This was Ramon's description for Tuesday night's workout:
ADVANCE WORKOUT The Course: 6 Mile loop. Whole loop of the park. Run East to West. The Workout: From East 72nd street warm up to East 90th street.There you’ll start your1st Pick up from the East 90th to 102nd street transverse. This should be done at about 10k effort. From East 102nd recover easy to the traffic light at 110th street, north end most part of the park (bottom of Harlem hill) then start your2nd pick up, this one goes from 110 to West 102nd street (west side of transverse) you are going to run this one at faster than 5k pace. Meaning you are going to push the uphill as well as the downhill, breathing gets hard from the get go. From W102 recover to Weast 90th street (long recovery, same as last week) at W90th start you3rd pick up, this goes from West 90th to West 64th street (about 1.2 mile). This should be done at 10k effort, hard but in control. From west 64nd street recover to 59th street and 7th avenue entrance of the park (note that this is short recovery, that’s why you need to control the previous pick-up) then you Start 4th pick up from 59th 7th avenue all the way to the finish at your meeting spot at East 72nd street. This is a spend whatever you have left kind of pick up. Basically if you feel strong push it, if you feel like crap, survive it.Be aware that I say 5k and 10k effort, not speed, today is going to be hot and your pace will not be as fast as you could run under better weather conditions. So, concentrate in putting the effort, as long as you put the effort you are getting the benefit of the workout.
To me, this seemed much better than last week. A workout without recovery scares me, and I thought these recovery stations would be just what I needed. Unfortunately, I did not push as hard as I could during the pick ups. My first 10K pace felt really good (up to 102nd) because I was keeping up with a group of runners doing an "Indian Run" right next to me (you line up while running, and the person in the back has to sprint to get to the front of the line. I used to do this with my friends at boarding school when I was not a runner. It was not as fun back then :-) ) My 5K pace up Harlem Hill was a little brutal. When one of our coaches, Pete, caught up to me, I got faster for a few seconds, but quickly lost my momentum. The rest of the run was discouraging, because I knew I could push harder than I did, but mentally I didn't feel I had the motivation. The worst part was, when I finished and met the advanced group at the end to stretch, I was one of the very last people in, yet I didn't even feel that tired. It's as if my legs wouldn't move because of the pressure and fear my body put on them.
After practice, I watched the Bach concert (conveniently located in the 72nd st. mall) until intermission. As I was leaving, the last remaining coaches were packing up and walking to the westside, so I joined them. Among them was Coach Ramon, head coach for the NYC chapter of TNT. (He is the amazing and crazy man who decided to run 42 upper loops on his birthday) I asked him how he was doing, and he said something along the lines of "not so well, my runs have not been going as well as I have hoped mentally." Turns out we are having the same problem (on a slightly different scale..). On our walk to the westside, he advised me on the importance of doing the work, and the other stuff will come later. He reminded me of how good my run was in Disney, because I was just running it to run, and I didn't have any pre-existing expectations of time goals. Now, I expect myself to be faster and want faster times, and this is putting pressure on my body and I am not able to run well. Basically, I have to forget about trying to improve my time goals and just run. If I do what he says, and put the miles in, it will come naturally. This talk made me feel a lot better :-)
Speed aside, I hope this pressure comes off soon. The fear my body goes through before a hard run or intense hill is really uncomfortable and scary. My body feels like jello sometimes. I have to keep remembering ITS JUST RUNNING!!