking 15 seconds off his best ever) and Burns clocked a 5:05.  The ironic thing about Burns is that he was the only one surprised by his time.  Everyone else was just glad he had finally arrived.

Last week we ran a simple yet deceptively hard workout.  We did six 600s at 2:00.  Simple.  So it would seem.  We decided to switch leaders for each one and see how close each leader could get to 2:00.  40 seconds per 200.  You could use a watch and check splits (and adjust pace).  And yet… each person found it difficult to get closer than a couple of seconds either way.  Bill started and hit a touch over 2:01.  It seemed like it would easily be beaten.  Lawyer stepped up and hit a 1:57.  Andy hit a whopping 1:56.  (I was nearly anaerobic).  Burns was at 1:58.  Taft was at 2:01+.  And then… none other than Mr. Hardybreed (Dan-oh) was coerced into the last interval.  We promised him we wouldn’t make him run the whole thing, blah, blah and then… like a machine, he hit every 200 at exactly 40 seconds and hit a perfect 2:00.  Unbelievable.  He commented that it was easier up front than hanging on in the back.  That is the power of the mental side of running.

The workouts will be winding down in the next few weeks.  I’ll keep you posted (promise).