And speed workouts are mine. They happen on Thursdays, and I think I’m just generally tired from the work week at that point. Never the less, I saw Thursday night’s speed workout posted on Instagram, appropriately underestimated it, and showed up. In hind sight, I’m glad that I went. At the time… not as much.
We started out with a nearly 1.5 mile warm up run from the upper east side Nike store to Central Park at 84th St. From there, we stretched and broke out into pace groups. Then Coach gave us the low-down on the looming 3-4 mile tempo run. I cringe every time I hear the word “tempo” and Thursday night was no different. Coach then went on to explain that the only people who would be doing 3 miles were the “sexy pace” runners, who do their miles at 10 minutes each or more. Everyone else was doing 4, and everyone’s miles would be run as 800 meter repeats up and down Cat Hill. After this announcement, we all looked at each other as if to say “Is he crazy?” Yes, in fact he is. Crazy, but smart and strategic. And so we began.
I positioned myself at the back of the pace group knowing full well that this was going to be tough. I was staring down the barrel at an 8 x 800 hill workout, and to say that I was less than excited would be the overstatement of the century. Our first interval was down hill, so that went fine. By the start of the fifth repeat, which was uphill, I swore to myself that I was skipping the next 1600. But I didn’t. I plugged along, wanting to simply lie down and rest a little more with each step. But I don’t rest when I’m not supposed to, and I don’t cut runs short, so I kept going until I had finished all eight of the repeats.
Thursday night probably represents one of the toughest body vs. mind runs I’ve had. I felt like I was in the front seat of the struggle bus the entire time, and thankfully, our photographer was able to capture that. (Insert sarcasm here.)
I finished, and to me, that’s what matters. After the 8 x 800’s, we ran 8 x 100 meter strides, on grass. ON GRASS… I was thankful for a shorter distance, but not excited about the grass. It looked very uneven, making me think that I was embarking on a journey to bust an ankle. Being the little neurotic person that I can be sometimes, I watched the ground the entire time, to the detriment of my speed, but managed to stay in one piece.
Despite the difficulty of Thursday night’s workout, I think what I’m most proud of was my ability to control my emotions and my exhaustion, which enabled me to complete the run. I suppose this is perseverance at the simplest meaning of the word. To me though, perseverance seems like a grander, more honorable thing. I’ll call it winning the mind vs. body game. Like they say, your legs don’t tell you when the run is over, the time/mileage does. This being said, I was super happy that Friday was a rest day.
Today’s Hill Help: Mind over Body. Always. You are tougher than you think you are.