Sometimes it’s nice to be able to report a story of success here at McCarkissElite Project… a heart warming story of guts and determination – fighting against the odds to overcome the impossible. When things are looking down, and the obstacles that line the path ahead seem insurmountable; undergoing that mental battle to say “Yes I can” when everything else seems to be telling you “No you can’t”. Well today I’m proud to write of such an occurrence.
Well… as close as I think we’re ever likely to experience at MCKEP anyway.
The session utilised the venue of Draycote Water since winds were low, this offered a good length of relatively flat road surface and the plan consisted of a circa 2mi warmup, before leaping into 3mi hard, 1mi easy, 2mi hard, 1mi Easy, 1mi Hard, and a circa 2mi cool down jog. The ‘hard’ pace should be lactate threshold pace – which thus far in the schedule had been a target of 5:35/mi… I cannot remember for why, no doubt some extremely scientific reason. Today it was suggested that the pace should be increased to reflect something closer to threshold pace as suggested by Jack Daniels’ “Running Formula” (a thoroughly recommended read) – based on a 5k time from the weekend of 15:56, a pace of 5:32/mi is suggested, so this became the adopted target pace.
Warm-up was stretched out to 2.7mi, before leaping into the first 3mi block, which felt incredibly comfortable to start, with Chris and myself bounding along at only slightly over 5:00/mi pace, we backed off and the pace went down to 5:18/mi, but this felt comfortable so we stuck at it. This perhaps wasn’t the smartest move as the paced dropped slightly in the latter portion of the rep, and staying within the targeted 5:32/mi required a concerted effort. The three miles were completed 5:27/mi (for me anyway) with Chris following only a few seconds later… both of us well under target pace.
It’s at this point I refer to the opening paragraph of battling adversity. “I’ve had it…” exclaimed Chris “I can’t do it – fuck the session – 3 x 1mi for me from here… my legs are fucked” Clearly the opening 3mi had required more effort than expected. We paused momentarily and tried to come up with a multitude of excuses, again citing “cumulative fatigue” as a key factor and I tried to reason that we’d gone off way too hard to start and were well under average pace. As we jogged the easy 1mi few words were exchanged. I could hear the sound of mental warfare taking place in Chris’s mind until 0.8mi in I ask “so… what are you gonna do?… just drop the pace a bit?”. In a rare, but monumental psychological victory Chris replied “Ah fuck it… lets just get it done”. To which end we blasted out the next 2mi at an even faster 5:26/mi, with Chris leading the way. I’m not ashamed to say that on this occasion I’m proud of my training partner – for once he ‘manned the fuck up’, an didn’t adopt his usual ‘keel over and give in’ approach, but not only that but he actually got stuck in and increased the pace. Good work lad!
Chris felt we’d be better to change the route slightly in order to complete the final mile on a lovely flat section of road, avoiding the hills/undulations around the boathouse area. No problems there, except it extended the cool-down by a mile (unbeknown to us at the time). The final 1mi rep was hammered out comfortably at 5:16/mi – a cracking transformation of a session, from what was nearly a DNF to a solid 14mi quality run, with all hard efforts well under target pace, whilst running on tired legs, or with “cumulative fatigue” as the experts now say.
That said, my calves are in pieces as I write this… now where did I put my ibuprofen, protein shake and recovery socks?