Faster, Pussycat!

Ah, speed work Wednesdays! The tough yet delicious meat in a long run sandwich.

I almost didn’t run this morning. I can’t tell if I have seasonal allergies or I’m coming down with something. I don’t feel SICK, just a bit OFF. I also haven’t slept much the last two nights, and my right hamstring is a little tight. So naturally I decided I was fine and headed out toward the high school track.

It’s only a 12-minute easy jog away, so I don’t bother driving. I need to warm up anyway. I got there nice and early, well before sunrise.


A nice change from last summer when I would get there a couple hours later in the morning and have to deal with being in the sun the whole time, and… [shudder]… freckling. Nothing worse than being over 40 and KNOWING you’re freckling. I’m going to write a horror movie aimed toward the middle-aged female demographic and call it The Freckling. Nobody steal that idea. It is a very good idea.

I like this track. It’s well-maintained and the school is my alma mater – it’s fun and weird to be 43 years old and running around the same track I ran around when I was 15, running past the bleachers I sat on during football games in my super sexy marching band outfit holding my clarinet, or, as a senior and drum major, a whistle. Strange to think that every single student who attends the school now wasn’t even close to being born when I went there. Their parents were probably students when I was. Sometimes I forget that normal people my age have teenagers.


My highest career achievement: high school marching band drum major

There was no one else at the track yet, which was cool – even the construction workers who have been building the new bleachers hadn’t arrived. Here is a big rock right outside the track with a painting of a tiger on it. (The mascot is a tiger, although we used to chant “Northport Pussycats, ooh ah” at football games, being that “pussycat” is a better word for a chant.)


Because I felt a little off this morning, I only did six 1/10th miles fast, intercut with easy 1/10ths. It wasn’t a lot, but it was all I could muster today.

I was shocked when I started hearing the voice feedback for my fast paces: 6:16, 6:48, 7:03, 6:55, 6:23, 7:10. On the whole, faster than last week. All separated by easy paces between 9:00 and 10:30.

Now, I’m going by my phone’s GPS, which I know isn’t the most accurate tracking device. In fact, this is what the course looks like on mapmyrun:


It’s wonky, clearly recording paces faster than I’m actually doing. Still, I used the same phone GPS last week when all my fast paces fell between 7:00 and 7:30. It seems crazy to suddenly be doing sub 7:00s only a week later. I wonder if the 5K last weekend changed anything. Is that possible? It might be, as the 5K I ran in July made me suddenly start running faster as soon as the following day. Maybe every time I run a 5K I am immediately a faster runner. Maybe that’s just a thing and I never knew it was a thing.


Trying to be more creative with these

My short term goal right now is to run a sub 8:00 pace 5K. There was a time not too long ago when this felt utterly impossible. I mean, I’m nowhere near able to run a sub 7:00 5K – but one thing at a time. I ran an 8:34 5K in July, then an 8:12 5K last weekend. I think I can do this. Soon. I hope. Or later. Sooner or later. Either one.

Go Tigers! Also, being in marching band is cool! YES IT IS.


3 thoughts on “Faster, Pussycat!

  1. I don’t think a single race would change your body enough to speed up that much, but it can easily change your mind. Once you start thinking you can run a certain pace, all of the sudden you just are running that pace. You will also just get faster as we get deeper into the fall/winter. Less heat an humidity will make you a lot faster because you aren’t wasting a ton of energy trying to stay cool. My fall/winter paces are usually like 30s to a minute faster than my summer paces in most races.


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