Friday, September 21, 2012

1200 Repeats YPG

"You got this one, Brady?"


The past three minutes of active recovery have barely managed to bring my heart rate under control. I approach the line, glancing down at my watch to ensure it's been reset from the previous interval. My thumb drifts over the stop/start button as I look over my shoulder to see if the others are ready.

It's go time. I flick the start button with a few quick kicks to launch off the line.

The legs feel great. There's snap in them as they turn over quickly, almost effortlessly. Arms tucked in and pumping. Chest up, shoulders back, head in alignment. There's a little bit of headwind as we round the first corner. Stride lengthens imperceptibly into the straight away.

We breeze through the 200m mark. I check the watch: 39 seconds. A good start.

Tail wind on the second half of the first of three turns around the track. Heart rate trending upward.

The second checkpoint comes at 400 meters: 78 seconds. Right on the mark.  One lap down, two to go.

The middle 400 meters of 1200m repeats requires the most courage. With a rate of perceived exertion already 17 of 20, and two laps remaining, I'll need that courage.

The distance ahead burdens the mind. My inner voice speaks up: fortitude.

The 600m checkpoint comes and goes.  1 minute 57 seconds. Solid.

Breathing has become shallow and rapid. Heart rate still rising, and likely near 185 bpm. RPE definitely 18. The springy feeling has left the legs, but the form hasn't.

It's taken about two months to get to this point.

The last time I did any sort of racing was at the Masters Swimming Long Course National Championships in early July. Before that was the state cycling road race in June. With local road racing over, I started running again.

Since that time, I still swam and biked. But from July 10th until this past Tuesday, I also averaged 1.5 runs per week. Tuesday nights at Westside's track with Team Nebraska Triathletes were my mainstay. The other times I ran were 6 to 8 mile pace runs every other weekend.

At the 800m checkpoint, the chronograph shows 2:37.  My heavy foot falls and labored breathing are syncopated against those behind me.

Running is a unique blend of mental and physical pain. It hurts in different ways than cycling. Running pain is more intense than cycling. But when you blow up in running, you're done. In cycling, when you blow up, you may be able to sit-in and recover, allowing you to push and blow up again. Repeat, etc... In general, bike pain is less intense, but more frequent.  Pick your poison.

At 1000m checkpoint, I deny a look to the watch. Only a half of a lap to go. Though the quads are burning and I'm gasping for breath, it's Gump time.

It's this exact moment why running is exhilarating. Somehow, at this point, the mind and body agree on a common goal to get me across that finish line as quickly as possible. A metamorphosis ensues. My legs are refreshed with springy new life. Pain dissipates from the body.  Euphoria passes over me like the first cool breeze after a long hot summer. It feels like taking flight.

As I cross the finish line, I flick the stop button on the watch and gulp in mouthfuls of sweet air.

3 minutes, 52 seconds. Not bad for a 1200 meter repeat.

Yeah, pretty good.



  1. As my father would/did momentarily glance up from his newspaper to say: "If you could squeeze another lap in at that time, you'll have something."

  2. As normal, my brother is focusing on the wrong number. I can run 800 meters in don't need all 1200 meters to run 3:52. (sheesh....)