Tomorrow I am racing a 10K in White Rock, BC. It's been five weeks since the Vancouver marathon and the recovery from my 3:00:29 effort there seems to have gone well.
My plan to take it easy during the four weeks after the marathon changed, not surprisingly perhaps as I joined a 10-week running clinic coached by VFAC's John Hill, hosted by the Squamish Titans.
John, based in Vancouver, comes to Squamish every Wednesday to coach a session of fast running.
The first was on May 23, 2-1/2 weeks after the marathon during which I had run twice; a 60-minute trail run with Amy on May 17 and a tempo run with the Squamish Titans on May 21 in which I covered 7K at 4:15 pace following a 2K warm-up on a flat out-and-back course marked each kilometre set out by Volker.
On May 23, John had 2 x 2-mile repeats on the road in store for us. He provided everyone, about 20, with goal times based on recent race times. Mine were 6:10 per mile, or 12:20 for the 2-mile repeats. I hadn't planned on running fast so soon after the marathon and asked John who said it should be fine as the fitness from the marathon should be kicking in.
I took his word for it. And he was right. I did the first in 12:19 and the second in 12:12. That works out to paces of 3:24 per K and 3:22 per K respectively. John helped pace me in the final K of the second 2-miler, which was great.
With plenty of runners in the group, we all have someone to run with, or to chase, or to breathe down our neck. Highly motivating! John had paired me with Tim and Sean for this session, and the three of us were a little surprised at our ability to reach the goal pace. A great start to the clinic.
John wrote individual programs for everyone, covering the next two weeks.
I ran 10K easy the following day and did 18.5K on Saturday. Sunday had 45 minutes easy to rest up for Monday's tempo run. John had given me 16K in total including 13K at 4:15 pace. There were six of us and Roger had set out a 4K lap on flat trails, marked each kilometre.
While I did 13K at tempo, I pressed the wrong button on my watch and only timed part of the run, 10.84K at 4:23 per K.
On Wednesday (May 30) John had 2 x 1-1/2 mile repeats, followed by 1 x 1-mile in store. He gave me a goal time of 6:00 per mile, or 9:00 for the 1-1/2 mile repeats, and a 5:50 for the final mile. Especially the latter sounded challenging to me, as I am not aware of ever having run a 5:50 mile.
This time Sean wasn't there and Tim was holding back as he was gearing up for the Oliver Half Ironman on the weekend, so I was 'on my own' at that particular pace for the first two repeats. I was glad to do both in 8:57 (3:43 per K), but wondered how much I'd have left for that last mile?
As it turned out, more than enough. I ran 5:42 (3:33 per K), spurred on by John in the final half, and partly by Jody who had started off a little quick thinking the final repeat was a half mile, though he held on well in that unexpected second half mile.
The next day I ran 10K easy, before doing 21K on Saturday in Oliver. On Sunday I 'ran' as a spectactor cheering on Tim who had a great day in his first half Ironman (and triathlon) of the season, finishing 5th in his age group.
Monday didn't leave time or energy for a run. On Tuesday night I ran about 90 minutes easy with Luka.
Wednesday we met on the track where John had 10 x 400s for us (200m jog recovery). The goal he gave me was 77-78. That was hard work from the start! Thankfully I had both people to chase and people on my heels, and finished all between 76 and 81, with most done in 78-79 (about 3:17 per K). A tough workout for sure!
After the session John wrote out my program for the next couple of weeks, as he does for everyone in the group, and asked if I'd planned any races in that period. When I mentioned my plan to do the Sandcastle 10K on Sunday, he said: You gonna go Sub-39?
Hmm, well ... happy to try as he's been spot on with the challenging Wednesday goals he gave me for the past three weeks. My fastest 10K, as he knows too, is 39:39 which I ran in the Vancouver Sun Run in April. John said that people who run a PB in the Sun Run tend to do better again on tomorrow's 10K course.
The Sun Run was the first time in four years I ran Sub-40, having done it only twice before in early 2008. Based on my 3:00:29 marathon, I should be able to run a faster 10K. Merv's for example puts the 10K equivalent at 38:40.
Sub-39 is the plan for tomorrow. I trust John's goal for me and am looking forward to racing for the first time after the marathon.
Tim's gonna watch this one, as he's still recovering from the half Ironman. He told his Dad on the phone tonight, making sure I could hear it, "She thinks she can run faster than me." Tim ran a superb 38:42 PB in the Toronto's Yonge Street 10K in last month.
As an extra boost of confidence, Dr Paul Fleming from Chief Chiro in Squamish worked to loosen my calves today as I was very worried about the new level of tightness despite my efforts with self-massage, rolling and Epsom salt baths. My concern that it was an Achilles problem was unfounded, he said, which was a huge relief. Thanks so much for the great (last-minute) treatment and the reassurance Paul!