First off, I want to take my usual notes about my latest running workout. That's the Pace... or lack thereof.
Tuesday's workout was 400 repeats. 3 sets. 4 reps in the first with 1:15 recovery. 2 minute rest. 3 reps in the second set with 1:00 recovery. 2 minute rest. 2 reps in the third set with 45 second recovery between them.
That sounded like a piece of cake. Of special note, I have dropped 5 pounds since last week. I went from 180 to 175 and I think I was feeling lighter out there on the track. That's good and bad. The good is the benefit of feeling lighter and therefore being able to run just a little faster. The bad was that speed and not being able to reign it in and stay under control at the beginning of the workout.
Coach Nate wanted us to run these 400's at mile pace. That's around 6:07 for me, so that makes my quarter time around 1:32. How did I do? This dumb-ass decided to run 400's at 5:20 pace. I took the lead out the gate. I ran the first 3 reps in 1:18-1:20 each. By the last stretch of the 3rd rep, my arms and legs were tingling. I don't know exactly what that is scientifically, but that is usually a sign to me that I am running too fast and won't be able to keep it up much longer. The 4th rep was 1:28. Much slower than the other 3, but still under my goal speed.
Set number 2. That was just brutal. My legs were now connected to cement shoes. My arms had no drive and I was panting after 100 meters. I wanted to give up. I have no idea what my times were and I don't even care. I ran them. They were definitely over 1:30 and probably close 1:35/1:37.
That last set of 2 reps should have been really easy. The first one of those hurt like crazy and I could only plod my legs forward and just think each stride was a couple feet closer to the finish line. I don't know what my time was. The very last 400 was hard, but knowing it was my last one made it easier mentally. I ran that in 1:28, so not only did it feel good to finish, but I also made my goal time.
This workout was tough, but it felt really good to run that fast. Some of the guys in my group were complementing me for my efforts. That was definitely for the first 3 reps, since they all beat me on the rest of the runs. What's really mind blowing is that my fast reps were just slightly better than my coach's pace for a 10k last Saturday. I could keep up with him for a quarter mile, maybe a half mile of a 6 mile race. That's probably how he feels about the Kenyans, though.
Here's the Pulse and the Pressure.
I've been taking my blood pressure and pulse at the local grocery store lately. I know I need more data to get a better assessment, but my blood pressure seems to have been going down and I think it is attributed to eating better in general the past month or two.
2 weeks ago (drove to the store midday before eating and exercise):
135/80, p=39 (that BP is considered in the High Normal range)
An hour after eating and drove to the store on 4/3/2011:
129/73, p=52 (BP is Normal, but my pulse was much higher yet still considered Normal.)
An hour after hard workout (above) and a mile bike ride to the store on 4/5/2011:
118/80, p=62 (BP systolic is Normal, but distolic is High Normal. Pulse is high, but I just got off a bike.)
When I was in high school, I used to check my blood pressure at least once per week since we had a kit at home. I consistently was 110/70, which is considered either Low Normal or Athletic. I was definitely of the Athletic variety. I hope to get it close to that again one day.
Most people only talk about how fast they run, but c'mon, a lot of us run, because it is a good way to exercise in hopes of living longer. This just happens to be a sport or exercise that you can do by yourself or in a group and you can see measurable results by the amount of work you put forth. And the skill level is relatively low. Even little kids can put one foot in front of the other and repeat. The 2 most common measurable results which you hear about and acknowledge are times (hopefully going down) and weight (also hopefully going down.) I want people to take notice that your weight is not the only vital sign that can improve with running. Blood pressure and pulse are also very important and definitely measurable. There are numerous factors that can change your BP, though, and they can be time from last food intake, time from recent exercise, time of day. That is why I have left notes on whether I drove or rode a bike to the store and whether I just ate. There may be other factors as well, but perhaps a doctor or nurse can explain that better. I am neither, but I hope this gets at least one more person thinking and perhaps, looking forward to their next doctor's visit.