Reunited With an Old “Friend”

Two days of 40+ degree temps….who’d have ever thought?  I’d love to believe that spring is around the corner, but have suffered though plenty of sub-freezing track practices in March to know that Valentines Day is not the time to start busting out the bikinis.  I was able to get out to the track yesterday though and get in a good workout, which was a good move because today the trash cans are rolling up the street in some sort of windstorm that has descended on Enola.

Went out to Cumberland Valley yesterday evening with my sights set on either a bunch of 400’s in a test of strength, or the old standby 6×600 set, which is never fun but a necessary evil.  I felt pretty good warming up, and with the temperature relatively balmy and the wind relatively light, I decided to give the 600’s a shot.  1:40.00 is a dream time for a set (summer, pre-world championships), so where I stand now and with the cool temps, figured I would target 35 sec 200 splits (1:45.00) and hope to come in faster.  All in all things worked out pretty much as planned.

1.5 mile warmup, then straight to business.  Again, 6×600 w/ 3:00 easy rest – essentially a walk back to the start line.  #1 is always a wildcard, trying to find the pace and never really being ready for the shock-value of hitting it hard.  Evened it out pretty well, coasted in at 1:43.8.  Tried to remain nice and relaxed on #2, was again under control the whole way and had no problem with 1:43.4.  Times not earth shattering, but right where I was trying to be – the good sign was that things (so far) were coming very easy.  #3 was more of the same – a virtual rerun of the first two, 1:42.7.  Half way done, so far so good.  Started to feel it a little bit on #4, but then it was a little quicker at 1:41.8.   #5 is usually the toughest one so I tried to stay focused, had to raise the effort level significantly but hit each 200m split right at pace and finished in 1:43.0 – going in the opposite direction a bit but no real complaints.  Let myself go a bit in the last 250 or so on #6 (sick of getting passed at the end of these last few races…), cruised in at 1:40.3.

6×600 – Good to be back.  Happy with the times, more pleased with how I felt throughout the workout.  It’s been a long time since I have finished a set of these and not crawled off the track vowing to quit running as soon as I could regain my vision.  Granted, this probably means I could have gone harder, but for what I was trying to accomplish this worked out just about perfectly.  It was a fun, confidence-building set back out on the track, where I had not been in quite a while.  The pool has been a great fill-in for the track while the weather has sucked, but I still think that both are better as complementary workouts instead of stand-alone – kind of like a track yin and yang sort of relationship….

Spin class this morning, pedaled as hard as I could.  Still can’t keep up with the cyborg instructor, but definitely getting my moneys worth.  Had hoped to go out and get some long mileage as well this afternoon, but after driving out to Stoney Creek (without screws in my shoes), the conditions were too slippery.  Genius.  Maybe tomorrow I will read my own blog and come prepared next time.  Would have been a nice place to run due to being pretty sheltered from the wind.  I ended up changing my work schedule to Tues/Wed on the road instead of Thur/Fri, so I bagged todays extra run and will go long tomorrow in San Diego.  As nice as 42 and gale force winds are here in PA (not), I’ll take my chances with the San Diego weather instead.  Phoenix on Wednesday, so I anticipate coming home Thursday morning with two good workouts under my belt.  As for now, time to repack the bag and go bring home some bacon…


About Nick Berra

I am a 45 year old masters runner from Central Pennsylvania. I have been participating primarily in track events since turning 40 in 2009. This season has produced marks that I have not run in several years, I believe primarily due to starting a strength and flexibility program here at Elite Athletic Performance - I've felt stronger and faster than I have in a long time. That, coupled with lots of underwater running, has kept me healthy and fit - at this age those are things I no longer take for granted... I run USATF events with a team out of Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club. They are a great group who have played a big part in making the sport enjoyable for me again. I also run local races for HydroWorx Track Club, supported by HydroWorx here in Harrisburg PA. Their underwater treadmills and training center has proved to be a crucial part of my training, rehabilitation, and recovery programs. I set personal records in the 800m (1:56.06) in 2010 and in the 1500m (4:02:63) and mile (4:23.48) in 2011. Despite the fact that I am not getting any younger, I nearly PR'ed recently and set the M45 indoor world record in the 800 meters at the New Balance Armory in New York City. I ran 1:56.10, besting the 9 year old record by less than a second. I feel like there are still more big things to come... I am married and have two daughters. I am an assistant XC coach at my alma mater, Cumberland Valley High School here in Mechanicsburg PA. I am also a 1991 graduate of the US Naval Academy, currently working as a pilot for FedEx after serving 10 years on active duty flying in the Navy. Beat Army! Beat Army!
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