A very fun (using that word loosely!) training session from the Squadrun program. Choose a Strava segment where you may be able to steal a crown or target a PB. Research the route, know where it starts and stops then buckle up and strap yourself in for the ride as you try to take out the top spot.
Well this morning I had set myself the goal of a local 2k pretty achievable crown. I would only have to run it at my 5k race pace and I should be able to take it out. I was pretty pumped to add a crown to my pretty pitiful Strava profile. But then I slept in…
So I set myself the much harder goal (and in my mind outright impossible) to take on a segment which is part of my regular lunch run route in one of the more popular running areas of Sydney; Pyrmont Wharves. Before today I was 112/268 women in the segment with a time of 12:59. In order to crack top 10 (my ambitious goal set that morning) I would have to knock 2m22s off of a 2.4k segment... Now that’s a minute a kilometre quicker give or take.
I started with a gentle warm up to wake the legs up and was soon filled with doubt as I looked at my pace and it was only around 5:40/km but felt in my mind a lot quicker. Tired legs much! But I persevered and ran most of the segment in reverse, looking for any obstacles and envisaging myself coming back along at lightning speed. I stopped for a drink or water and looped back around to the start of the segment. I walked for a little to reduce my heart rate, slipped into my big girl pants, buckled up and let loose. I pushed the pace hard from the get go, knowing I’d need to be running sub 4:20/kms to get into the top 10. Before this my fastest 1k was 4:11 which was in a 1k sprint session with full recovery. I knew it was going to be tough work. But I kept reminding myself it was only 10-11mins of real hard work and anything is possible for 10 minutes. Each wharf side I faced I just focussed on getting to the end without dropping my pace. There was one small hill that I pumped my arms up and focussed on pushing hard knowing there was a small downhill the other side to recover marginally.
I passed two work colleagues that I usually run with who both gave me extremely concerned (and quizzical) looks as they passed in the opposite direction with a grunt and a head nod from me – no smiles from me today boys! I gave it everything I had and crossed the segment “line” completely spent. I kept the watch going to see how quickly my heart rate would fall below and to prove it was really tough!
I walked the 1k back to work to cool down and then waited anxiously in the changing room for my watch to sync to Strava… I was like a kid at Xmas, I had no idea what it would show, I knew I’d been roughly on pace for top10 but it’s hard on the wharves to know as the pace can jump around a little in the middle. Finally it loaded to reveal that I had actually, somehow, God only knows, that I actually managed to (just) take out the crown ? in 10:02.
I literally jumped for joy in the changing room. Thankfully nobody else was in there. I honestly couldn’t believe that I had taken out the crown on such a challenging route. Moving from number 112 to number 1!!!
Whilst I hated every second of the 2.4k I'm so bloody stoked to have that crown!!! No doubt I’ll lose that crown sooner rather than later given the popularity of the route and the fact I stole it from an insanely strong runner – she did the previous record in 10:05 whilst on a 30k long run with a heart rate of 140 compared to my 192bpm! What a legend. It’s amazing to see runners that strong when I can barely sustain the pace for 2.4k never mind 30k. But for now I shall sit happily on my throne beaming with pride in accomplishing something that this morning I genuinely thought was impossible.
A massive thanks to my Squadrun coaches for a program that continues to make me a stronger runner and is enjoyable and challenging and filled with the highs (and lows) that make running so addictive!
If you want to become an awesome Squaddie check out Squad.Run for more information