After a few false starts (the By George 5k and Van Metre Five Mile), I feel like I had an honest effort at the Spider Relays, even though I wasn't thrilled with the result. And, unlike the other two races, I want to get back at it to fix what I did wrong and train in a way commensurate with my goals.
Also, I decided to stop being scared. Friday night, as Molz and I were leaving the track, long after everyone had cleared out, we heard an engine and breaks squealing down Boatwright Drive. A car came speeding down the middle of the road, out of control, rolled over the curb, missing trees and fire hydrants by narrow margins and pulling into the Robins Center parking lot. If we had been a few yards ahead and in the middle of the street, we'd be dead. If anyone else was on the road, they'd be dead. If that driver had been a few feet to the left, he'd be dead. It was without a doubt the most frightening thing I have ever witnessed, but quite simply, I'm not afraid of something trivial like the pain of running fast anymore.
Monday, I got back to the point where running fast felt normal. I had a longish workout planned- five moderate miles, two easy, then hills on Highland. No real warmup, just speed up after a moderate first mile. I started off around 5:55 and got faster from there. On the Pimmit Hills loop, I hit two miles in 11:00, three in 16:25, four in 21:50 and five in 27:07. I lucked out in that I had the traffic light at Idylwood on my side, but I was delighted I ran just 12 seconds slower than my racing time for five miles, despite a slow first mile. I did 4x400m hills and 6x200m hill sprints and kept myself well under control, compared to two weeks prior. I never ran out of gas, and in addition to building some more speed, I think it will get me ready quite well for the first mile in Boston.
Tuesday I did a Marymount at 6:30 pace for 12.75 miles with rolling hills. The bike trail I picked up was nice and soft for a while, paved later, and steep toward the end, but it got me up to Glebe and Old Dominion, so I guess it had to be steep.
Wednesday night could have gone better. It was raining and in the low 40s, perhaps the high 30s, when I trudged from the metro to American's track. The darned B-CC students needed to use their track and we were displaced for the second week, though I missed last week's practice. I was soaked by the time I arrived and nobody was there. I did a nice warmup loop I put together and changed into my flats. Dickson was there and ready for our 5xmile, but Matt Logan was nowhere to be seen. We went ahead without him and opened with a 5:15, a second fast, then a 5:10, two seconds fast. We both noticed needing a lap or two to warm up, and the lap jog in between was seizing our legs more than we would have liked. I did a few drills during the second recovery to keep myself loose, and took us through in 5:08 high. Despite running much faster in other workouts, my legs didn't have the spring in my calves, thanks to the cold rain. Even when the drizzle cleared up, the first lane was mostly under water. With no drainage system, the track was a mess, and my feet were soaked. We ran the fourth mile a second slow, 5:05, and I can't remember where we faltered. I made a quick bathroom trip before the fifth, then foolishly hurried back to the line, giving me about 150m of recovery. I took us through 400m in 74, but I stopped, knowing my calves couldn't take much more. My lungs were fine, and I was aching to keep going, but it didn't seem like a good idea. I ran another 74 to lead Dickson through his last lap, and then I changed into dry clothes and stretched like crazy.
Thursday afternoon I headed out to Hains Point for a 5-6 mile moderate run using the MCM mile markers. After dealing with a little traffic on Ohio Drive in mile 12, I clocked a 5:33 and was pretty happy, then 5:34, and 5:35 at the turnaround, before going 5:27, 5:29. Unfortunately, in the last mile, my right shoelace started to get pretty loose, and I worried I would lose the shoe, so I stopped after five. I felt very comfortable running around 5:30s. It was chilly, but not rainy, so I felt better than the night before. I was pretty depleted by the time I got back to my office, and that lead to me really enjoying the Gatorade I had waiting for me.