Saturday, September 17

Rookie mistakes

This week in the "I should know better" files:
Cool morning weather tempted me into thinking I could switch my interval workout to the track, instead of the treadmill, for the first time in months. What followed was not my most graceful morning ever.

I should know better: Exhibit A
I should not attempt to run at the track on base on PT day. The track will be full of personnel in bright yellow shirts and navy shorts. Running intervals is not an option when 100 identically-dressed people in the infield are doing 100 crunches and 100 push-ups while chanting. Loudly.

Using the track under these conditions would be unpleasant at best, but more importantly the PT-ers are bound to switch between infield and track at any given time. And on PT day, I (lowly civilian) do not have the right of way.

Me at the track in 2009. (Blurry = superfast, right?)
Fortunately I'm not entirely daft. The sea of yellow shirts screamed "treadmill instead!" before I even got out of the car.

I should know better: Exhibit B
When running a "ladder" interval workout, it is not wise to start in your highest gear.

A ladder workout looks like this:
1600 meter sprint. recover.
  1200 meter sprint. recover.
    800 meter sprint. recover.
      400 meter sprint. cool down.
Given that 2 of the sprints are 1600 and 1200 meters, starting out at my normal 400-meter pace was... (how shall I put this delicately?)... f-ing stupid.

I managed to hang on through the first 1600, sucking wind and clawing at the "slow down" buttons when I finished. This should have set off the alarm bells in my brain (no not "those" alarm bells), but I let ego get in the way of reason. Each interval is supposed to be hard, but not heart-exploding, grasping for the treadmill handles merciless. You are supposed to finish feeling like you might puke, but you could run "just a little more" if forced at gunpoint. You are also supposed to get progressively faster (not slower) through each shorter distance of the ladder.

After ignoring the 1600 warning signs, I completed (what I thought was) an appropriate recovery and started my second interval (1200). I knew I was doomed in the first 200 meters. By 400 meters the treadmill handed my @ss to me. (Can treadmills laugh?) I attempted to hang on for another 800, but could not. When I stopped, I checked my heart rate. Um... 197. Not good. One minute later, still 196. Clearly I screwed up. Royally. I took a much longer recovery. I let my HR get back down out of the stratosphere, you know, to something more like 160. I salvaged the "final" 800 meters of that 1200, and completed the final 800 and 400 without further incident.

I left the gym embarrassed, which is weird, because no one else had any idea what my workout was "supposed" to be. Only I (well... and now you) know that I made a huge rookie mistake. Inside I was beating myself up, thinking I've been running this workout for years. I should know better!

Normally speedwork is the highlight of my week.
This week it was my "Doh!" moment.

Have you ever had a workout (or a race) that makes you feel like a rookie runner?

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