Speed and Distance: Getting them both in.

More often than not, I take racing quite seriously. I plan every last detail weeks ahead of time; I try to get a feel for the competition; I lose sleep. Today’s event was different, though.

I thought about running the 3000 metres at the Ontario Masters Mini-meet a few weeks ago but I wasn’t fully committed to it. My focus now is the Goodlife Marathon in May so building mileage – and getting in those long runs – is my priority. Last week, I missed my long run when I raced the Valentine’s Day Couples Race but that was fine; the race had been worked into my training. But I was loathe to take off two weeks of long runs in a row.

But, as only a true addict can understand, I wanted some speed this weekend. After running 8 miles on Thursday night, I decided that I would flip my long run (13.5 miles) to Saturday and race this afternoon.

My goal was simple: run fast. This race would give me a chance to push myself – something I wouldn’t do on a basic recovery run. So, really, I wasn’t worried about my time; after all, I had the excuse of yesterday’s cold and windy run – the run that left me with stomach spasms and a mouth that felt like it had been frozen by Mr. Freeze’s gun – as an excuse for not running well.

However, as soon as the final roster was posted, I started to worry. I was the only gal running – again. There were a lot of speedy seniors listed and that made me nervous. While I didn’t worry about my time, I did worry that I might end up finishing last.

But I didn’t. A long warm-up worked out the lactic acid from yesterday and I actually ran a 41 second first lap (200m). Too fast! Between laps 3 and 4, my right hamstring started to tighten so I pulled back the pace. By the 7th lap, I was passed by a 70 and a 79 year old! I couldn’t hang onto these speedy guys, but I did keep my pace. In the end, I finished 6th of 8 with a time of 12:28.

I was happy with that. In fact, I was thrilled about that. It was only 2 seconds slower than my last 3000 metre run and I had two days of rest before that race.

My new running bud, Ed Whitlock told me, ” A long run like that (yesterday’s almost 2 hour run) doesn’t make for good training.” He’s right, but I was able to get in the best of both worlds and, sometimes, that’s all that really matters.

4 Replies to “Speed and Distance: Getting them both in.”

  1. Way to make it all work out. With so many races on my schedule I can't always taper. Deciding which to target and taper for, and which to train through can be tricky, but my schedule usually presents itself once I remember the big picture, like you and your May marathon. Great race.

  2. Way to stick with what worked best for you! It can be humbling to be passed by the elderly. It can be inspiring too. We can all hope to be able to run when we are in our 70s!

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