As track club got going this month I realized I was in a bit of an inbetween spot. Group 1 at track is supposed to be 7 min pace or under (for either your two-mile time trial the first week of track, or you 5K PR). That's totally me. Last year I was solid in this group, but this year I found myself barely hanging on to the back of the group. What to do? Keep fighting like mad to hang on, or drop back a group? At last weeks workout I noticed that on the tenth hill repeat group two was gunning to catch me. This made me believe that there were some super studly runners hiding out in group 2, too scared to leap up to group 1. So, today I asked if we could create a new group 2 that runs 6-7 min pace, and extend group one to sub 6ers. The president agreed! I think it helped. I dropped back to group 2. I think it will take a little time for the other folks barely hanging onto group 1 to realize that 2 is the new "In-crowd".
So the workout: 400, 800, 1600, 1600, 800, 400. The instructions from Steve were to be ready for the second 1600. Okay. So I ran very conservatively for the first three intervals. I ran about 5K race pace. Steve asked me what my first 1600 was, it was 6:22. He then said, let's break 6 on this one. All the guys in my group started laughing when they heard him say that. One guy goes "It's only 22 seconds". In mind mind half of me wanted to spew excuses: "I only broke 6 once last year on a taper and I ran 5:59", "todays not the day", "Blah blah". But, for some reason I just shut my mouth, and even better I shut off my brain.
I lined up on the line, cleared my watch, and said "Let's go boys". I just ran hard, and steady and tried to think about staying comfortable. The laps flew by. I watched my watch and couldn't believe it was happening. It felt too comfortable to be running the pace I was running. The last lap I thought, here's where I will have to dig deep. But no, I didn't have to dig as deep as I thought. The form didn't fall apart, and I just scooted around the track in normal Sonja fashion. I stopped my watch at the line, looked down, and saw; 5:56. You are kidding me.
So much of these past months started to come together in my mind. The miles, all those miles. They have given me strength and that added toughness has yielded some speed. With no speed work, I am starting to see that I am in a good place going into the season.
All night the only thing I could think about was how lucky I am to have such a great coach. I don't always know what he is doing with me, but he does, and days like this prove to me that sometimes a little blind faith is necessary. It's time to start throwing all those pre conceived notions of myself out the window. New season, new level of fitness, it's time to wipe the slate clean.