This workout, on the heels of the 5k last Friday, was going to be tough. It was always a hard run with the VFAC boys and now that I was without the group, it wasn't going to get any easier. Fortunately, Shawn Nelson, he of the faster 5k time than I, was up for the workout. So it was the two of us that met up at the base of Lochside Trail before making our way into the canopied stretch of crushed gravel that would be the place of our mutual hurt.
I worked with Shawn at Frontrunner a few years ago and a more subtly humourous person I have not met. Everyone was excited to work with him because we knew the time would be spent laughing. Not to say that he is all jokes, as he can be quite serious as well, but it is always good times hanging out with him. Shawn comes from a running family and he is very strong at this moment, although he claims his training has not been that structured of late and the 5k he kicked my butt at was a surprise for him. I was glad to have his company for this workout.
We caught up on life events and warmed up out to Lochside School before turning around. While Lochside is canopied for much of the length, there are definitely open spots, including a long boardwalk over a bog, that heat right up. The workout called for running 3k at about 3:10-3:13/km pace. Considering we had just ran 5k at a little under 3:10/km, we knew this was not going to be easy. No spikes, soft surface, hot night, and heavier shoes (I know, not that big a deal, unless you are tired), and lack of spectators, we were not looking forward to the hurt.
We started well and on pace. Lochside has km markers, but apparently my GPS disagrees with the markers as it said the marker wasn't long enough. As we passed the marker we were anxiously awaiting the beep of the watch, but alas, it did not arrive for another 12 seconds, making us feel badly about ourselves. But we kept on, pushing as we could, and the passed the second km marker, again, anxiously awaiting the beep. It was a little before this that I realized we should turn around after the 2nd km because we might run out of trail before 3k. So when the beep came - late - we turned right around and ran back for the last km. We finished the interval at 9:45, a little slow, but not too bad considering the turn and what we think was a long 3k.
We jogged back to the start and chatted, a little bit pleased with the effort and wondering what lay ahead. Shawn suggested not turning on the second 3k and I whole heartedly agreed. So when we began again, after a six minute recovery jog, things felt good. We knew that we were literally running to the cars. The first km was faster than the first interval and felt easier. But once we got out from under the canopy, things got harder. I started to slow down as the effort from the race on Friday and long run on Sunday started to creep back in the legs. Shawn held pace and pulled away a little and I fought to stay on his shoulder. This is why running with someone is so great. We passed over the boardwalk and hit the pavement a little bit further on, and what I was worried about previously, running out of room for the 3k, I now realized would actually occur. As we got close to the end, running through the Tim Horton's parking lot, Shawn made the brilliant suggestion of cutting the interval. I was going backwards at that point and the only place we could have continued would have been up a decent hill - not something I wanted at that moment. So, at 2.8k, we called it in. We were on pace for about 9:50 (I think), but with the hill I am sure it would have been a little slower than that.
So, the workout went well. These workouts are about effort more than time or distance. I was working hard with Shawn and we both agreed that we "banked" that workout - meaning, while it didn't feel spectacular, it would benefit us in the long run. I am excited about the chance to train with Shawn more often as we are running right around the same pace right now and he is a great training partner.
Yesterday was an easy 12k around Oak Bay and tonight I am going to join in with Paul O'Callaghan's group for their Thursday night tempo session, rather than doing it on my own. There are a bunch a very good runners there, so hopefully I won't get left behind!