Have you ever found a treasure hidden in such an obvious spot that it just didn’t catch your eye before? That’s what happened to me today. My schedule today called for speedwork. I complained to my husband when he came home that, “There’s really no where nearby to do good speed workouts.” I don’t live near a high school with a track, the only small green belts in my town are about 2 miles long each and cross traffic 2-3 times and even those are a good 10 – 15 minute drive from my home.

So, I headed out to the minivan, planning to drive to one of the small greenbelts on the other side of town. As I was driving along, less than a mile from my home, I took notice of the nearby community college. It has acres of green, freshly mowed grass, lots of nice, new sidewalks and a wonderful dirt road along one side, that also borders several farms and a wide canal. It was PERFECT for my needs! How did I not see that?!

I pulled my car in, parked (realizing that I’d have access to cold Gatorade, water and a banana on every lap if I wanted it since I had my van), set my Garmin for an interval workout (can I just say here again how in love I am with this running tool?), and headed off on my run.

Today’s schedule called for 7 total miles. A warm up (I did 1 1/2 miles), 3 x 1600 with 800 jogs) and a cool down (another 1/ 1/2.) I admit that speedwork has taken a back seat in my running journey thus far. I wasn’t a runner at all 2 years ago. My first goal was working on being able to run half an hour (the couch to 5K). Once I accomplished that, my second goal was a half marathon. I got injured training for that and had to sit on the sidelines for 3 months without any running at all, healing. Once I recovered, I decided to just go for the gold and trained for my first marathon. From that training cycle, on, my focus was on endurance.

I attempted my first ultra in January – DNFing at 23.33 miles when GI distress was more than I could handle. I set my sites on achieving that first 50k distance after that and trained well for it. I did my first 50K in April. I did my second marathon just for fun in May.

Now, here I am, grateful that I accomplished what I set out to do with my endurance training, but eager to shake things up a bit. I’m ready to focus on developing those fast-twitch muscles a bit. I’m interested in tweaking my speed (which shouldn’t be too hard since I’m a fairly slow runner.)

I took it easy the past two weeks to rest and recover. I kept running – but gently and with less total mileage. I printed up a half marathon schedule and am now working off of that. It’s kind of an ambitious one, but I’m willing to give it a try.  My first half marathon was in April and it was a really, wonderfully challenging course. The race is called Robie Creek and it’s pretty well-known in this part of Idaho as being “one of the toughest half marathons in the Northwest.” The first 8.4 miles are uphill!  It was crazy wonderful and I honestly had the time of my life running it! My chip time was 2:20. I’m eager to see what I can do on a more traditional course. I’m thinking 2:10 or so seems possible, but the schedule I’ve printed out is actually for a 2 hour race. Very lofty, but like I said — I’m willing to do the workouts and see where the chips may fall.

My race is July 10th, so I have a little more than a month to tweak. It’ll be fun to see how it goes!  Since the race is in July — heat my certainly be a factor — but I’ll just give the best that I can and see how I do.

My intervals today went VERY well! The goal pace was 8:38.
Here are my speed splits:
1. 8:33
2. 8:32
3. 8:30

The stats for the total workout: 7.01 miles. Ave pace: 10:55. Overall time: 1:16:31 Felt: Fantastic!!!!!

It was lightly raining during my workout and I welcomed every chilly drop! It was humid and warm -about 70 degrees. I brought my mp3 player but ended up enjoying the chirping of the birds so much I didn’t even need it. I enjoyed pushing myself a bit on the speed intervals and never felt I was going too fast to handle it. I was wondering if I’d get a side stitch – but I was fine. It was comfortably hard – and I really got a kick out of being allowed to run faster!!!! Sometimes, with endurance training, you get so focused on telling yourself, “Hold back a bit. You still have a long ways to go, etc” that you almost train yourself to run too slow. That has at least been my experience. I’ve gotten too comfortable at the slower paces, have started to sight-see maybe more than I should and am ready to wake up my muscles and get some new work out of them! It was a blast!!! I can’t wait to do it again!

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