It has been a busy week, and after the race that was the Oak Bay Half, I wasn't super stoked to get back into training. But, one foot in front of the other, and out the door I went and got in some decent runs.
Workout on Thursday was what is the called the double-single and it is much better than the double-double. The references are to the 1 mile 5/8 loop in Stanley Park. Double means we do it twice and single, well, once. So essentially, the workout is a 5k followed by a 2.5k a mere 15 minutes later. I wasn't sure what to expect as my legs were feeling a little heavy from the previous weekend's half, but with Simon and Jay, and the new brits Pete and Phil, there was a solid group to work with.
Jay, as usual, left 15 seconds behind us for the first interval, the 5k. We use a staggered start for at least the first interval of every workout so that everyone finished somewhat close. It is also great motivation as you are constantly catching people as well as being chased. I left with Pete and Simon and we settled in pretty quickly, feeling better than I thought I would. We worked well and came through the first lap right on pace, which was good. The long, but not steep, hill that resides at the beginning of the loop, seemed much larger the second time around. The three of us spread out a bit and Jay joined the group shortly thereafter. I felt good, but was beginning to struggle as Simon and Pete showed good form. Focussing on form and staying relaxed, I held things together and finished the double in 16:45. I was pleased with the time and recognized that the effort was a little high. The second lap was much lower than the first, something that Jay commented on in his recent blog post, but Coach John indicated that everyone should expect to slow down. He is eerie in his ability to predict performance in Stanley Park and I have long since given up on trying to figure how he does it, having moved into a place of acceptance.
The recovery was a full 15 minutes and then we were unleashed once again for a single loop. The mental difference of running a single vs. a double is amazing. And, for some reason, my body responded really well to this second loop. Often, after our first interval, we will start as a mass group. This was the case for the single loop. Jay went off the front pretty quickly and, feeling good, I settled into a quick pace up the initial hill. I visualized myself as the person beside me, Simon, as his quick turnover allows him to be a dominant hill runner. Cresting the top of the hill I felt pretty strong and decided to visualize myself as the runner in front of me, Jay, he of the running on the toes and strong arm movement. After struggling through second lap of the first interval, I was surprised at how I felt. My feet were gripping the ground and I was pushing it backwards, rather than moving over it. I felt strong in body and mind. But, as with any "flow" or "zone" experience, once you recognize it, it leaves you. That is the irony, as Simon pointed out on the cool down, to be in the zone you can't really know you are in the zone. The last 600m of the 2.5k loop was a bit of a struggle, but I held things together quite well, to come in only 3 seconds slower than I ran the same loop a few weeks ago, but at that time it was the first interval of the night.
Overall, a strong workout. I am pleased with my speed right now - in fact, I am not sure if I have ever run consistently fast workouts times like this in my past. However, the half last weekend is a reminder that while my speed is ok, I need to focus on hour-long tempo efforts if I am to run to my potential at Scotiabank in June.