Six days out from the Longest Day 5k marked my final workout, with 5 x 800m off 200m recovery on the Point Grey track down in Kerrisdale. With Jay doing some all outs I was pretty much the designated hare for the guys, so had the responsibility of pacing around the ever-fitter Phil who was nipping at my heels.
A football tournament in the centre of the field provided some ample support from the sidelines for those of us repping out the track, although the poor quality of play meant that there was an ever present fear of a stray ball whacking us in the head. Eyes on the prize though, and my focus was on maintaining good form, efficiency and stride length.
John recommended trying to hit 2:24 for each rep, so 72 second laps. Thankfully Kevin was on hand with a stopwatch as my Garmin had run out of battery, so he was able to take my splits and call out the elapsed time at half way.
We warmed up with a 400m lap at target pace, and despite not having a watch I was able to hit a 72, a perfect start. Obviously there is some good intuition somewhere in this brain of mine.
The first rep started strongly, good leg turnover and feeling pretty fresh with a 2:24, so bang on the money; my only concern really being the breezy headwind in the homestraight and first bend, but having trained on Loughborough's backstraight for five years it was well within acceptable atmospheric boundaries.
Rep two was much the same, a solid start to open the legs up and then onto the toes aiming for consistency. 2:24 again. On rep three we caught the back end of the group to lap them, and despite running in lane three round the final bend I dipped a 2:23 - maybe the extra motivation of having people to run towards quickened the pace? Rep four went to plan, although I started to tighten up in the final 200m, fatigue kicking in.
Jogging round for the final rep I knew I had enough in the tank to push out something a bit quicker. I got rid of the Loughborough vest for a final topless assault and started with a 70sec first lap. Striding out into the wind for the final time I picked up the effort and then accelerated out of the final turn for a 2:18.
Strange how a week ago I ran a hard 800m after just doing a 200m rep in 2:17 and then today could muster a 2:18 at the end of a session. All good though and I'm pleased with how it went. I wore compression socks for the first time on the track as I had struggled with some calf tightness earlier in the week, and they certainly did a good job. I warmed down with Jay and finished with three laps on the faux-grass infield in barefeet for some intricate muscle strengthening exercise before he left for Eugene and the Pre Classic. That's a definite date for my calendar next year!
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