Thursday, December 22, 2011

Coach Hubby

My husband has been feeling a little under the weather the last few days but yesterday he decided it was time to get out and breathe some fresh air.

Even though the man smoked me in the final yards of last year's Turkey Chase, he hasn't run for any extended distance in a long while.  He has however been getting up almost every morning to work out on the elliptical, finding it increasingly harder to ramp up his heart rate.  He figured it was the right time to test out his legs on real ground so we went up to Monte Sano for a cruise around the South Trail.  His plan was to run a little, walk a little and just take it nice and easy.

I was a little nervous because he is quite a bit faster than I am.  I was certain I could take him in the long run, but I wanted to stay with him the whole time.  If he decided to have some sprint intervals I might actually be in trouble trying to hang on to him.  My fears were allayed when we started jogging at a nice, easy pace.  After about a mile he decided it was time for a little break so we walked for about half a mile then started jogging again.

I was following him at a nice easy pace when I started to realize he was pulling away just a bit.  My first thought was that he was just taking some longer strides to get over some obstacles...but I quickly saw that was not the case and had to push myself to stay with him.  I had to remind myself he wouldn't hold this faster speed for long and was relieved when he started walking again.

After another half mile break we reached the gravel road section of the trail.  He said he wanted to kick things up a notch or two and have a short, fast interval.  He told me to start running and then pick up as fast as I could go up to a certain spot (maybe 100 yards).  I knew what was about to happen...he was going to blow by me like I was standing still...and I was okay with that, but I wasn't going to go down without a fight.  I started running and picked up just as fast as my legs would go.  He said, "THAT'S GREAT DANA!!!  THAT'S REALLY GOOD...NOW FIND THAT NEXT GEAR!!!"  ...and then he blew by me like I was standing still!!

Uhm....for the record, that was my highest gear!  I felt very discouraged because it felt like I was going SLOW.  It felt like I was going at maybe an 8:15ish pace, but that was seriously as fast as my legs would turn over.  I told myself it was because I just ran a marathon a week and a half ago...but that didn't really help much.  We walked a little and then jogged a little until we got out to the road.

As I was telling my sweet husband how much I was enjoying our run together...the man started talking smack.  Knowing how competitive I am he was saying how he was going to beat me back to the car and how there was nothing I could do about it.  I told him there was NO WAY he would beat me if I was willing to leave him right then because there was NO WAY he could hang with me the whole distance.  And then he said it... "you THINK so, huh??"  Really??  You're going to challenge me on what I consider my home turf??  I run that route ALL THE TIME.  I even tried to tell him it was father to the car than what he thought it was.  You know what he did??  He LAUGHED at me!!

So I did what any loving, sweet, kind and humble wife would do in my situation...I took off running!!  I picked up to a pace I thought I could hold the whole way (about a quarter of a mile).  I started getting worried because he was right with me for longer than I expected.  I didn't want to speed up too much because I didn't want to peter out and let him pass me, but I wasn't willing to ease up either.  The man actually even started saying he was having a heart attack.  (For the record, I knew he was joking, but it really did almost work.)  He even tried telling me, "Okay, you win, I give up."  (For the record, I knew he was trying to get me to stop so he could blow by me and win.  That almost worked, too.)  I kept going until I got almost to the very end.  I couldn't hear him anymore so I turned around.  He was walking.  (For the record I did start to go back to him so we could walk it in together...that almost worked, too, but when I realized it was a TRAP I turned back around and pushed it in to the "finish" line.)

I felt like I had achieved a decent pace (maybe 8:00 with a finish around 7:00)...and it felt great.  When I got home and uploaded my Garmin data (I didn't look at the whole time we were running)...I found out I was wrong then and had been wrong about my earlier pace.

At the end of that second running interval, when I felt like Dwayne was speeding up and I had to push to catch him...I sped up to a pace of about 7:20 (for a very short distance).  In the little sprint we did (when he flew by me)...I was running at about a 5:00 pace (again, a very short distance).  In that last little stretch until I turned around (about a quarter of a mile) I was running at an average of about a 6:45 pace, and then kicked it even faster in the sprint to the "finish line".

As Coach E sometimes says, data or it didn't happen:

Now, I'm very aware Garmin pacing can be off...but I know what it usually looks like in those sections for me and this was the fastest I have EVER finished that course.  Sure, I wasn't running hard the whole time, but it's still very encouraging to me, and I'm THRILLED.  (Best pace of the run:  4:55!!  ...sure it was all of maybe 20 feet, but I'll take it!) 

If you have noticed, my fastest pace ever was 4:19, and that was when I was racing my husband.  I'll sure be glad when he's running for real because when that happens, you'll see me on the podium a lot more often!!  I say it all the time, but I'll say it again here...he makes me a better me in so many ways.

Thanks for stopping in...come again soon!


  1. "Mr Blue Sky"... perfect song for this AM. I really envy those like your husband who can just go out and run fast without training. Great run Dana and fast even for short distances helps us run faster in races.

  2. Sounds like fun - running fast and with your husband, too!


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