Yesterday, the weather started to take a turn for the worse. The wind picked up, the temperature dropped, and snow started flying (briefly). According to the weather forecast, conditions weren't expected to improve today, so I made the command decision to swap my Tuesday and Wednesday workouts and do some speed work on Tuesday instead in the hopes of getting it done before it either got too cold or too snowy to do it on the high school track. I have yet to run a speed workout indoors (knock on wood) and I really never hope to. The thought of trying to tear around that tiny track at a high rate of speed while also avoiding walkers who seem to enjoy blatantly disregarding the fact that I'm about to run them down because they are taking up the entire damn track just isn't appealing to me.
The weather wasn't exactly ideal for a speed workout yesterday afternoon when I got off of work, but it could have been a lot worse. It was 38 degrees when I started, with the wind blowing 10-20, which means that I was toasty warm, a little too much so, when the wind was at my back and then pretty chilly when it was in my face. I started off with a 3 mile warmup, which ended at the Belle Fourche High School track. This would mark the first speed work I've done since....uh....well, hell I don't know for sure. Maybe sometime last June or July, in between the Fargo and Missoula marathons. Maybe. If not then, then it would be sometime last April, before Fargo, so almost a year ago. A long damn time, in any case. So, I jumped into the first of my six 600m intervals and as I come around the turn at the 300m point I not only get a strong gust of wind in my face (super!), but I see the high school track team filing onto the track. Crap, am I gonna get booted? Well, turns out it wasn't the runners, but the shotputters and they were just throwing their big balls around in the grassy area next to the track so no big deal. The first couple of intervals actually felt alright, the third less so, and the final three not so hot, but my times remained fairly consistent (ranging from 2:14-2:20 per interval, with the slower ones generally coming on the intervals where I ran into the wind twice). At one point, I swear I heard either a shotputter or a track coach say "Nice job, Chris" as I passed them, but I had my ipod on and, honestly, don't know that I am on a first name basis with any shotputters or track coaches. In any case, that's beside the point. I gutted out my sixth interval (with 200m to go I honestly wasn't sure if my legs were going to make it, but they did), walked off the track and ran another 3 miles for cooldown (8:20 pace feels sssssooooo easy after running intervals) for a total of 9.2 miles (well, something like 9.168 if you calculate the distance of the six intervals and five 300m recovery runs in between them, but I'm rounding up because my Excel log is going to round it up anyhow).
Now, I find myself feeling very relaxed with that workout over and done with. Looking at my schedule this morning for the rest of the week, which is a cutback week, I realized that that was by far the toughest workout for the week. Now I can just put it on cruise control and rack up some miles.