August 07, 2009


Last night I attempted my 4th (and wishing it was my final) TEMPO run. For you non-runners still following my blog, a tempo run consists of a short mile warm-up, followed by varying distances of intense pain and agony, followed by a short mile cool-down.

They stink.

They suck.

They are so hard to do.

Yet, it's what RC (and every other good runner) prescribe in order to become leaner and meaner. Or at the very least, just faster.

My pain and agony has increased to 5k TEMPO runs. According to my handy-dandy documentation, I am supposed to be running them at an 8:20 pace, or so. Over the last 3 I've gotten that time down to a 7:55 pace. 7:55 also happens to be my race pace. According to RC, that is nearly impossible to run your race pace for a TEMPO run. Yet, I do the impossible...week in and week out. In other words, I guess I should be running my races faster.

Like a whole minute faster.

But I think that's just down right crazy talk.

Until last night.

A harmless TEMPO run. I went into it with the same bad attitude I have every time I'm supposed to complete one of these. The day leading up to the run usually has me hoping and praying for alot of weird things: I hope that I'll trip during one of my daily errands and end up with a twisted ankle. I pray that it will be lightening at said TEMPO run time. I send voodoo messages to whoever in their sadistic mind invented the TEMPO run. I just want something to happen so that I cannot run a TEMPO. Last night was no exception, and as usual nothing happened that help me postpone the run.

I met Turbo-Tim at the track. He was already warmed up and ready for his he went. I plugged around for a mile or so at a cool 9 minute pace. Stopped for some dynamic stretching, water, ipod check...and off I went. Mile one was a breeze. Kept a 7:49 pace...even getting down to the 7:30's for a bit before slowing myself down. It was just e-a-s-y.

Mile 2 and the brain starts reminding me that last week I wanted to puke around mile 2. It kept telling me to can't do this...why bother...who do you think you are. After about 30 seconds of that, I regained control over my brain...telling it to shut the @#$% up and just go. At least make it to 2.5 miles and then we'll start talking about stopping.

So, I just ran. Approaching the 2.5 mile mark I was clear what my brain wanted...TO STOP.

But, something all of a sudden came over me. I started rationalizing with myself...telling myself all the reasons to NOT stop. That I wouldn't STOP in a race...that I wouldn't sabotage all this hard work...that maybe, just maybe, one day these will actually be fun.

And I just kept going.

Now, don't get me wrong. I still wanted to lay on the pavement and die. But that was just it! I KNEW I wasn't going to die. I KNEW I would finish and have the great reward of knowing that I had finished what I started.

Approaching mile 3, I decided to bag the last .11 miles of the 5k. I had made it this far without stopping...I could reward myself with skipping that last part of the run. I switched my Garmin over from half mile splits to see my overall pace. In my mind, I thought "if I'm at an overall pace of 7:55 I can stop."

I was shocked when my overall pace said "7:51"!

What? How did I do that? Why am I running so fast? Can I do this all the time?

And then...just then...I decided...what would happen if I just finished the entire 5k?

24:21 is what would (and did) happen. A race PR on a TEMPO run. And an overall pace of 7:49, shaving 2 seconds off of my pace in the last minutes of the run.

Who does that? Who runs a RACE PR in a TEMPO run? Who-does-that?

The Grasshopper does. That's who.

Saturday brings a 5k and I'm shooting for the stars! Or at the very least a super-duper PR!

Have a great weekend!


GeorgiaSnail said...

In a race setting you can totally go sub 24:00...GL this weekend!

charlie said...

It is so much fun seeing you improve then plateau, only to then break through and start your way up to that next level! It's inspiring.

Anne said...

Sounds like you and the tempo are now one. Nice job.