Feeling Like a Pro

I spent the last week in Toronto sleeping on an air-mattress, sitting on bamboo floors and eating out of tupperware with one spoon. Glamorous, I know! Moving across the country has its moments… but there is a major upside to this “living like a 17-year-old” adventure – I got a chance to run on the track at York University with Lioudmila “Lucy” Kortchaguina and her husband (and coach) Ilia Kounavine. It was an aspiring runner’s dream come true (sorry Tania, it was super cool getting to run with you too but we were running through a graveyard, jumping over puddles, between client meetings on Bay Street).

After about 10 minutes of easy running to warm-up, we planned out the session: 6 x 1000m @ 4:00 to 4:05 (which translates to about :48 / 200m lap). We stretched a little, chatted a little and then after a couple of increasingly faster laps, we began.

Ilia and Lucy stood on the inside of the track as I ran my heart out around them. Each time I passed Ilia would call out my time. “48 and 5″, “47, good”, “52, speed up” and so on. Between each 1000m set we would walk a lap together and I would get notes on my arm swing (too tight and close to my body), my stride length (short, but I’m not to worry about that yet) and what I would be doing in the months to come leading up to my attempt at a 3:20-ish (and Boston qualifying) marathon in the autumn.

My times were consistent and pleasing to all of us: 1000m @ 3:59:11, 3.58.92, 3.58.89, 3.56.42, 4.00.43, 3.52.87. Ok, I am not ecstatic with my 5th set… but whatever! I felt like a pro. I was living the dream!

After my 6th and final set we took another walk and Ilia told me that Lucy wanted to see how fast I could do 200m. Now? Well… OK! Why the heck not?! We neared the start line and I started to speed up… I ran with all the gusto I could muster = 200m in 36 seconds. I won’t be challenging Usain Bolt to any races (he runs 200m in 19.93 seconds) but I was pretty darn proud.

We cooled down, did some more stretching, chatted a little and called it a night.

I was still vibrating and itching to brag to someone about the experience so I texted Tania. “I think I did well. The Russians are upping my workout next week.” Tania responded with “Sure changes things when you have an audience during training!” Funny. I hadn’t actually thought of that. I was so engrossed in the moment and in trying to learn everything I could that I missed the fact that they were watching me! Ha! I hope I put on a good show.

You want me to run how fast? ok!

Me and my new adizeroboston shoes.♪ Baby it’s cold out there but it’s nice and warm on the track ♫

Ok, so that’s not a song… but it was indeed a lot warmer at the track this morning than it was outside. -46°C with the windchill when I got up at 5:15 to head to the Kinsmen Sport Center here in Edmonton. “Gross” is all I have to say about that.

Anyway, armed with my new Adidas shoes, shorts, socks, shirt and miCoach gear I hit the track this morning for a steady 12km run at 5:00/km. A few weeks ago I would have been intimidated by that type of workout (see Chrystal’s Fear and (or maybe of) Running post) but lately, this has been the norm. Heck, last week Coach Tania had me log 78kms. Yeah, I am pretty chuffed! Prior to this makeover, I severely impressed myself with a 50km week!

Lately my favourite day of the week has become Thursday – that’s the day I do the fun stuff. Last week it was “3 x 3000m @ 4:30/km with a 600m rest”. This week I get to do “5 x 2000m at 4:20/km with a 500m rest”. I have always been a believer in speed training but never to this extent. Pray for me! :) I will let you know how it goes.

Tania Jones!

Yesterday I had the awesome pleasure of not only finding out that I have been shortlisted for the iRun Makeover Content but I got two emails and spoke on the phone with THE Tania Jones (I felt a little like an excited school boy).

We mostly chatted about the contest and how I might fit in if I was to be chosen as a finalist (which I really REALLY hope I do) but she also offered me some great training advice.

I think I am falling into the trap of the over achiever, over enthusiastic, over training marathon runner – I have hopes, dreams, goals and plans that don’t actually support each other… which is fine if “just participating” is your goal but… mine is not. I really have my sights set on qualifying for the Boston Marathon and that means I have to train smart and focused. Coach Jane had spoken to me about this in the past and it made sense then… but for some reason, since that conversation with Jane, I let that idea slide. Hearing it again from Tania made me realize that I was once again falling into that trap.

So this morning, I am off to get to work on some focused speed training and then this afternoon I am going to look at my plans for the season and see how I can streamline it. Woo!

See, even coaches need coaching.