Speedwork is the most satisfying type of hard running work there is, for me. Today I got my speed on for the first time in THREE MONTHS! Imagine anything you really love, and then imagine not doing it for THREE MONTHS. And then you do it and it feels amazing. Wait, what was I talking about? Right. Speedwork. All day I was on an intense speedwork high.
Today's workout was 8x400. This is a really fun workout to do on the track because each repeat is just one lap. There's no mental drama with one lap; it's over before you can really get uncomfortable. There's no time to do calculations about how far you have to go. Since the blizzard (or not-quite-blizzard) put the track out of commission, I rode the 'mill this morning. Speedwork on the treadmill isn't quite as much fun, but I still get the benefit of feeling amazing afterwards. Plus I get to watch dumb TV, which has its own charm.
I was up at 5 and at the gym by 6, after some kukicha tea and a packet of instant oatmeal. I brought some nuun water and a canister of Hammer Perpetuem Solids, which I had high hopes for. Hardly anyone was at the gym that early so I had my choice of the six treadmills. I warmed up at 10:20 pace for a half-mile, then started the 400s. I slowly increased the treadmill over the 8 repeats from 7.5 (8:00) to 8.0 (7:30), jogging at about 10:30 pace in between.
After the fourth repeat (halfway!), I tried a Perpetuem Solid. Nope, not gonna work for me. They seemed to expand the more I chewed them, they were the consistency of styrofoam, and they ended up stuck to my teeth until I brushed them after the workout. I still haven't found anything better than gels, but they don't taste very good. I want to experiment with making my own mashed potato gels before my next marathon.
I love getting nervous at the beginning of a speed workout about how many repeats I have to do, then feeling more and more confident as they tick by. I love getting to the halfway point, then two more left, then the last one and I know it's almost in the books. I love wondering if I've started out too fast or not fast enough, and trying to pace it so that I expend enough (but not too much) energy, per repeat and over the course of the whole workout. I love how the first few seconds of effort feels really tough, before I settle in and my heart rate drops a bit.
After I was done with today's repeats, I cooled down for half a mile at my recovery pace, about 11:20. Then I went home and launched myself into my day, full of energy and happy that after a month off from training, I can still throw down a little speed.