Back at the track

I miss running fast ... but I really don't know what "fast" means anymore. 

I could write a long post about what I haven't done and what I would like to do regarding getting faster, but it would a bunch of rambling nonsense. 

Simply put, I've done very little speed work in the past year. Today is what I hope is just the start of something new as I look to have speed workouts become part of my routine again.  

I visited a track today for the first time in more than two years. I did a simple ladder workout of 100 x 2, 200 x 2, 400 x 2, 200 x 2, and 100 x 2. It was the exact same workout I did two years ago.  

To my surprise, my splits were only a few seconds off what they were then. I thought I'd be much slower. It felt pretty miserable though, so just knocking off 2-3 seconds per split (and doing it consistently) will certainly take time.  

Getting back on the track today knocks off a huge goal of mine, and one of my monthly goals, but now comes the hard part of doing it again. I can't go two years without going back.  

You take the good, you take the bad ...

5K time in my @altrarunning Instincts. #RunChat

A photo posted by David H. (@runningbecause) on

It's really difficult to find the right word or phrase to describe my current state of running. 

Saturday's Stars and Stripes 5K in Howland, Ohio, was, by pure overall timing standards, the worst of the four I've done. I kind of expected that anyway. 

I didn't approach it as a race though. There was no reason to since I'm not an racing shape. It was, however, an opportunity to right some wrongs so I could walk away with some plans to get back to better shape and to be in a better place mentally. 

My overall goal was to turn this into a progressive run -- I haven't done much speedwork in the past few months, so running every mile faster than the last for a 5K seemed like a good basic place to start. 

After accidentally leaving my watch at my in-laws house, my goal became even more challenging ... or did it make my approach better? I've always believed in running by feel rather than what's watch tells me, but it's been so long since I've had that approach. 

At mile 1, the clock read 8:25. It felt slow, but that's a good thing with this approach. At mile 2, the clock read 16:25 (8 minutes for mile 2). At the finish, it was 24:49 (a 7:38 pace for the final 1.1). 

It felt amazing to finish a race strong. It's been way too long since I walked away from an event feeling good about the second half of a race. In the past two years I've started way too many races too fast and end up being mad at myself for a horrible pacing strategy. 

I am, however, disappointed that I was a couple of minutes slower than last year's event and that I've let myself get out of racing shape. I think that a race like this in which I'm ecstatic over one part of it and not so happy about another part is a good thing.

I need the motivation to get back to a level I used to be, so perhaps this is a spark to get to better things. I'll only know by running more and racing again relatively soon ... 

Three Things Thursday: Drumstick Dash lessons

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family. It's been a great one, except for my race performance. I kicked off the day with one of my worst 5Ks ever at the Drumstick Dash in Roanoke, Virginia. After the race, I had a tweet that summed things up well ... 

I came away with a disappointing 26 minutes and change. It was my 4th worst 5K ever. No matter what my approach, that's inexcusable for me, and I'm done with this casualness that I've developed with races this year. I've slipped into this mind-frame before and it never produces anything good. 

Today was motivating, though. I now know that ...

1) ... I really need to work on speed work.

2) ... I need to lose weight to be more comfortable in short a race. 

3) ... I want to race more. 

The biggest highlight for me was running about 3/4 of a mile with my wife as she ran just her second 5K ever. She'll also be running the Surf-n-Santa 5K miler in just a few short weeks!