Emerald City Opener
It has been one week since I returned to the track for my first race since the Pan Am Games. After a long base period I chose to lace up the spikes in the 3000m at UW’s Husky Classic, and I’m very satisfied with the way it went for a season opener. After some debate with Drew about how to approach the winter racing season, we ended up agreeing that despite the fact that I love to race, the best course was to keep my sights focused primarily on training with a view on the big picture of the outdoor season and Olympic Trials. With that in mind, we decided to come up for air only one time and race an indoor 3k at Dempsey, mostly to get a measure of fitness and to break up the training.
Over the course of the winter, even though virtually all my workouts have been strength-related and off the track, I have spent a lot of time thinking about aspects that I need to work on in order to become a more effective track racer. Historically I am terrible about exercising patience, sitting tight on the rail in a pack, and I tend to spend a lot of time in lanes 2 and 3 during packed races. Drew and I had agreed that I would make a point of finding my way to lane 1 and staying there for at least a mile at Dempsey. As far as strategy was concerned, I definitely wanted to run to win, either by sitting and kicking or by biding my time and then moving with three laps to go. The entire field came through 1k much slower than I had hoped, and I got antsy when faced with the decision of what to do next. I ended up opting to move a lot earlier than I was supposed to, but I felt like it was a calculated risk rather than one made simply on impulse. From that point on I tried to balance squeezing the pace down while staying within myself since I was doing work a bit before I had planned. I wanted to have something in the tank to cover a move if someone tried to pass me or made a surge late in the race. When all was said and done, I was able to meet my goal and sneak under 9:00 for the first time in my life. Going into the race I had estimated my fitness to be somewhere in the 8:55-9:00 range, so I was happy to have that affirmed in my only track race of the winter.
Saturday evening I enjoyed dinner in Seattle and some time with coaching and running friends. I went for a beautiful Sunday run in Seattle, from the arboretum to Green Lake, via Ravenna Park. This week, following the race, I have begun a hill phase as I transition from base work and prepare for an upcoming altitude stint. Thus far I have had a very hilly long run at home in Santa Rosa on Wednesday and two great hill workouts this week. Racing last weekend was a little bit of a tease. It got me very excited for the track season, but now I have to put my head back down and keep laying down work for several weeks before racing again in April. Luckily, my trip to Mexico to train at altitude will provide a change of scenery and some great training partners for the month of March. Be sure to check back for updates on that trip in a couple of weeks.