Thursday's are workouts in Stanley Park and last night was the hottest one yet. As temperatures soared up in the thirties for most of the day I was keen to get under the bows of the trees and down lakeside where it was cooler as soon as possible.
Given the fact I have to run over four miles just to get to Brockton Oval to meet the guys I sometimes feel like I've done too much before we even get going on the rough stuff, and last night was no exception. With 6.5 miles showing on the Garmin I had already worked up quite a sweat before John informed us of the 1k, 2k, 2k, 1k interval session around Beaver Lake. With the predicted times of "2:55" and "6:10" given to Brad and I, it was evident that it was going to be pretty solid.
Beaver Lake in Stanley Park - 1km perimeter
Starting at aggregated time intervals Brad, Jay and I soon found ourselves ploughing through the dust storm spewed up from the runners in front as we caught them on the relatively narrow gravel path. Somehow Brad can always muster a shout of "on your left", which is very unnerving for someone fighting for breath as I always seem to be when I try and keep up with the king of the heel flicks - he really does have a great running style. We managed to navigate our way through with Jay crossing the kilo in 2:53 with Brad and I in 2:57. First one down and I felt sore: legs burning, lungs coughing and with the breathing rate of an asthmatic in Beijing rush hour.
The 2km rep was pretty decent, with Brad putting distance into me in the final quarter as he went with Jay's increase in pace. A rounded up 6:09 was bang on what the coach ordered, but I knew a repeat in the next rep would be out of the question. Sure enough Brad ran away from me early on and a 6:18 was clocked in the diary; not too bad but not great either.
Trying to recover in the lead up to the final rep is tough to do when all you can think about is the pain and suffering it's going to cause. For some reason I got pretty nervous, although in reality I knew it wasn't that much of a big deal. I have a habit of slapping my outer quads, breathing deeply and getting agitated when I get anxious and I was certainly feeling the heat. Dehydration was starting to work against me and I felt very parched so I was keen to get it over with and back to the carpark.
With the mass start I was very concious of the guys just behind as Brad latched straight on to the back of Jay and disappeared into the distance. All alone I could hear the pounding feet on the gravel, the sound of deep exhales in my ears and the all to familiar feeling of instinctive primeval 'fight or flight' adrenaline rushing into my system. I wasn't going to let myself get caught, not today! Turning for home into the cooler air I surged for the line, closing the gap on Brad, but nowhere near fast enough to get on even terms - a bang on 3:00 for the kilometre was a just reward and welcome closure.
Once back at Brockton I spent a good minute at the water fountain, surprising myself at how much I could drink without feeling nauseous. I jogged back to the city with Jay who has been buzzing about his impending trip to the fabled Prefontaine Classic in Eugene this weekend. Jealousy isn't quite the word I'm looking for... envy might just suffice, haha.
All in all it was good to get the session done and have a rest day to follow. I have pushed some decent mileage this week, considering the time of year; and coupled with the 16 mile round cycle commute each day my legs have welcomed the rest. Hopefully that workout around Beaver Lake has give my muscles something to think about for next week's Longest Day 5k race at UBC. Time will tell!
Read Jay's summation of the workout, 'Ode to Beaver Lake'.
Read Brad's blog regarding the session, 'VFAC Thursday 1, 2, 2, 1'.
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