Sunday, August 16, 2009

What Was Needed

Fast track workout + Long run = Satisfaction!

I believe I am over the initial shock of resuming a hard training program. Yesterday on the track I felt light and crisp and motivated to run hard. There was a surprise appearance of a former training partner at the track, a very fast 800 type guy, who paced me through part of the workout. I cycled to the track then ran an abbreviated warm up and completed full drills. I did a few extra strides as I was feeling good and I wanted to ensure I was really warm for the workout. The workout was 10 times 400 with 200 'honest' recovery. John gave me a pace time of 64, with a wry smile on his face.

Warren, the 800 type guy, took the first 5 intervals and they went mostly on pace. Nothing over 65. By the 5th interval I was running on his shoulder as his pace was dropping slightly over the back half of the interval. I was feeling good and it was great to have a shoulder to run on. With Warren there we also kept the recovery very honest and did not stop tempo through out the workout. It was at this point in the workout when I starting running at the front. I ran the next two at the front and split 64 for both. Warren was suffering at this point so he decided that the 8th would be his last and he ripped off a 60, I ran an even 64. Yet again I was on my own to complete my workout. The penultimate interval was tough as I began to pay the price for quick recoveries, I managed to stay on pace and run yet another 64. Warren, fully recovered after skipping an interval, offered to pace the last. We went through 200 in 31-32 and I held on for dear life to get a 64. All in all a very good workout for me. I have not run an honest recovery in a long time so it was nice to push myself out of my comfort zone. It was great to have Warren to pace off of for the first 5 intervals though very distracting into the last half of the workout. I do not like training with those who wish to dominate workouts and would rather skip an interval and come out on top then suffer through a workout and finish with everyone else. With regards to running, the process is what makes a great runner. The first 6 intervals of any workout are merely to get to the actual heart of the workout. It is the last 1/3 of any workout that leads to increased physiological adaptation to stress and more importantly the grit and 'balls' to race hard.

This morning I changed my long run route and ran to the Cleveland Dam. It was a very wise decision and I had a glorious run. As I trotted over the Lions Gate Bridge I felt bad for all the suckers in their cars. Even if you are in a BMW or Mercedes you are still stuck in traffic. I also felt bad for myself sucking in all their exhaust. Once onto the trail I turned off my brain and ran. The climb up to the Dam was wonderful. I loved being in the trails. The water from the river could be heard rushing over the rocks, the light filtered through the trees and the temperature perfect for a shirts off run. The climb is undulating with mixed terrain of crushed gravel, wood chip, roots and rocks with a few stairs here and there. The Dam itself was amazing to see. The views of the mountains exquisite and the lake inspiring. After getting down on myself this past week and feeling quite out of sorts I feel that today I got a message. I am doing the right thing. It was also on this run when I realized I can do the mileage required to run a marathon, so long as I find the right trails. I honestly felt like I could run forever today, a feeling that can be somewhat fleeting. At one point I even considered hitting the grind for a little extra hill action. Maybe next time.

The descent was a little tricky at times as there were many people on the trails and many dogs off leash. I have been bitten a few times by dogs so I am a little nervous around them. The descent was also somewhat technical and I had to be alert to stay on my feet. The lower trail to the bridge offered an opportunity to stretch out my legs and run easy before the long ascent of the bridge. Before I knew it I was home, fatigued but satisfied with a great weekend of running and some much needed inner calm.

I have yet another busy week coming up with one of my dear friends visiting from the East Coast, plus work, my usual workouts and a few dinners with friends here in the city. I am having a great summer (a few minor blips) and it seems like it will continue.

Happy Training!


  1. It was great to see you running in Capilano Canyon today. I am happy to hear that you enjoy running there as much as I do.

  2. I see. I leave and you start running trails. Never speak to me again.