Seebo's Run

A running commentary on my training and whatever else emerges from that.

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Living in My Own Private Penn Relays

For today's run I had something to prove to myself. I wanted to do a 10k time trial, with 5:30 pace 1600's. I wanted to nail these and feel on top of my game doing so.

So I headed down to Franklin Field on my lunch hour. This is the same FF which just last week was hallowed ground. But now the gods have ceded back the track to us mortals, with only worn out lane markings and maintenance guys taking down electrical wiring as evidence of their descent from Olympus.

And so the first 1600 went by in 5:34. A little slow but its the first "mile". 2nd 1600 (these are splits, not intervals) goes by in 5:48, I'll have to pick things up a bit at the end now. 3rd 1600 in 5:47 and I know there ain't going to be no picking up. 4th in 5:55 and 5th in 5:57. I stopped it here, at 8k, before things got even uglier. Thats about a 29:03 8k time. I know its apples and oranges, but doubling that means I would have been dueling it out at the end w/ KF & IC at the Broad Street Run.

I have to laugh at the hubris of it all, thinking I could just pop out 5:30s today. Then I thought I oughta be able to learn something from this. So if what Greg says, about starting slow and progressively getting faster, is correct I should be able to reverse these splits and, if I start out running, say, 5:50s for the first two miles then I should finish up stronger than I started today. This experiment intrigues me, and this will be my workout next Tuesday.

But larger questions also loom. Subconsciously, one of the reasons I likely "had" to run this workout was an attempt to exorcise some Boston demons and race my own little BSR to reassure myself that I was still as competitive as I'd like to see myself. For the last 3 marathons my times have been slower than I wanted, and each time I get the distinct feeling of coming up against limits. There is something about this feeling, that I've seen my best and it's not going to get any better, that is disconcerting and the impulse is to fight against it. But along with that, there is this need I have to mull it over, to keep coming back to it, and ultimately to search for a way over, under or around it.

Its hard to explain. Sometimes I feel I have Boston behind me, and then comes a workout like this and it all seems to tie in together. Several metaphors come to mind, the most compelling one comes from my days doing drug counseling, when crack addicts would describe how the first time they smoked crack gave them a high that was as intense and ecstatic as anything they ever experienced. After that all the smoking they did was an attempt to recreate that first high. Chasing the ghost. Obviously the parallel shouldn't be taken too far, but there is an element of trying to regain a lost experience.

And maybe it isn't lost. Seriously. I'm going to try one more marathon for time to find out. Go all out and if it doesn't work I'll scale back. I'm 95% sure of the marathon I want to run, and I'll write about it tomorrow.


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