This morning it was 55 degrees at 5:30am! It was like heaven! I wore shorts and a long sleeved t-shirt to practice and no gloves or hat! My legs felt so free and uninhibited without the constricting tights stretching down to my ankles. I felt like I had a wider range of motion and so much more freedom of movement. It was nice to remember that one day it will be warm again and I will wear shorts every day. :)
On Wednesdays, we do fartlek runs at the Progress House. This has been going on for some months now and has been met with varying degrees of resistance. Keith has always flat out refused to do the fartleks. So a "non-fartlek" group was born on Wednesdays to accommodate those who eschew the intermittent sprinting. We tried having a really fast pace group and a medium pace group for a while and the fartlek workout varied significantly between those groups. Slowly but surely, almost all of the fartlekers migrated to the medium pace group. This morning was another nail in the coffin for the fartlek workouts. As we split up into our groups we discovered that only seven runners were going to be doing fartleks. We had lost Shane and Laurence to the non-fartlek group, and they didn't seem to be looking back.
As our small but fierce fartlek group headed toward downtown, we wondered aloud about the loss of more members of our group. This led to the gradual realization that none of us really wanted to do fartleks. Except Coach Joe. Who I suspect just felt like he had to "want" to do them because he's the coach. So Coach Joe said, "Fine. We can do something else. Make a suggestion." Oh. Hm. Finally someone suggested we could run some sort of hill workout to mix it up. Which amused me. Because I know for a fact that there is not a hill to be had in downtown Indianapolis. So I said "Not unless you count the stairs at the War Memorial as a hill." Chuckle. Hm. And Coach Joe latched right on to that idea.
So we warmed up on our way over to the War Memorial. And then we all stopped at the bottom of it and caught our breath as we looked up the tiers of stairs. It didn't look so bad. Coach Joe announced that we would run up the stairs, run back down, rest for 30 seconds and repeat. Ten times. And up we went. Every single time, from the first trip up the stairs to the last, I got tired right before the last tier of stairs. It was like an invisible fence that I ran through and dragged up the last flight every time. Other than that it wasn't really all that bad. I mean, yeah, my hamstrings were on fire. And I was out of breath. And I could tell that my knees were going to hurt all afternoon at my desk. But it wasn't that bad. And I preferred it to the fartleks. Maybe just because it was something different.
(This isn't us on the stairs, and it wasn't daylight when we were there...
but this shows how many stairs there are!)
The seven of us finished our ten sets of stairs and all high-fived each other as we picked up our long-sleeved t-shirts off the ground and started heading back toward the Progress House. My legs felt a little jello-y on the way back. And it felt good. I talked with Coach Joe about the value of doing something different and he thought that maybe it was time to mix it up a little. He thought that maybe we'll replace "fartlek Wednesday" with "mix-it-up Wednesday." And maybe we could have different people decide what the mix-it-up workout was going to be on different weeks. We'll see what ends up happening with all of this, but I certainly appreciated mixing it up. I've been feeling very stale in my training lately, and I could use some more variety to keep me interested.