Yesterday I decided to do some mile repeats at Shelley Lake. After a 1.5 mile warm-up , I wasn't feeling that good , still a little tired and sore from all the miles the past few weeks. And then as I clicked the watch and took off an amazing thing happened. I felt fantastic!. My stride felt smooth, fluid and efficient. My breathing was quick but strong as I settled in to the quicker than normal pace and a slight smile came from inside. Although I concentrate on ultra's these days and the pace can sometimes feel like a crawl, I still find pleasure in opening up the pace and running FAST.
In my younger days when I ran mostly 5 and 10K's with an occasional 10 miler or half-marathon, I would do qtrs and halves on the track as I attempted to reach for new Pr's. I probably went for 20 years without doing any speedwork after those early days until I decided to try and qualify for Boston in 2005. Karla and I began running on the track once or twice a week beginning in late July that year. I planned out several workouts using half mile and mile repeats and occasional 2 mile repeats that were more like tempo runs. Marathon training is different from 5K's so the pace was much easier and less painful than the 400's I ran at mile pace in the past. I found I very much enjoyed these workouts and the end result was lowering my marathon PR by 25 minutes and getting my qualifier. And then I stopped the speedwork.
I had lost my training partner while she underwent her treatments and soon after, NCSU tore up the track and my focus changed once again to ultra's. I got away from the routine and before I realized it, a year had passed since I had done any speedwork. I do feel that the speedwork has helped in my ultrarunning. Although I don't run those kinds of pace in the ultra's, it has helped with my fitness and my running efficiency and I continued to improve with pr's from 50K to 100 miles in the next year. Amazingly my times for the repeats yesterday were about 30 seconds per mile faster than last year at the same effort. A sign of some fast times this Fall?
I hope to continue now to include some speedwork in my regular training and look forward to continue to improve for several more years before the years inevitably slow me down at all distances. I'l l never touch those 5 and 10k pr's from my 20's and 30's but I expect new pr's at all the ultra distances this year and next. I never would have dreamed I'd be saying that at age 51. And it wouldn't happen except that after all these years I still have the passion for running FAST!