Hitori de speed work i.e. Just Me

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I avoid speed work like the plague.

Don’t get me wrong. In the abstract, I absolutely understand the value of speed work. It’s in all the running mags. All the cool kids are doing it. Heck, it’s free with registration for my marathon running clinic.

So what’s the problem?

Speed work is just that. Work. Hard work. Painful work.

Run fast. Repeat.

After blaming my laziness on a (real) cold earlier in the week, I decided it was time to do the speed work recommended by Coach Carey.

I started with my usual lunchtime run along the seawall, starting at the Olympic Cauldron, heading west toward Stanley Park.

My ‘pacer’ is my Nike+ Running app on my iPhone. I don’t have a ton of settings options, so I chose the voice feedback of ‘every one minute’. This seemed like a reasonable plan, but the voice (I chose ‘female’) kept interrupting my music to alert me to my time, distance, and average pace. Useful in terms of knowing the time, and tremendously annoying.

Once I reached Lost Lagoon (“11 minutes; 2 point one one kilometres; average pace: 5 point four one minutes per kilometre”), I had no more excuses. It was time to run. Hard.

The workout called for 10×1 min (10km pace) [1min jog rest], so that’s what I decided to do. And for the next 20 minutes, I was running back and forth along the east side of Lost Lagoon like a crazy person. Stopping and starting. Panting and sweating.

And I kept negotiating with myself.

Me 1: 10 times. I can do this.

Me 2: How about 5. You deserve a break.

Me 1: Well, maybe 8.

Me 2: Atta boy! Half it – 4 is plenty!

Me 1: Nononono. I can do this! Only 3 more….

And I made it to 10. Was it my 10km pace? Unsure. But did I do what I set out to do? Proudly, yes. And I even passed those cocky runners looking all smug cuz they were running so fast…

I’m resigned to the fact that I’m not a fast runner. I’ll never get a medal for coming first in a race, or in my age group. But somehow over the past year or so I’ve been getting faster. With only one exception, each race I’ve run in the last 12 months has been a personal best. I’m really just racing against myself, trying to get my present me to make my future me just a wee bit stronger than my past me.

I’m no Matthew McConaughey, weirdly idolizing my future me…but I am fighting for some degree of success for that guy. He’s not alone.