Wednesday, June 21, 2006

To Be A Champion

My speedwork run got cut short last night when I had to be rescued from the armageddon of Zeus and Xena dukin' it out in the sky. No hail but the lightning 60 feet over my head gave me pause. It was a huge bummer because I only had a short window of time to finish the run and the storm brought it to a screeching halt. Luckily I had nothing planned for this morning so I set out at 6 am to git 'er done...

It was cool and misty in the river valley and the sun was just starting to burn thru. So beautiful. I'm so lucky to be able to train up here... it was a really fun set that went like this:

5-8 min. EZ warmup jog - I felt really loose and fresh...always a good sign.

Run 1 – set the timer on my watch for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Run out for that long, then when the beeper goes off, turn immediately and head back to the start - try to make it back in 5 minutes (another 2:30). Focus was on economy, running clean and quiet (In true Weasel Boy fashion, he added, "but you’re not a kid chasing the ice cream man or anything" I guess he knows me well because I AM that kid...)

Drill set 1: Skipping
This time concentrate on skipping form. Drive your knee up as high as possible with your back leg. Really push off. 20 seconds of skipping, then walk back to where you started. Repeat this 2 more times, drink water, and you’re off again.

Run 2 – this time, set the watch for 2 minutes and 35 seconds. Run out for that amount of time, then turn, and try to get back to the start in under 5 minutes. On the way back, gradually increase your pace all the way back. Trying to find a gearbox and pace between sprinting and half marathon pace, a pace that I can hold for an Olympic distance race that I will look back on as easy-peasy, but my former-self in the past will look at as crazy fast. WB says, "Go find it!"

(This is as far as I got last night... when I did the set this morning, I started over at Run 1 after warming up)

Drill set 2: High knee jogging and butt kicking
20 seconds of high knee prancing (heel doesn’t touch the ground). Slow – it’s all about control. Follow it with another 20 seconds (still heading out) kicking your heel up toward your butt. All about the kick rather than the number of reps. Walk all the way back – lots of rest. Do another 2 sets – drink!!

Run 3 – set the watch for 2 minutes and 40 seconds (see where this is going?) Run out, turn and get back in less than 5 minutes. Should be getting out past where you got for 2:30 on run 1…

Drills set 3: Skipping
Repeat drill set 1 – get some real air!!

Run 4 – Watch goes to 2 minutes and 45 seconds. WB: "Here’s where you get to push yourself again. I don’t want you puking, but you get to know that you’re only doing this for 2 minutes 15 seconds max. Hold the speed for as long as you can – enjoy the sensation of the wind really blowing through your hair. Remember to think how cool this is and smile as much as you want while you’re chasing your slow self down." Isn't he just the best coach ever? I'm on a mission to get him clients so if you're interested, let me know...

Jog slowly for 8-10 minutes but maintain the good running form as a warmdown.


I actually didn't do the 4th Run. I REALLY wanted to - I mean who wouldn't want to enjoy the wind really blowing in your hair? But the high knee/butt kick things taxed my hammies and quads quite a bit and I was feeling like one more big push might've led me down the road of injury. I actually had to talk myself out of doing it by reminding myself how pissed I'd be if I got hurt. There's time. I'll get there. Better to do less now than trash myself in time for later. Being injured SUCKS DONKEYS!! So I jogged home slowly. I also justified it by the fact that I had done part of the practice last night. It had to be ok...

I REALLY liked this set - it was a lot like many of our swim workouts where it gets progressively harder as you get progressively more tired... but it's SO rewarding when you can get through it. I'm looking forward to the next time I get to try it because I know I'll be stronger and I'll meet the challenge head on.

JC asked how I'm able to motivate myself to do these speed workouts on my own without the pressure of a group. Truthfully, I'm not really sure but I'm not going to question it. It's so rare that something like this motivates me for more. I think right now the biggest motivator is that I can do it, I can get thru it, without pain (ok, without bad pain) and that it just makes me feel like an athlete to be out there. I have this quote in the front of my training log and I think it says a lot about what kind of athlete I'd like to be. It was written in a note from Anson Dorrance, head coach of the UNC Women's Soccer Team and former US National Team Coach to Mia Hamm, one of his UNC players at the time. He spied her from afar at 8 am on a weekend morning running wind sprints alone on the soccer field. I'm not there yet but I will be... I want to be able to answer to myself and I guess for now, this is part of the journey:

"A champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching."

Train hard and stay safe...and HAPPY SOLSTICE!!!


Blogger JC said...

I like the quote. alot.
way to go on the speed work, spence. i give you hardcore mad props for gutting it out when there is no one to kick your ass into it. i apparently need to be a whipping boy, but you... you are an athlete. and thats cool. way to go.

1:20 PM GMT-5

Blogger 'Zilla said...

ditto on JC's comment (weird, those are my initials too!). Love the quote and the fact that you went BACK to finish your workout. Very cool!

1:23 PM GMT-5

Blogger Bolder said...

sorry, i only got as far as Mia Hamm...


1:45 PM GMT-5

Blogger Phil said...

Neat running drills. I think I would probably cheat though and just jog out - how do you safeguard against that. I'm going to steal it and give it a try tomorrow.

1:14 PM GMT-5

Blogger Barb said...

That's some hard work! I could see why having a partner would make it easier to stay motivated! Makes my body hurt just reading about it!

11:06 PM GMT-5


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