Friday, March 2, 2012

Just a Tempo in the Dark

Sometimes, the thing that drives you is as simple as having just enough time to get in the run you need before another obligation.  That extra little bit that motivates you to move your ass isn't always something like a cliche of visualizing yourself sitting in a lead pack with 400m to go in the "big race", or other such cheesy scenes from a poorly directed film about running.  Too often, training at a high level is isolating, and you just need to do it on your own, by numbers alone, the facts are that not too many people have the time or the drive to do what you're doing.  So, you need to play psychologist with yourself, and ignore the desire for social interaction fairly often.
    Circumstances as they were, my best possible option for a traffic-free tempo run, was to head over to Ferris High School in Jersey City.  This track is not 400m around(this I already knew).  This track is not an oval(also knew this).  This track is not entirely flat(did not know this).  As I arrive there, it is a good while past sunset, and all the artificial light from buildings and street lamps are glaring off of the many puddles strewn about this dilapidated 3-lane strip of worn out rubber.  I run 1 lap around to survey the landscape.
   This track is lumpy.  That is to say, there are spot where, you're going to step into a depression, and then your next stride you will stumble upon a spot that is risen higher than ground level, and then back into another depression.  This seemed to be most evident on the beginning of the back straight, but was a ripple compared to the sloped crater that spanned lanes 2 and 3 on the next corner.  The turns were crudely rounded corners, none of which had any semblance of symmetry.  To add to the obstacles, there were several large piles of goose droppings in some well placed spots.  I tell you, those devil birds must have known I was coming!
   So, I started my 6-mile Tempo, weaving around puddles and goose droppings, adjusting stride length to avoid tripping on uneven ground, holding tight through the "turn 3" to avoid the crater.  As I got a feel for the track, I got a feel for my body's rhythm.  I felt pretty good, and the toughest factor was the tight turns(all 108 of them).  In the end I wracked up 27+ laps on this piece of ground.  I checked my watch often, on most laps I clipped about 76secs.
    Google Map Pedometer(best tool on the internet for runners), would prove later, that this was in fact 356m, not 350m(as someone had told me it was).  The way I ran this thing, I did roughly 363m on each lap.  This shed new light on my feelings about the relative success of the workout.  As I ran back to Runner's High to meet up with the Group Run, I kept double checking the math in my head and continued believing that I was in the 5:45-5:48range at best, when in fact I was averaging 5:36per mile!  The cold, damp weather, the isolation, and the poor excuse for a track couldn't hold me back!  So today, I'm feeling a little bit like Ronnie James Dio(RIP) did in 1983! 
    Just a Rainbow in the Dark!  LOOK OUT!

1 comment:

  1. Nice run, I'm really looking forward to seeing what you can do this weekend at M4M. You are wicked fit!