Tonight I did a track workout with the fast group of my club's Half-Marathon Training Program, which I direct. The group (of two) is in the capable hands of Matt, who is fast. I like him very much because he is so accomplished yet unassuming, and he is also a volunteer-type guy (he was my club's Volunteer of the Year in 2002). Plus he brews beer and he gave me four bottles of home brew recently.
The program's target race is this Saturday. I'm running it and I'm so not ready. In January I did a 20K (12.4 miles) in 1:42, an 8:15 pace. That's pretty much only my silver standard because it's not sub-eight miles. But I would take it now! My club's 10K Training Program, which I also direct, started last month and for the last five weeks I have been checking in on Saturday morning at 8 o'clock with the HM Group and then rushing off to run with the 10K Group at 9 o'clock. The 10K group is comprised of more incipient runners so my long runs have been on the order of four miles in forty-five minutes. That program's fast group (of one) is handled very capably by Bob, my club's Most Improved Male Runner of the Year for 2007, so I run with the novices. One weekend my long run consisted of two miles of repetitions of walking for two minutes and running for one minute. (I know, I could run earlier or later as well, but I do have a non-running life on weekends also.) (Left: Coach Bob of the 10K Program, center in white shirt, with the fast group (the runner against the railing) at Fletchers Boathouse earlier this month.)
So anyway, tonight at the club's track workout the three in the HM fast group (Matt and his two students) were tapering down for the big race three days hence and they still left me DFL 40 yards back, sucking wind with my chest pounding. The workout consisted of ten reps of one minute on and 30 seconds off at a "moderately" fast pace after a two mile warmup.
But I finished it, and caught up with them when "we" were done (we weren't actually on the track, which was being used, we were on the nearby hilly Custis Trail). The four of us went out for pizza afterwards. At the Lost Dog Cafe in Arlington, running bridged the differences in our ages (30 years-I skew it upwards), college backgrounds (University of Colorado for me, MIT for Rita) and where we grew up (Staten Island, New York for me, Homer, Alaska for Gene).
The workout, food and company were great, but I am a little worried. I'm dreaming of breaking 1:50 (eighteen months ago I was hoping to break 1:40 although I never got there) but I hope I can do at least a 1:55 on Saturday.