I got home from a work trip to beautiful Mahwah, New Jersey late last night having driven a rental mini-van through a driving rain with 2 of my colleagues all the way to Worcester, and then my car from there. I was pretty worn out at breakfast when I looked at my running log on my phone and noticed that I had 285 miles for the month and that it was January 31st. So I looked back through my log to find that my last 300-mile month was back in September of 2010, the month before Baystate.
That was it.
I went out for an easy 7 and then headed to the office knowing that based on the workout I had planned, I would get around 8 in tonight's Thirsty Thursday workout.
Tonight was 3 x 1.5 miles (2400m technically) at half marathon pace. Or at least that was the plan. My morning run had been in shorts and a t-shirt with temperatures in the mid 50's. By the time I got to the RMHS track at around 6:30pm the temperature had dropped about 20 degrees and the wind had shifted to the west. As soon as I got out of the car I was regretting my decision to stick with shorts. Chris was already there and warming up on the track. I fell in next to him and as we made our way around the first turn the wind hit us straight in the face and I knew this was going to be no fun. I pulled my hat down to fully cover my ears but it didn't help much--the wind was cutting right through my long-sleeve shirt and slapping my bare legs.
After a few more laps, Mike and Dan both showed up--both of them, like Chris, were dressed more appropriately for the weather than I was. It became pretty clear to me that I was never going to fully warm up so at about 20 minutes I decided to just get into the workout and get it over with.
Dan (who was getting over the flu) Mike and Chris all opted for 400 on/offs so I was on my own for my workout.
Something about doing track workouts in the dark is always a little spooky. Jogging around when you can barely see the lane lines in the faint light that reaches the track from the parking lot and street lights is fine, but going fast takes a little bit of faith, at least for the first lap or two until you settle in.
I was doing 6 laps (not quite 1.5 miles) per rep and just wanted to be right around half marathon pace, which should be about 6 pace at this point. All I needed to do was run just under 90 second laps. Simple enough but with the icy 35 mph headwind on the back straightaway it seemed a little daunting. I guess I shouldn't have worried about it--my first 400 was in 85 and even though I tried to slow myself down I wound up hitting the first 2400 in 8:41 or 5:50 pace. That would have been a nice time for the 3rd one, I thought, but I knew it meant the next two were going to be harder than they needed to be.
I jogged a lap in lane 3 for recovery (about 2:13) then rolled into the next one. I just tried to relax and run as smooth as possible (not easy when you have to actually lean into the wind for half of each lap) and didn't look at my watch on the laps--it was a pain in the ass to find the button under my sleeve to hit the backlight each lap anyway. The second one went in 8:50 (5:56 pace), then a 1 lap recovery jog in lane 3 (2:11), then the third 8:44 (5:52 pace) and I really never struggled. Makes me wonder what I could have done without the wind and with temps maybe 10 degrees warmer.
I did a mile cooldown jog with Mike and Dan. The cooldown was fairly pointless since about a minute after finishing the last rep I was already freezing, but since I needed less than a mile to get me over 300, a little mileage whoring was justified.
Afterward we broke routine and went to Bertucci's instead of Grumpy's because there was a volunteer appreciation party for FORR going on there. As it turned out, though, I never made it to the back room where the party was. As soon as we finished dinner at the bar I had to go pick up Allie from band back at the highschool. That was probably for the best since if I'd bumped into Pete aka "Mr. One More" I would probably still be there.
I have to say I'm in a really good groove right now and just don't want to do anything to screw it up.