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Days 49-Track and 50-Not-So-Tempo of 112-#notsosophie’schoice

Remember the movie Sophie’s ChoiceActress Meryl Streep (who deservedly won an Academy Award) played a WWII Auschwitz survivor who moves to New York and gets involved with a mentally ill Kevin Kline.  (SPOILER ALERT: For those of you who have been planning on catching up this weekend on marvelously acted yet depressingly depressing movies released in 1982, you’ll want to skip the next two sentences) She is clearly a tortured soul and we eventually learn it was because of her choice—the Nazi’s demanded she turn over either her daughter or her son.

Well, that was, as any human being could imagine, a terrible-terrible; agonizingly, gut-wrenching; pull-your-heart-out-of-your-chest-and-stomp-on-it, and later-commit-suicide-kind-of-decision.  My decision this a.m. was infinitely easier.

But let’s back up to yesterday.

Day 49-Track Workout-2 x (6×400)
Track Day!  Christy P’s favorite!  I wasn’t looking forward to the track workout, but I wasn’t dreading it either.  Again, we mixed up our workouts early in the week so we can do our long run on Friday—this time, to accommodate my out-of-town weekend trip (BTW….Happy #69 B-Day Daddy-o!).

The lighting here is just terrible, but I liked that I could capture my sassy feline, Soho, on the stairs in the background.

Good morning, track! I am happy to stomp on you. But first, I must hop over the fence because, once again, the gates are locked. Is this a "sign" that we shouldn't be here this early?


We started with our typical 10-minute/one-mile warm up, during which Christy told me she had a conversation with one of our favorite Running Fit employees, Bridget Smith, about junk miles.  Have you ever heard of those before?  I hadn’t, but I knew, based on the context, what she meant.  In a 2004 issue of Runner’s World, they were defined as, “Miles run at an easy pace, added to a training program only to reach a certain weekly or monthly mileage total rather than to achieve any specific training benefit.  That said, not all easy miles are junk miles, as they can aid in recovery.” 

Our discussion on junk miles went something like this:

  • Christy P: “I’m not really interested in adding additional miles to our training schedule.  That is the whole point of Run Less. Run Faster.”
  • Kristi G: “Agreed.  But maybe we switch up the definition of junk miles.  Maybe instead of running more at a slower pace, we just run slower. We are looking at back-to-back speed workouts this week.  Maybe instead of doing the tempo run tomorrow, we just do a run.”
  • Christy P: “I could be fine with that.”
  • Kristi G: “Me too.”

We keep on keepin’ on with the track workout, which, by the way, ended up being our favorite track workout so far—two sets of 6x400s.  We ran this same distance last week, but it was in the form of 6x800s.  We both agreed that 12x400s were much preferable than 6x800s even though it’s the same distance.  For me, because I struggle so much with not being able to equate how my body is feeling with a pace I am running, it’s easier to run a shorter distance, even if I have to run more of them.

Our pace time for each 400 was 1:57, and we knocked it outta the ball park.  Take a look!

Rock Star Pace Times! Courtesy of the ladies who can't tell how fast or slow they are running; perhaps, this is the very trick to it!

We had a 1:30 rest interval between each 400 and in between the first and second sets of 400s, we had a 2:30 rest interval.  When the second set started up, I could definitely feel the fatigue in my legs coming on; and although we were only half-way finished with the second set, my body felt like it was 98.9% finished with the workout.  But I am pleased to say that despite the fatigue the last two 400s were two of our fastest ones!  Added Tuesday Workout Bonus—we got to watch the sun rise!    

When we left the track, we were still undecided about Wednesday’s tempo run—would we just run casually or do the tempo, which, Christy P pointed out, was 3 miles at an 8:44 pace? Gulp.

At 8:29 last night, Christy P sent me the following text, “I think you have company over but when they’re gone, let me know what you feel like for tomorrow’s run.”  To which I replied, “What up?!?!  I can go either way, really.  My only hesitation with the tempo is it will start at mile 3, which is right around the hippos, yes (hippos=hills)? But, on the other hand, it is only 3 miles.  So….I will defer to you and I will be ready for either tomorrow.”  To which she replied, “Let’s do it!”  To which I replied, “Rally time!!”

Day 50-Not So Tempo
Of course, I didn’t sleep well.  I woke up at one point and I was sweating, which is a common occurrence in my life if we don’t turn the heat down in our house from about 68 degrees to 60 degrees before we go to bed.  In addition, I had gone to bed with a headache, woke up with a headache, had very strange dreams in between, and was tired.

We meet up at our usual locale, I get out of the car, she gets out of her car, we exchange “Hello. How are you?” pleasantries, start our Garmins, go, and shortly afterwards….I. am. dying.

Not even a ½ mile into it and my butt and my legs are really tight.  About a mile into it I take a look at my GPS, see a pace time of 9:44, and think to myself, “How in God’s name am I going to be able to run three miles at a pace that is a minute faster than this?”

We keep on going and Christy P said she is also dealing with some muscle tightness, which leads us to contemplate the ill-advised notion of doing two, back-to-back speed workouts —again, particularly a tempo run after a highly successful track workout that involved, for me, a lot of pounding and not a lot of stretching.  I know in last week’s blog about back-to-back speed workouts I talked about context and the big picture and how blah-blah-blah and back-to-back speed workouts blah-blah-blah and being unusually tired blah-blah-blah.  And I even thought about it this past Sunday night when I realized we would have to do the same type of workout this week, again, due to Friday’s long run.  But somehow, blah-blah-blah.

Thankfully, we had this week’s “a-ha moment” about fatigue and speed workouts and leg pounding less than a ¼ mile before we hit mile 3, and we decided we’re going to do “junk miles,” i.e., we’re just going to run and not worry about any particular pace at all, especially an 8:44 pace.  Yeah! (Thank you, Christy.  I’m not sure I would have had the guts to “ask” for it.  Isn’t that stupid?!?!?).

Now, let me just say, that it doesn’t mean the workout was an easy one—by no means indeed!  It was a struggle for me the whole way.  But, I made a good choice for my body, which was reinforced when Christy P said, “I don’t think we would have made it.”   And, I suppose, in fact, I was looking at the big picture and thinking about context after all because I realized that compromising on three fast miles today would most likely gain me some time during Friday’s long run. And the best news to boot?  Despite being fatigued and tight, our pace time was 9:20.  I can live with that!

Despite my resistance over the years, my 44-year-old-body is screaming, "STRETCH ME!!" And my brain if finally getting on board. I stretched for a good 15 minutes at home...

.....and stretched several times throughout the day at work as well!

Carry on, friends.  Carry on.

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