Upcoming events –

Napa-Sonoma Half Marathon, July 20, 2014
Noble Canyon 50km Trail, September 20, 2014

Tuesday, August 29, 2000

Report from Couran Cove!

Today was great. I woke up feeling tired and sore. My muscles were still achy and not completely recovered from Saturday's 30K workout here on the island. I knew that I had a real tough track session ahead of me, though, so I put all the fatigue out of my mind and simply thought about walking fast and relaxed. I knew that a positive attitude was the only thing that would get me through.

We got a later start than usual because we had to take a 30 minute ferry ride to the mainland and the brand new "Super Sports Centre". The four of us American walkers and Ecuador's Jefferson Perez were joined by a large support staff that helped by encouraging us, giving us water, and reading us splits.. Andrew, Curt and I, who are competing at the 50 kilometer distance, were faced with the challenge of 5,000 meter intervals, four of them with five minutes of rest in between each. Tim and Jefferson, who are "only" racing 20 kilometers, had 8 x 2k with slightly less rest.

Before every workout that I do, Coach Pena gives each of us a specific goal to focus on during the training session. A few days before we left the US for Australia, I had done a similar speed workout on our Chula Vista Marina 2.5k loop course. My pace had been about 4:30/km or 22:30 for each 5k.

Right before today's workout, coach asked how my legs were feeling and I told him, "Tired. I feel as though I have already done the first three 5ks and this is my last one instead of my first." With that in mind, coach suggested that I walk the same splits I had walked two weeks ago. "You may still be tired from your travels and the hard workout two days ago, but you can do this workout." I replied, "Okay coach, I'll try. I'll do my best." And then, with a chuckle, but sternly, he said, "No, Philip. You don't try, you will do it. You have no choice. Okay, go." (For a second, I thought I was Luke Skywalker listening to Yoda's words of wisdom.) That was when I knew, despite how I felt, that I would have a good workout. Now I just had to go out and see how good it would be.

During the first interval, for the entire 12 1/2 laps around the 400 meter track, I felt the fatigue and soreness creeping in on me. I had to tell myself to relax, let it pass. And it did. Slowly the fatigue and heaviness in my legs lifted like a fog. My legs felt stronger, my movements more coordinated and smoother. It never felt effortless as it does some days, but over the next two intervals I was able to pick up my pace just a little bit.

At one point, Jefferson, who was resting between his 2k intervals, yelled at me, "Just a little bit more, give just a little more," and when I asked my legs if they had more to give, they just went a little faster. My first 5k was 22:44, just getting loose. The second was under coach's goal pace for me, barely, 22:25. By the third I was over halfway and still alive so I figured I'd go a bit faster, 22:08. And on the last one I decided to just go for it and see how much I could take, see how long my tired legs would last at 4:20/km (6:56/mile), and I came through in 21:35. It wasn't a PR, and last year I may have even done 4x5k faster, but it was the best I have done this year and gave me a lot of confidence. Coach asked me, as I was starting my cooldown, "If you can do that when you feel tired, what will you do when you feel great?" Good question. I have another four weeks to get some answers.

That's all for now. We leave the island tomorrow on the 10:30 ferry for the Marriott in town. We've got a bit of a scandal/problem with Jefferson training with our group. The head coach got a bit wacky this evening about not permitting support staff, use of U.S.A. facilities, etc. We may have a bit of a crisis in the next day or two. I'll let you know more.


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