The rain had finally stopped by the time I pulled into the high school parking lot, next to the school track. The ground was still damp from the persistent mist that had fallen for most of the day, but I was relieved that it let up enough to allow for the run development training.
I was early, so I sat in my car and read a book for a few minutes. Then I went to meet my fellow 10k runners on the track, dressed in cold weather gear. I was perhaps a bit overdressed, but I like my running top with the thumb holes that I found at a thrift store for cheap.
First, for a warm-up, we ran up and down a hill twice. Then we did drills that are meant to train us to think about our strides differently and to strengthen our running muscles. We then headed back to the track to do 4x400 meter intervals.
Intervals are a training trick that I almost never do on my own. Basically, you run at a moderate pace, enough to get your breathing up to where you can only talk in short answers, but not so much that you can't talk at all. Basically, a pace that you can sustain over the course of the repeats, since the idea is to try to run them at roughly the same pace.
It turns out that I really enjoy intervals. Maybe I'm just weird, or maybe it's because I love to run fast, and the break between repeats lets me catch my breath and build up for the next. I found myself running each repeat faster than the one before, and I think I could even pick up the pace a tad more earlier. My time for each quarter mile interval was 2:07, 2:05, 2:00, and 1:55, which means I was averaging about an 8-minute mile. The last two I managed to run faster than all of the other women in our training group, and one of the men. (Since I thrive on a little competition, this was an encouraging occurrence). Our coach called out "good!" every time my times got faster, making me smile.
Before we started, I would have placed myself in the middle of the pack. I think of myself as slow. But I guess my weeks of running up and down the roads around my house and setting the treadmill on a 1% incline makes track running...well, easy. I ran fast and loved it.
Now I just want to run even faster. Maybe enough to beat out those other guys.