Friday, September 26, 2008

VFAC Thursday

Last night was my return to the VFAC fold as I met up with the crew in the dimming light of Stanley Park.  After the cross country race on the weekend, I knew that I was able to run the workouts, but I was unsure as to how well I would be able to run them.  Survival may be the order of the day, or the evening as it were.

I was pleased to see Jay again after hearing about his running exploits.  What I hadn't heard was the he had been invited to participate with the big boys at the National 10k Championships in Ottawa.  Apparently they had been watching him from afar and an unsolicited email showed up in his inbox.  Suffice it to say both of us were pretty excited for him and I have no doubt that he will rise to the occasion on the day.  Paul Krochak was also there so it definitely felt like not too old times.  

The workout was 1 5/8 mile loop and then a 2k loop and then a 1.8k loop.  I thought I had heard Coach John say that we may only get the first mile and 5/8 in before it got too dark, so I was pleased about that.  Nothing like a shorter workout to start the comeback.  Much to my dismay, we got it all in.

The 1 5/8 mile loop went quite well.  I started out slowly and controlled, focussed on being strong throughout.  Like last weekend, I found the hills not to be a problem, but the turnover was proving to be tougher to maintain.  I ended up finishing the loop in 8:31, which I think is a decent time considering what I thought I would be.  

Paul and Jay and I jogged up to the start of the 2k, but after a couple of minutes of waiting, we realized that no one was following us.  The others had opted for the safer (more well lit) 1.8k loop of Lost Lagoon, while we stayed in the rapidly darkening forest.  To say I was concerned about the loss of light would be accurate.  Running on the trails of Stanley Park is not treacherous, but being my first workout back, I didn't want to twist my foot on a rock or fallen branch in the low light.  This made me a little wary as we started out 2k loop on our own, but didn't really slow me down too much.

The 2k loop loses elevation from the start to the finish - not a lot, but enough that it makes for a quick time.  I felt good for about 1200m, lost it for about 300m, found it again for 100m when Jay, who started 20 seconds behind me, passed me, and then lost it for the last 400m.  When I say lost it, I am speaking about control and running form.  I felt wobbly and gangly - two words that I don't usually use to describe my compact frame.  The lack of running was showing up in my form.  However, I still ran a 6:24 for the 2k, which was a little shocking for me.  I didn't think I was moving that well, but the clock doesn't lie and the GPS had the loop at 1.99k.

The 1.8k was another story.  We made our way over to Lost Lagoon to find the rest of the crew and joined in the last interval of the evening.  I was able to run well for about 600m, but then the wheels started coming off quickly.  I decided to listen to my screaming hamstrings and calves and so I backed off my pace and ran more comfortably.  This was the first workout back - no need to break myself again.  But when Roy and Coach John passed me, they encouraged me to stay with them, which was the motivation I needed to finish the interval well.

The workout was definitely a success and I was pleased with my showing.  I recognize that I have lost endurance, but the speed is still there which is important for me heading into the shorter distances of the cross country season.  It was my longest run since July 12, and there were no ill effects from it (at least in regard to my foot - my hamstrings are still sore).  I am still going to be smart about the back to back days of running (read: not do it), but I am confident that come the spring I will be faster than I would have been had I not been injured.  The forced rest and the focus on strength training are going to pay dividends as I regain my endurance.

On another note, Sonja and I went to the play Doubt tonight at the Stanley Theatre.  It was very good and thought provoking.  We became season ticket holders for the ArtsClub Theatre and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the play and the acting.  I am definitely looking forward to the next play - Cyrano de Bergerac.  If you are in Vancouver, and want to go to a show, I would definitely recommend it.
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