Month one of the New Year. My New Year plan began with the goal of being a better and faster runner and I enlisted the expertise of Coach John Henwood, New Zealand Representative in the Olympic Games 2004. Not that I have any illusions of grandeur for myself I do want to point out that John send two women to the Olympic Trials this year, one Caroline Lefrak who ran an outstanding 2 hours and 38 minutes! One of his other runners, though not in the trials, Ana Johnson finished the marathon overall 10th with a 2:48.
My training with John started out with a 20 day rest. Really. I was totally burned out, so 20 days off, no cross training, nothing. Then I started the build up, now beginning my fourth week, my longest run is up to 1 hour 40minutes, (8:30-8:40 pace) mid week medium run 80 minutes and some shorter runs with weight trainings. I just start my quality work this week which brings me to today.
John coaches Tuesday workouts at 6:30am in Central Park. I didn’t know if I could do it; with dog duty and getting to work in time it would be a stretch. Plus, I was intimidated knowing the kind of runners I would be following. But I fear aside, got up at 4:30am to exercise the dogs, fed them and jumped in a cab. The subway is too infrequent to get me there in time. I felt it is stupid to hire a coach and not go to all the quality workouts, there are two a week, the one on Tuesday and one on Saturday.
Originally my schedule read; 70mins total, 15min warm up , then 3mins on ( 7.20 pace), 2mins off ( 8.40 pace) x 8. I was worried I would not have anyone to run a 7:20 pace with, it is slow for them. But the workout was changed to 10 x Cat Hill, a quarter mile run up hard, jog down hill in Central Park. I was much more excited to run the hills, even though I have not run them since last summer. Oh man, I really have not run hills in a while. I only had the rest of the team to measure myself against and, well, I was like a pig stuck in molasses. On the 7th repeat John said I can stop at 8, which quite frankly was on my mind. When I got to the top of the hill on the 8th repeat I started walking over to John to watch the rest of the folks finish, but before I got to him they reached the top. I thought they were on number nine, but they were done with all 10. I was a full two repeats behind them! I think it was after the second of third repeat John assured me there are slower runners, (like me) but that today I was with all the speedies. I knew he had fast runners, that is why I want to run with him. I laugh and I appreciated his concern for my mortified feelings, but honestly I can suck it up and be last. The funny thing is the first day I ever ran with Front Runners back in 2007, it was the exact same workout, I don’t remember how many repeats but I do remember being dead last, yet last Saturday night I received an award for scoring the most racing points of any woman age 40-49, placing 1st within the team in my age group every race. So there will come a time that I am not dead last in John’s group as well. I hope! And I will be right back out there next Tuesday morning.