The Tuesday afternoon following the Boston trip, I did an easy 12 miles out and back to Vienna on the W&OD, averaging 6:50s.
Wednesday night's track workout did not go well. It was warm and I didn't come prepared with enough to drink. I was exhausted from the weekend's lack of sleep and I was getting a little sick, and running did not help this time. I did the first two miles fine- 5:14 and 5:08. After a few steps of the 5:05, I stopped running. I tried a few other times to start up again, but my will to go on really wasn't there. I jogged a few cooldown laps with Beth and Dart.
I stayed in Bethesda Wednesday night in hopes of getting a good night's sleep and dispensing with the hour-long trip home, but I ended up being unable to fall asleep until after 1. I got up at 6 to go meet Jake, Luffy and Karl to run, but felt fine. The weather was superb. We did a little more than 7 and I continued to feel fine, then got totally manic at work before crashing at 3. I ran five more miles when I got home, but was pretty wiped out, despite continuing awesome weather.
I planned to run around Crystal City during the evening 5k and watch the race, but the cold rain made me reconsider, in hope of keeping myself healthy for my workout the next morning.
That night in Princeton, Luffy ran 14:15 and Tim Quinn hit 14:08. I know I say it a lot, but I remember when guys on the Richmond team were impressed with Hannay ran 15:07. Now we have three guys under 14:09 (Benford- 13:55, Llano-14:00 and Quinn). The best part has been Tim's consistent improvement. To paraphrase my high school coach, you can train Benford and Llano by having them drink beer and lift weights...Quinn's improvement, along with the rest of the Spiders' depth, is testament to Steve's coaching acumen.
I was a little bummed nobody was interested in running the four mile special Saturday morning, but no matter, I would achieve on my own! I did a good warmup, put on my old Nike Milers from 2004, which only come out for the cross country alumni race, and had at it. Great pacing in the first mile- 75.04, 2:30 on the nose, 3:45.17, 5:00.09. My recovery 400 was not good, though- 94 seconds, and I rushed to get it that fast. I did a few 400s and 800s, but never really felt up to continuing to run. I couldn't put together a decent workout. Surely my choice of hobbies needed some reexamination... I sat around with my friend's bird I'm minding, pissed off.
I went home and lied around for a while. After drifting in and out of a nap for 45 minutes, I checked to see if Alex would be up for keeping me company on his bike while I did a 10/10/10 p-word. None such luck, he was going out to dinner. I'd be on my own again.
It was 70 degrees and humid when I got going. I felt light and energetic, better than I expected. I got going too fast- 2:40 at the half mile mark, so I made a conscious effort to slow down- it worked moderately- 5:30 at the mile. Ugh, fast again, I always take this workout out too fast. Then I had to wait on the median on Route 7 to cross, the first time traffic interrupted one of these. I stayed loose into the Pinecastle neighborhood, but still came through 45 seconds soon, so I jogged around until I hit 10 minutes. I kept things more under control in the second 10 minutes- 2:52 at the half (right on), but 5:38 at the mile. I switched the second 10 minutes to follow Virginia and do and out-and-back on Hurst and Center, which is a lot flatter than going down Nottingham and coming back up the trail by Idylwood Park right before starting the third 10 minute interval. I started my last interval hoping to run close to five minute pace, though the last two times I have done this workout I have faded in the fourth quarter of the first mile and averaged 5:15 and 5:17. The entire stretch is on the W&OD Trail, which has markers every half mile, though they don't line up exactly with where I start, but I have a few landmarks that are easy enough to see when I am trying to keep my eyes up. I hit Virginia Lane at 75 for a little more than a quarter, which is a little fast, but downhill, though narrow. The next half mile rolls, and I managed to keep a consistent rhythm, coming through that measured half in 2:30 and getting a passing compliment from a biker. This is where these workouts usually falter, and I felt like the heat was going to give me trouble, but when I hit the second marker I was at 4:59. With less than four minutes to go, I found no reason not to just keep going. The trail crosses a few small streets, but there was only traffic at one, and I got through the intersection faster as a result. Time was counting up to 30 minutes, and I just wanted to get close to the telephone pole near the Great Falls intersection that marked a little more than two miles from my starting point. I made it.
In the end, I had what was probably my best workout of the season, not 12 hours after what I thought was the end of my competitive season, because I couldn't imagine trying to race after having run like I did in the morning. I have run under 10 minutes for two miles twice this year- 9:55 and 9:56, both in track races, in spikes, pulled along by other runners, after a dead start. This time, after running decently hard for 20 minutes, with nothing really pulling me along, I ran pretty much the same pace. I also felt great doing it. When I have raced lately, I haven't felt the same drive I had from 2004-2009, when I would just go out and lead road races and still be pushing at the end with nobody to chase, including races where I didn't have anyone contend with me at all. There are a lot of workouts when I wonder where that drive has gone, then I have workouts like these, where I know I've found it. In the end, that is going to be necessary for me to run a good time at Maryland next Thursday. I'm not going to have a huge pack to stick in and run with, even if I have someone else, a good portion of my race will require the same drive that this workout took.
Sunday morning, I ran with Jake, JARRIN and Tex on the trails behind JARRIN Manor. It was warm, humid, muddy and hilly and I was pretty tired. I did about seven miles and called it a day. I decided against running in the afternoon.
Monday morning, I got up to do 400s at the George Marshall track. It was muggy and I was tired, but I got up there and started off with 70,69,70,69, with a large goose watching me from the long jump runway. When I started number five, though, that same ambivalence and malaise hit me, and I was done. I did some 200s, but I felt empty and once again lacking the drive to keep going. Suffice to say, 400s are hard on your own.