Last week was my first week using the FIRST program, and my first run seemed simple enough; a 10-20 minute warm-up, three mile repeats with one minute rest intervals, and then a 10 minute cool-down. ONE MINUTE REST INTERVALS!!! I mean, why even rest? All one minute of rest does is remind you how tired you are and that the pain is only seconds away from starting all over again. stupid one minute rest…
Now, in the past two weeks I’ve only run once, an easy 8M with a friend. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was ‘unprepared’ physically, but to compare my ‘physical fitness’ with the Empire’s skeleton crew on Endor to guard the all important Imperial shield generator would be relatively accurate. Things started out so good and got ugly fast.
Goal pace for mile repeats, 6:30 to 6:40. First mile, 6:31. Nice. And then one minute is over and I drop out a 6:55. Ouch. By now, I’m just hoping the +90 heat index will kill me. I’m so exhausted I can’t even spit cleanly; I just end up hitting myself. Last mile, 6:48. That time is the most amazing of them all because in my head it felt like a 7:30.
I then somehow managed to eek out an 8:30 pace for the 10min cool-down before heading home to stretch and cry. Oh, but I didn’t cry. Not because I didn’t want to or my body didn’t try. I laid there in the fetal position twitching and heaving myself around. It was just that, I was so dehydrated, my body couldn’t produce tears.
Then I had a 2M “short” tempo run stuck between two sets of 2M at easy pace. I hit a 7:25 pace for my first two easy miles, and then tried to crank up to a 6:08 pace. Oh, and the temp was in the low 90s. My second day of training equals a second massive fail. My last two easy miles were at an 8:28 pace, both of them.
After posting two terrible fails, my only hope in salvaging my first week on FIRST rested on a 13M run at marathon pace plus 30 (7:30/M). Basically, my fourth run following three weeks (and third run in the last week) needed to be spectacular where every prior run had not. Yeah, I can do that.
And I did, hitting a 7:29 average. Sure, the early miles were a little faster while miles 10-12 a little slower. Amazing how one run can change everything.