Days two and three of the legislative conference were far less pleasant than I had hoped. I woke up Monday feeling fine, but after a packed Metro ride and a fiasco trying to get into the press room, I started feeling drained. The temperature swing violently as I bounced between from packed rooms and gingerly-attended workshops. By the general session in the afternoon I was just looking for a horizontal surface on which to collapse. I have been fighting nasal congestion for a few weeks, but I have just run through it. Now it was getting serious. I fell asleep on my ride home and thought maybe I wouldn't run, but once I got off the train, I felt ready to go. I couldn't find my racing flats, so I took a pair of spikes with me to John Marshall by way of a five mile warmup and decided on doing some 600s, perhaps because of my collapse at the end of last week's 800. I started out a little fast- 70 second en route to 1:47, 1:48, 1:49 and 1:50, then the youth soccer team decides to congregate on lanes 1-4 of the 300m mark. That was pretty much the end of that. I ran a few 34-200s to give me a little more turnover work, but honestly I wasn't feeling up to much more running. I went home, popped a benedryl and slept soundly.
After another draining conference day, I came home hungry for another hilly run like the previous Tuesday's. I put together a 6.5-mile route from home to Military Road via Williamsburg, went out in what turned out to be 6:11 pace. I didn't think I was going that fast, and I faced some rough uphills on the way, but I eased up on the way back and ended up averaging 6:19 pace for 13 miles.
I had been looking forward to Wednesday's workout- 4 x mile. Jerry's plan was for the second group to go 5:04, 5:00, 4:56, 4:52. It was ambitious, but I felt most of it was feasible. I felt comfortable enough running 76s for 1.5 miles, so one shouldn't be a problem. 5:00 and 5:56 didn't worry me, but 4:52 seemed like a tall order. Granted, I ran 4:53 last week by myself, but that involved a suicidal first lap and hanging on. I also wasn't feeling quite as bad last week.
I gave Dickson's long dancer's legs some room and started a bit back for the first two, though I moved up halfway through the second. Right on- 5:04, 5:00. I took the pacing for the third, and was thrilled to keep the pacing right on- 74, 2:28, 3:42. I came home with another 74 to hit 4:56.12. I tried to take the 400m jog slowly, but I was anxious to see what I could do for number four. This was where the real work happens, and running 5:04 for a first interval didn't mean anything if I couldn't perform now. I started out perfectly, 73, though my 200 split was 35. The wind on the home stretch compounded my inability to breathe, and I struggled through the line at 2:29. A few steps later, I stepped off the track and sucked in as much air as I could. Evidently 74 was fine, but 73 was just too fast. A few weeks ago, 73 was my all-out 400 speed. Rationally, I did as well as I could expect for this workout, but ideally, I would have kept going. I headed out for the last 400 with Dickson, but in my worry that I would fall off again and end up being a liability, I started too early and didn't help block the wind at all as I ran 73. I did another two 400s, both in 74. The outsides of my quads were tight, the first time I have had any leg discomfort this year. More rest, more drills, more fluid.
I feel like I can be alright on a crowded track, not sure about a road race right now. I signed up for the BAA 5k again ($45!). I balked when I saw the price, but it will be a good opportunity to run for place, rather than focusing on time. I'll give Van Metre a shot next week, which I feel will be more of an opportunity to break back into racing than the By George 5k was, thanks to the wind. I would like to run 5:15s, but we'll see. Then, my first track meet in six years at Richmond. In Spiders news, Benford ran 13:59.99 at Notre Dame last weekend. I can remember how awesome we thought it was when Matt Hannay ran 15:07 at the A-10 meet in 2002. Now, freshmen are running under 15:00. I hope I can, this year... I need to continue to make 71s feel comfortable...