Or, what happens when you have no base and then run as fast as you can.
Running in the timed trial Wednesday morning was a last minute decision on Tuesday night. I'd already had two really good runs during the week thus far and after a mild guilt trip from a running partner I decided to give the mile a shot the next morning. Lesson one, be the boss of your own training. Don't let the opinions of others sway you to do something your body isn't ready for. It never ends well.
My legs were not at all rested going into this mile. I ran hard the night before and did not feel at all fresh when I warmed up the following morning. Two laps around the track, a few drills, and some strides were the precursor to this silly mile that had most of the group pysched out. The idea that it was only a mile didn't matter. I don't think I've had to do a timed mile since high school, I kid you not. All my other track experiences have been repeats and tempos.
Everyone moaned and groaned their way to the start, and off we went. A and I were bringing up the rear. I wish I could say that I didn't have a goal for this but I'd be lying. All I kept thinking about was my 5k PR from last November and how fast that first mile was. I know that I can't sustain that pace right now, but I thought there might be a small chance that I could eke out one mile around 8 minutes. I'd also be lying if I said pride wasn't a factor in this as well. A and I have been doing weekly runs together but her base is solid and she's been leaving me behind on a regular basis.
There was a time when I was the stronger runner and I missed that. With lap one under way, I was ahead and aiming for something between 1:50 and 2:00, which I got. The second lap was similar and I continued to keep an eye on my watch. The third lap is where the wheels began to come off the wagon. It was definitely my slowest lap and George told me it looked like I took a break or something. It was during this lap that A passed me and I was not a happy camper.
The final lap was my fastest, as it should be, but mostly because I was trying so hard to make up for the prior lap. I was somewhere past 6:00 when I started the lap so a fast 400 was the only way I'd get my 8:00 mark. My best 400 repeat is 1:37, but that was done independently and with adequate recovery. As I rounded the first turn and headed into the straightaway, I came up on A. We were side by side briefly, but I was able to find another gear and pull ahead. As soon as that happened an expletive came out of her mouth and I'm pretty sure it wasn't because she was struggling. It was because I passed her. That did not feel good.
I hit the final 200 and saw on the watch that 8:00 or close to it was a possibility if I turned and burned as hard as I could. I can honestly say that when I crossed the line, I had nothing left. I finished in 7:48, which should have made me happy, but it didn't. I was tired, in pain, feeling emotionally hurt, and frustrated. A came in 10 seconds behind me, a really solid time for her and well beyond the goal she'd set for herself. We congratulated each other but separated to cool down and stretch.
I made it one lap around before the pain in my left shin became unbearable. I bagged the second lap and started stretching, but all I wanted to do was go home and apply ice so I grabbed my things and headed out. I got the result that I wanted but at what cost? My ego and my tendency to be easily influenced by others won out over rational thought. As far as running went, I was useless for the rest of the week. All I did was ice and rest, on repeat. I wanted to test things out on Friday but decided against it. I'd head into my 16 miler rested, but blind as to what my leg could handle.
That is the long-winded story of my timed trial. I have learned my lesson. Several lessons, in fact. I'm going to keep building my base and leave the track for another time. There are plenty of weeks left before the marathon and the speedwork will fit in there somewhere. I have an appointment with my favorite chiropractor tomorrow afternoon and that will provide both answers and relief.