I decided to change up my planned run a little bit because I was feeling extra motivated this evening. I decided to do a workout I have never tried: 1 mile warmup, 2 x 5k at HMP with 90 second active recovery between 5k’s, then 1 mile cool down. It would have been a good idea, but once again, the running gods decided to play several jokes on me.
Around mile 2 of my first 5k, I realized there were several bad things going on. One: I needed a longer warmup. I was hurting bad. Two: it was really really cold outside and I was wearing a short-sleeved cotton shirt, shorts, and compression socks. I was planning on running indoors for some reason, but changed my mind and wanted to run on the outdoor track. Luckily, or so I initially though, I had some Asics arm warmers in my car. These things are incredible… if the windchill is not -20. Ok, the windchill wasn’t that bad, but my choice of cotton t-shirt, which I almost never wear (what was I thinking?), lack of headgear, and the setting sun all worked in concert to conquer the awesome body temperature regulating capacity of the Asics arm warmers. Third problem: my really old, but usually trusty Garmin between the hours of 7am and 4pm, has issues when the sun starts to go down. As such, I had to take my workout indoors after the first 5k. This was fine, because I just used my jog into the Y as my active recovery. This is where things got funkdafied… literally.
My second 5k and cool down coincided with Cardio Funk. Now, let me preface this by saying that I am a fan of Cardio Funk, in theory. These ladies, and a few men, really have it figured out. What is more clever than dancing to fun music as exercise? I have done it a couple times, most recently when I was 30 weeks pregnant. It was not pretty, and I actually had to leave class early to go jog, because it is much harder to jump up and down, pop, lock, and shake your giant belly/booty when you are that pregnant than it is to jog around a track. That was my last foray into Cardio Funk. So anyway, I truly enjoy watching 90 white women break it down to NeYo, Black Eyed Peas (who should now be banned from the Cardio Funk playlist after that Super Bowl Performance), and Beyonce. It’s like watching one of those smash mobs on YouTube. Seriously, I am sure it is as amusing for me to watch as it was for people to watch my half white/half yellow self dancing at clubs in Atlanta when I was in law school. I shudder when I replay those images in my mind, and that’s why I don’t dance anymore, unless it is at a wedding or Cardio Funk. Now, one of my issues with Cardio Funk is that the volume in the gym is at least six times louder than it needs to be. Maybe it is because some of the geriatric ladies who walk on the track in the morning are taking the class? No, not possible, they are already in their pj’s having after-supper decaf coffees. I guess it’s because it wouldn’t be fun to dance to music playing at the same levels as the Muzak in your dentist’s office. The problem is that, because of the insanely high decibel at which “all the single ladies, all the single ladies” is blasting from the speakers, the teenagers strolling around the indoor track cannot hear me say “EXCUSE ME!!!” as I try to run by.
Which leads to the second issue I have with Cardio Funk. Like the cold nor’easter causes thousands of birds to migrate south for the winter, Cardio Funk causes the kids playing basketball, who have been displaced from their gym, to meander up to the track and walk around it, dribbling their basketballs between lanes of the track. These darn kids (insert voice of your grandfather here) are worse than the Justin Bieber fans because they have props, and they travel in packs! I can weave around a teenage girl talking on her iPhone, but if there were four of her and they were tossing their iPhones and Uggs around the track and I had to dodge those too, ugh. Haha. These kids and their basketballs have virtually turned the indoor track into a steeplechase. Next time, there will probably be puddles of Mountain Dew and hurdles of textbooks stacked up around the track. Guess I better just be more prepared to run outside, or face my nemesis.
In spite of the funky obstacles I had to overcome, I finished my two 5k’s at 23:10 and 22:54. That’s right- I ran faster indoors, with my anger fueling me. Or perhaps it was because I could feel my legs, wasn’t running into a headwind, and I now always negative split. Yep, I am becoming that good at pacing myself. All in all, it was one of my most difficult workouts in a very long time. Even tougher than my ladder runs. Sustaining my goal half marathon pace for over 45 minutes was quite a challenge. It reminded me of what I already know- I am sooooo not ready to run under a 1:37 right now! But, it is crucial to get some race-specific endurance training in, and when you run pretty close to your target, it gives you confidence. The overall mileage and long runs help build up your base endurance, but if you have a time goal, you need to teach your body how to run at the pace you want it to perform at on race day. Eventually, I should be able to do increasingly longer training runs at goal race pace, but those workouts will be sparingly so that I don’t overly fatigue my body prior to the race.
Tomorrow, as planned, is a recovery day with some hill intervals at the end. One perk of doing speed work and tempo runs close to race pace is that your recovery jogs tend to get faster because your recovery pace feels a lot easier. Anything that buys me more time to hang out with SuperBaby and SuperDad sounds good to me. Speaking of which, SuperDad took SuperBaby grocery shopping after work today so that I could run without leaving her at the Y’s nursery. I feel like a deadbeat mom sometimes for taking her to daycare all day and then taking her to the Y, which I only do once or twice a week actually. It’s obviously important that she has a sane mother who is healthy (besides the Bojangles) and wants to instill good habits in her, but it’s equally as important for her to spend time with us. I go see her at lunch almost every day, but if SuperDad didn’t pick up the slack in the after-school department, I would have to either run very early every morning, or go to work at 7 every day so I could run before picking her up from daycare. Those are things I need to start mixing into my schedule, but for now, it’s nice to know she is getting to spend quality time with both of us and not just a bunch of very patient, very kind ladies who take great care of her at school and at the Y.