Thursday, February 15, 2007

This Thursday is Friday

For those that aren't aware, I am an english teacher. Tomorrow is a Professional Development day for us, which means that there are no kids at school. All day it has felt like Friday. I am excited for tomorrow as I get the chance to spend the morning discussing the finer aspects of teaching with one of my mentors and I get to pick Sonja up from the airport in the evening. But my Thursday did not start off well.

I am trying to get caught up with Lost. I am just starting the third season, downloading shows so that I may sit with my bethren on Wednesday evenings wondering what will happen to Jack and sweet, sweet Kate, all the while hoping that they will kill off Claire and her annoying habit of speaking. It was for this reason that I was late to bed on Wednesday evening, thus the sudden arrival of Thursday morning was not welcome. I had intended to get out for a short jaunt this morning, but the rain falling outside my open window was chanting "Sleep Sleep Sleep". So I did. Resetting the alarm I sought out the warmth of my bed, falling asleep to the cheers of the rain.

This afternoon, after helping said mentor find a pair of shoes at Frontrunners, I drove home, did a quick change, and drove about halfway to the Oak Bay track. I ran the final ten minutes to the track to find Hicham warming up. I joined him running loops in lane 5 as we waited for the arrival of Hugh. This was my first workout of the year. Up until today, with the exception of races, my runs had been base runs. Tonight the work began.

The workout Hicham had recieved from Coach Finlayson was a progressive tempo - 15 minutes at 1/2 marathon pace, 10 minutes at 10k, 5 minutes at 5k - for a total of 30 minutes of workout. Hicham, who came to Victoria after years in Montreal, is finding his legs again. Sporting a PB of around 1:12-1:13 in the half (I might be off a little, but only minute or two), he is a formidable runner. Hugh is well known in Victoria as a fast runner. Although tonight he spoke about getting back into consistent training, it seems to me he is fast at any race, any time of year. To do a tempo workout with these fine runners was going to be fun!

The weather was beautiful tonight. The chanting rain had made its way to another window and the sky had gaps in the ceiling, allowing us, for once, to see the sky. The wind was a presence, especially along Beach Rd, where we were to run most of the workout. It was cool enough to need a vest, but warm enough to not be chilled. An ideal running night.

The workout started well, with the three of us chatting about training and generally catching up. This is the first time I have had the chance to train with Hugh, so it was nice to chat with him about both our racing plans and his acting! The 1/2 marathon piece went by smoothly. Watching the metronome quality of Hugh's stride juxtaposed with Hicham's African sway was enjoyable. Everyone moving along, feeling good, and running well. The 10k piece pretty much ended the chatter as we opened up our stride and let our feet land more underneath us. This ten minutes took us into the hills near the Oak Bay Marina and Victoria Golf Course. I never consider myself a strong hill runner, but tonight I felt good on the hills. Strong and smooth as we crested them, I was easily able to let my legs turnover as I relaxed and rested on the downhills. It helped that the section of road we were on is the path I have worn all winter; running there at least 4 times a week I have gained an intimate knowledge of the hills and turns. It was nearing the base of King George Terrace that we hit the 5k piece. Lengthening our stride once again, I tried to keep pace with Hugh. His earlier qualifications that his legs were feeling tight rang hollow in my head as he gracefully pushed the next gear. I know he wasn't lying about his legs feeling tight, and I was glad that he wasn't feeling in peak condition as I would have been left behind.

It was at this time my thoughts drifted back to my classroom. Earlier today I had my students do a piece of writing where their sole purpose was to make it sound beautiful. Using literary devices in constructing the paragraph, they were to consider what makes language sound beautiful. One of my students wrote a piece in which her character was running. I have forgotten the context but when her character had to run faster, "he put more pressure into the pavement" to outdistance his rival. I am not sure I have quoted it correctly (I will find the proper quote on Monday), but the idea of running faster as putting more pressure into the pavement stuck with me. I loved the concept. And it was in the 5k piece that this phrase popped back into my conciousness.

I was able to hang with Hugh for the last piece and we all jogged back along Beach Rd for our cool down, chatting about life, relationships, and everything that runner boys talk about after a beautiful workout. Arriving back at Oak Bay, Hicham went to do drills on the track, Hugh went to row and do some core strength inside, and I, with a silly smile on my face, jogged back to my car and drove to Thrifty's to buy some food before ordering dinner from My Thai Cafe, which is open again after their annual holiday.

A great first workout. Hopefully this is the beginning of a great season.

Duration: 1:27:29
AHR: 146
Workout: Warm Up - 28:08 AHR - 132
1/2 Mar - 15:06 AHR - 152
10k - 10:00 AHR - 168
5k - 5:10 AHR - 174 (Max - 180)
Cool Down - 29:08 AHR - 143
Legs: Felt good the whole time.

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