No not on the trail (at least not today!) Rather I'm alluding to the very difficult workout I've got coming up on Wednesday. First a little background info -
Anybody remember the Cub Scouts?? It was the precursor to the Boy Scouts for I believe 11 and 12 year olds. Although I never went on to be a Boy Scout (no shocker there!) I did spend those 2-years in the Cub Scouts. What I remember most about the Cubbies (aside from making and racing the wooden cars to see whose car could get down the ramp the fastest) was our little award system. Towards the end of the first year, if you completed all of the requirements you got your first big badge - the Bobcat badge!! Mom would sew that puppy on your little scout uniform and you wore it proudly. Sometime during the second year you became eligible for the second and more prestigious award - the Wolf badge. (which was sewn right next to the Bobcat on the uni) And then at the end of the 2-year deal, you could obtain the single greatest award a Cubbie could receive, yes the incomparable Bear Badge! (think Congressional Medal of Honor for 12-year olds)
Tomorrow is another Threshold day at the track. Two weeks ago it was 3 x 1-mile w/ 1-minute breaks. Last week was a 3-mile Tempo Run. This week it's 2-mile repeats w/ 2-minute breaks. This workout demonstrates the real value of Cruise Intervals - volume. Tempo Runs are meant to be about 20-minutes in length. Anything longer than that, and you're supposed to slow the pace down a bit. For example - according to the Daniels book, if I run a Tempo for 25-minutes I'm supposed to slow down my overall pace 5-seconds/mile compared to the original T-pace. If I run a 30-min Tempo, I should slow down about 8-seconds per mile compared to T-pace. Not so w/ Cruise Intervals. Here, regardless of how many miles I'm running, all of them are at the original T-pace.
So this workout coming up 3 x 2-mile gives SIX miles at T-pace. Yes I get the two 2-minute breaks, but we're talking DOUBLE the volume of the previous workouts w/ no let up in pace.
And that brings me back to the Cub Scout reference. Typically the first 2-miles of this workout are tough, but OK. Then the 2-minute break comes - after that the third mile is usually OK as you're just coming off the rest. But Mile #4 starts to get tough towards the end because the total volume is more than what's been done before. I call this mile the "Bobcat Mile". The first mile that goes beyond what's typically done for Threshold pace (unless your T-runs are run @ 5:00 pace or better!) Although the back half of this mile is usually pretty tough, you do have the next break to look forward to so getting thru this mile is usually doable.
The second break just never seems long enough, and before you know it you're back out there. Unlike Mile #3, Mile #5 is not comfortable in the least. The benefits of the short rest usually fade within 400-600 meters and then it's very difficult. Knowing you still have 7-laps or so to go just makes matters worse. As you might expect - I call Mile #5 the "Wolf Mile", the next step beyond the comfort zone and the next level of pain. . . . and that leads to Mile #6 which is just a Bear. Tough to put into words how much this mile sucks. Legs hurt, can't breathe, everything is in slow motion, and you're thinking of anything you can to get your mind off of the sheer hell even if it's just for 5-seconds. Anything to get you through.
Should you make it through this torture chamber, the confidence gained is immeasurable. (I mean, you're running almost a 10k @ something only slightly slower than 5k pace w/o any race day adrenaline - that'll do wonders for your confidence!)
However, this workout is so challenging for me that my first time thru I do not expect to get thru all 6-miles. For tomorrow, I'll be satisfied w/ anything longer than 4-miles. If I run a 2 x 2-mile and then say just a 1000m, that's OK. It's still over 50% more volume than the previous workouts. Should I get 5-miles in, I'll be very happy. I don't expect to even begin the "Bear Mile" tomorrow. And again, this is fine - this workout is on the schedule again in 3-weeks. If I get at least 4-miles + 1000m in tomorrow, I'll attempt to finish all 6-miles next time around.
No matter how much volume I get in tomorrow, I know one thing for sure - this will be the toughest workout I've done in a long long time. Wish me luck!
9/22: No running, Lifting (Upper-A, abs, legs) + deadlift and squat
9/23: AM 4-miles @ 7:54
PM 5-miles @ 7:24 HR - 149