Cobwebs. They are everywhere. Quiet corners, between the rafters in the basement, the spokes of my bike, my legs, this blog, my brain :)
It's time for some spring cleaning, and the cobwebs are the first to go.
To start, I reintroduced 'speed' into my running diet this past Wednesday. Bethany invited me to join her and some ladies for a first installment of group trail speed work. My heart responded before my brain could catch up, and I said yes :) I'm really glad I did. While I was operating far beyond my current scope of practice, it felt good to get my tush handed to me, repeatedly, and fantastically.
We were meeting up east of the U, on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail early evening, and in a moment of pure thoughtlessness I decided I would run the two miles there as a warm-up.
I forgot to factor in the fact that it's two miles of all uphill. Every step, uphill. And it was at the end of a long day. 'Oh well, it will be a nice downhill cool down on the way back home.' At least the weather was perfect (in the 70s) and the sun was casting a nice glow over the mountains.
My legs weren't as lead-y as I feared they might feel, but they definitely had zero spunk in them. I knew what I was getting into running with B, but I didn't realize I was actually going to be the only slow person in the group. That was silly of me ;) I must have forgotten where I was!
I arrived right on time, and last, which would be the theme of the evening. And I was totally okay with that. We did an easy 15 minute warm-up north, and then began the butt-kicking. A progression run was on tap (something I had never even heard of before this) of 3, 5, 7, 5, 3 minutes, with half-time recovery between each set. It was to be entirely self-paced, and we would regroup on the recoveries. We were to aim for 1/2 marathon race pace.
Inside I died a little, but in a good way. I had bitten off far more than I could chew, but I was absolutely tickled to be participating. It was exactly what I needed.
I was immediately dropped like a bad habit, and at first I felt awkward, but then I thought, 'Whatever, who cares. This is all I have today.' I just hoped the others wouldn't be annoyed by my lackluster performance. We kept to the lower trails and ran loops, easing our way south before heading north again. Hills, rocks, amazing views. I can honestly say I have never done speed work on a trail before. And, I can honestly say I haven't done speed work since October, 2013. AND, I can honestly count on my two hands the number of times I have done speed work in my entire life. Out of my element? You could say that.
But you can't grow as a runner if you don't step outside of your comfort zone and get a little uncomfortable every now and again. I could have received Olympic gold for the record-breaking long jump I did outside of my comfort zone.
This was also only the second time I've been on the trail since our race at Rio Del Lago 100 back in early November. I know, it's terrible. My name is Paige, and I have been a road runner all winter long (*Hi Paige*). Then I had a respiratory ailment earlier this year, then I have school that takes up all my time, blah, blah, blah.
So I had a lot going against me. A lot of excuses I fought to not share, to at least relieve myself of some of the guilt I had over my performance.
Everyone was awesome. On the recoveries, they would turn back to meet with me, and then we would stick together until the next push. That made me feel good, and they were all great sports. So, thank you for that :) I started to feel the push by the seven minute interval and I got all goose-bumpy and flushed feeling (which has always been the cue for me to ease back), so I did and that worked marvelously. It just meant I was even slower now. But, nothing like a fainting runner to really bring the mood down, and there was no way I was going to do that to myself. I had to keep reminding myself that I was just getting back into it. To not get down on myself.
We wrapped it up after a nice and easy cool down back to where we started and we headed in different directions. I took it really easy getting back home, and by the time I got to the front door, I felt amazing. My legs were completely spent, I had almost 10 miles under my belt (which, by the way, is a "long run" right now!), and I was ravenous. That's a good feeling. I missed that feeling :)
Hopefully, this will be a weekly thing. It is exactly what I need. Feels good to punish the legs again, and to do something that completely overrides anything school-related. I was working hard enough that there wasn't a single thought of school in that hour. It was almost a little meditative.
Cobwebs are feisty, but if you keep at it you can keep them away. Lots more work to do, and I like it.