Only three miles I did, but the hoopla surrounding it feels like 300. The Slowtwitch guy, Dan Empfield, wrote a series on ³The Aging Athlete², starting out with a seminar on speed. His theory was old guys get slow because they forget how to run fast, forget what it feels like to run at a desired pace. Granted, they canıt max out at the high end heart rates anymore, and are more susceptible to soft tissue/ligamentous/tendon injury, but nonetheless, maybe we just need a dose of speed work to get the old feeling back. So I gave it a try.

He prescribed an eight week program, running a 10k half hard, half easy; alternate intervals run at desired 10K pace, and in between an equal distance interval at whatever pace is needed to accomplish the whole work out. But he cautions to precede it with a thorough warm-up. It goes 8 x 200, 16 x 200, 24 x 200, 12 x 400, 8 x 600, 6 x 800, 4 x 1200, and, finally, 3 x 1600. All at race pace, which for me I thought should be 6:30 minute miles, for a 40 min 10K, or realistically a 41:20 (my goal for the race in ten days). My warm-up was usually 6-7 minute stretch in the sauna, 1-2 miles at an easy pace, the a 2 mile treadmill test, then the intervals. The hardest part about this whole thing was (a) the agonizing boredom of running 24 intervals in week three and (b) the agonizing boredom of running longer and longer distances at a maddeningly slow pace. The worst was the 600s ­ 8 of each. Getting to 6 then 4 and today 3 intervals seemed much more doable ­ maybe it was all the rest in between.

All in all, I did each interval at a pace under the 6:30 goal. The miles (1600s) today were at 6:26.6, 6:26, and 6:21.2. And each was done at a heart rate just below my lactic or anaerobic threshold ­ a rate I know I can hold for a full 10 K, or even most of a half-marathon.

But getting there was a trip. Today was a day off with no call day the night before. I swam in the morning, 2500 meters, a 1500 straight with 2:20 100s. Amazingly slow for me, pure junk miles, but I had to remind myself of the heavy weight 10 hours before, and the key interval workout coming up 5 hours later. So something had to gives, and today it was swimming speed.

Then I couldnıt decide WHERE to run. UPS track? GHHS track? Both outdoors, but require driving. GHAC track? Indoors, still a drive, but that treadmill in the daytime?? So, I compromise ­ run to GHAC (1.8 miles), the run back home afterwards. Shed shirt and leg warmers at club, trade hat for headband, and off I go around the track. On the way home, I had to freeze at the golf course while the road crew dug up the asphalt in preparation for the grand-re-opening of the new freeway entrance at the club.

Then tonight, I had to pack up for the Port Orchard double: leave the house at 6:06, cross the bridge to Ballyıs dressed in bike clothes (will it rain? will it be freezing?) swim 2000m, return to the Purdy park n ride, get out bike and pedal to P.O (then back in the PM). So I have to haul to the car my swim bag, a bike bag with helmet, pants, gloves, overshoes, hood. Also light, though I wonıt need it. Then in the AM eat, dress for biking, remember to put in contacts and take glasses, and leave before the bridge crowd, cause Iıve got to leave the park n ride by 8 AM. What a slog.

The alternative, of course, would be that I went skiing today. Another slog, maybe even worse ­ 1.5 hour drive to mountain, clothes, skis, poles, helmet, boots, hood, Š arrgh!! I need a sport with no hassle that feels fun. Running has little paraphernalia, but hurts like hell; swim, bike, ski ­ all great fun, but a BIG bother to accommodate.

Workout time today: 2 hours 20 minutes; 2500 M swim, 9.2 miles run.

Triathlon Diary   The Night Before