We started with the usual warmup around a mile. I got to practice right around 6pm, so I didn't have any extra time to warmup. I was hoping to get 3 laps on the track before the group warmup to make it 2 miles, but that didn't happen. I was able to get 1 lap before I noticed that the group was starting to run down the street.
Good thing I turned around when I did or I probably wouldn't have found them. I caught up to the group and we found our way to a water filled sinkhole. It wasn't the big one that made Winter Park famous, but just a little one out by the end of Glenridge. It has hills all around it, which makes for a tough, but good workout. Another added feature of this loop is that it is entirely brick streets, which made me a little nervous the first one.
We stretched and then broke up into 2 groups. Fast and slow. We were doing 4 x 1 km at a pace between mile and 5k pace. Sounds easy, but the hills make that hard to hit. The fast group was trying to hit between 3:45 and 4:10. Our group was aiming for 4:25.
Coach told us that we would get 30 seconds more rest between reps. That only worked on the first one. Everyone started at the same time. Our group then started the next rep 30 seconds after the fast group. I ran exactly 4:25. Perfect. I definitely needed the extra 30 rest.
I ran the second one a hair faster in 4:22. We started 30 seconds after the first group. If we got a 30 second longer rest each time, we would have started a minute after the first group. We actually got the same rest period as the fast group. I didn't notice the discrepancy. I just toed the line when we were told.
I pushed harder on the third one and finished in 4:17. I could start feeling my arms tingling during that one. I was mentally ready to throw in the towel.
Before we started the last one, one of the runners in my group brought up how we were supposed to be around 2 minutes behind by now because of the extra rest. I corrected her and said that we should be one minute and 30 seconds behind the lead group by now. The coach looked at her like she was wimping out and we all toed the line one more time.
I got about half way on this last hill rep and gave up on one of the short flat portions. I figured someone was going to pass me since I took the lead on this one. A few seconds passed as I slowed down and I couldn't hear breathing or footsteps, so I lifted my head back up and started pushing up the next hill. That hurt and I was panting pretty hard. I remembered my lessons of looking 20 feet ahead and keep running. Keep the legs and arms moving. Don't exaggerate the swinging or the leg lift. Just run. So I did.
When I came around the last 200 meters, I felt the cramping pain in my diaphragm like I had on my last 440 on Tuesday. I used to run through this pain in high school all the time. I hadn't felt it in years, so it felt new. Well, since my painful friend reacquainted itself with me, I knew what to expect. No breathing. I only had to go 200 meters like this. That should be less than a minute, so it will be like holding your breath. I pushed down an easy slope and then pushed up the last 50 meter hill portion to the finish. I hit 4:30. I missed my mark by 5 seconds, but I finished.
I was hyperventilating and went straight to the ground in someone's yard. I laid down for about 30 seconds until I could catch my breath. A fellow runner helped me up and told me to lift my arms above my head. Those were the same words that echoed in my head at the end of every cross country race in high school. My coach was always telling me to get up and keep moving. Lift your arms. Breathe. So simple, but your brain just freezes up when you give everything you've got and you feel like you can't... just breathe.
It hurt really bad, but this was a great workout. I hate to be overdramatic, but I felt alive like I haven't in a long time.