Usain Bolt did not show up at Idlewild Park this past Tuesday at 5:15 a.m. Good thing he was in Beijing, as it was the first official "speed" day on the track for the Rise Up Runners. And if we keep up with our speed work, take our vitamins, and eat Wheaties and drink milk, well, just maybe...no.
Speed day participants were Dominic, Joel, and Mike V. The workout was loosely based on the concept of Yasso 800's, wherein working up to a threshold of 10 x 800 repeats can give you a reasonable indication of your marathon fitness. As this was our first go at it, we opted to start with 6 x 800 repeats.
The drill is simple: run an 800 at a hard pace. Take that time and jog for the same amount of time before beginning your next repeat. Keep it going, working your legs, and try not to puke or pass out.
I have an aversion to speed work. It's not something I consider fun, and getting out of bed early to run, running around a track doesn't usually inspire me for a Rise Up run. But we've been talking about the whole Yasso 800 idea (see Bart Yasso's website); we've had fairly similar routes around Easton for some time now; and a change of pace and workout seemed like a good idea. If other folks were game, then damnit, I would be too.
I should add that while tossing the 800 idea out there, I threw a gauntlet down that if Joel beat Dominic on any one of the repeats, that I'd buy him dinner or drinks. I know Joel was a high school quarterback in the football country of western Pennsylvania, but I've tried to catch Dominic before...and it ain't pretty...
800 repeats are a solid workout, if I may say. The Idlewild track is a tad short, but my repeats came in at 3:07, 3:21, 3:21, 3:27, 3:17, and 3:11, so they stayed fairly consistent. Dominic stayed out in front of me each repeat, and I managed to keep ahead of Joel for all but one...
Repeat # 5 - stopwatches were ready, the batteried beep marked the start, and Shilliday took off, rabbit pace ahead of both Dominic and I, no doubt pondering what kind of beer he would swill at the Irish Crab, or fearing the blitzing linebackers from North Allegheny or Butler High School...
Joel's pace didn't let up...he led through 400, though the gap between he and Dominic was closing...at just past 600 meters, Dominic pulled even then went past, but Joel wasn't done yet. Down the last stretch he poured it on... but the speedy Szwaja was too much and legged it out. If I recall, Dominic was right around 3:00 that lap, so Joel put up a time right around there for the fifth repeat of the day. Pretty impressive stuff...but no Hoegartens...YET.
Unfortunately for Dominic, he is becoming a marked man. People are gunning for him to have one sub-par day or lap, or final sprint...okay, so not really, but you have to find ways for the not-as-swift to motivate the speedy ;)
Our first real speed workout day was a success. We did three miles worth of speed, with about as much distance in recovery laps before, between, and after. And we changed the routine. We'll be doing more and varied speed work--mixing in 200s and 400s...or until Joel finds a distance he can win :) Special thanks to Lori for coming out to run with and around us, and to keep our oxygen-depleted brains and legs functioning.
At the same time, on Tuesday morning, we had another RUR first--the Bay Hundred contingency of the Rise Up Runners, Mike Keene and Katherine Binder, met at 5:30 a.m. in St. Michaels for their own early morning run, closer to the mothership of the Rise Up Coffee outpost. While they were rumored to be doing their own "speed" workout, the following report came later in the day from Katherine:
"News from the Bay 100 RUR.. .We had a nice relaxing hour long run this morning. Speed only came up as we talked about our crazy Easton counter parts. We did run over to the local track and reflected of the possibility of doing some future speed work. ....maybe next Tuesday...we will see."
Speed or no speed, it was a beautiful thing to hear that the RURs had morning runs going in two locations. Rise Up, indeed!