And So It Begins…Again

Allen chases an older guy and a younger girl up the final stretch during the Great Harvest Bread Company 5K.


The last few posts of this blog have merely been race recaps.  Boring.  Let’s mix it up today.

But first, I’ll give a quick, abridged recap of the Great Harvest Bread Company 5K .  Basically, it reads much like any of my recent 5K races.  I chased Kevin, and lost to him.  I passed Dexter, and beat him.  I plan to get Kevin soon.  Dexter plans to get me (and Kevin) soon.  For now, I owe Kevin a beer.  I finished in 19:37, a Master’s PR, good enough to earn second place in my age group and a Great Harvest Bread Company apron.  I’ll take it.

Now, the other, more interesting news – I officially started my 20-week marathon training program this week.  The first workout felt like a beast and I thought to myself, ‘Uh-oh.  This might be a long 20 weeks.’  Luckily, my friend and marathon racing partner, Dean joined me.  He is officially back from injury and getting faster every day.  I hope he’ll be available to run with me for many of the hard workouts of this plan, written by arguably Charlotte’s best coach, Mark Hadley.  Mark’s designed marathon training plans for several of my fellow Charlotte Running Club members,  including some of the area’s best runners:  Jay Holder, Aaron Linz, and Caitlin Chrisman.  Aaron’s dubbed us ‘The Hadley Project’.

My first workout as a member of the Hadley Project?  A lactate threshold workout:  3 x 10 minutes with 2-minute jog recoveries.  It felt much tougher than it looked on paper.  I figured my goal pace, based on Mark’s formulas, which came out to right at 6:40 – 6:50/mile pace.  I forgot to factor in the heat and humidity (even though Mark, or as I like to refer to him, Coach Hadley, had recently emailed us calculations to use to factor in heat when determining the workout pace).   I locked into about 6:45 pace, with Dean following closely, and hung on for dear life for 10 minutes at a time.  The 2 minutes of jog recovery seemed to go by faster than any other 2 minutes in history. 

I felt fine, even solid, during the core of the workout, but afterwards, when Dean and I were jogging our cool-down, I felt like death.  By the time we reached ‘Mt. Michelin’, even jogging 9:00/mile pace seemed like too much.  I stopped and walked up the hill – the first time I’ve done that since before last year’s Blue Ridge Relay in September.  But to borrow an old saying, ‘Better a live dog than a dead lion’. 

Dean saved my life when we made our way back to the Red Robin parking lot – he shared some water and half a protein bar.  Without these, I think I may have slipped into a coma on the way home.  That night, even after downing 3 or 4 glasses of caffeine-laden iced tea, I slept like a rock.  Even Emmit’s (our Boston Terrier) incessant snoring failed to awaken me.

I was proud of successfully completing the tough workout until I got home and read Kevin’s Facebook status, ‘…ran 4.2 mile tempo  @ 6:30 pace’.  Damn!   Even during workouts, Kevin has to one-up me!  =) 

The legs were a little beat up the day after this first marathon workout (and after all, the Great Harvest Bread Company was only a few days earlier).  I ran an uber-easy recovery run the next day and have another easy run scheduled today.  Tomorrow, it’s back to the ‘fast’ stuff.  

Only 19+ weeks to go…


6 Responses to “And So It Begins…Again”

  1. Mark Says:

    Great stuff Allen, and you are too kind to me. But great job on your first quality workout of the cycle…. it’s all down hill from here. :-p

    Next time remember to adjust for the heat and you maybe even able jog those hills on the cool-down. (LOL).

    Seriously though, GREAT JOB at the race Satruday. I am excited about watching what you (and other members of the “Hadley Project”) can do this summer and fall.

    Coach Hadley

  2. Cool Down Runner Says:

    Mark will have you top shape this fall. We will all be watching you run off into the sunset.

  3. Scott Says:

    Allen: Congrats on the new schedule? For which marathon are you training?

  4. Allen Strickland Says:

    Hey Scott,
    Towpath. Check it out:

  5. Bill Says:

    Good write up. I am looking forward to reading the journey as you head towards Towpath.

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