Wow, it was just what I needed. A lot of huffing and puffing, sweat and even some nausea towards the end, but a lot to be proud of afterward.
So soon after a marathon, you ask?
Yes. But it was not me who did it. It was K, a new person at our tri club run workout tonight.
I really didn't have a workout scheduled but showed up just to say 'hi' to my tri club buddies whom I love dearly and miss since I've been unable to do as much with them recently with all my marathoning. I had some new running shoes that I wanted to give a test spin anyway. Knowing I shouldn't be doing any of the speed work that was assigned, I told the coach I'd be bringing up the rear.
It was hot, really hot, like 90 degs F at 5pm when we headed out for our "warm up." There were 10-12 of us and the group spread out quickly as folks settled into their easy run paces. My legs and butt felt fine (YAY!) but I forced myself to run super easy. I chatted away with some folks at the back of the pack whom I don't usually get to run with often. Then I turned around and saw K running by herself falling further and further behind.
We'd only gone perhaps a quarter mile and I could tell she was really struggling. Have I mentioned it was hot? She began walking and I fell back to check on her since the coach was further up with others. K said she was OK but really out of shape. She mentioned maybe being able to go on if she could do 1 minute of running and 2 minutes of walking. I said fine. Let's do it together.
Initially, K didn't want to hold me back and encouraged me to go on without her but I told her I needed to take it easy because I'd just run a marathon. We walked on for a bit more so she could catch her breath and the coach came by. She too suggested run-walking but doing 1 minute intervals of each. I looked at K and told her let's give it a try. I'll keep track of time.
So we set out running again. I kept chatting away as we were when we were walking not realizing at first how hard poor K was working. We were running at probably a 12-13 minute per mile pace but for her that was really hard. I told her not to talk. I'd talk when we were running and I told her about my Delaware Marathon.
3 - 2 - 1, time to walk. She told me she'd quit smoking 5 months ago and this was her first time running. She mentioned again how very out of shape she was and asked whether she should maybe do something else to get started.
3 - 2 - 1, time to run. I told her that I thought the best way to get started running was to do exactly what we're doing, just go slow and do as much as she could, unless she had any knee or joint issues. She shook her head. Then I proceeded to babble on about how some people actually run-walked marathons this way.
We got to the mile 1 marker on the bike path doing the 1-1 run-walk and then decided to turn around and go back. Others in the club were supposed to run to the 2-mile marker and turn around so we'd see them coming back.
K didn't think she'd be able to do what we did to get out here. I suggested we go as far as we could doing the 1-1 thing and then walk the rest of the way in if needed. K was OK with that so off we went.
It was still 90 degs but felt a bit cooler going back with the wind in our face. The sun also went behind a big cloud for a while which was nice. I was doing pretty much all of the talking now as K was having a hard time talking even during the walk breaks. She was just barely making it to the end of the one minute runs.
With about a quarter mile to go, I pointed out where we'd started, which was where we were to finish. K had never been on this bike path before and had no idea how much further we had to go. Knowing the end was near was a huge relief to her.
Now only a couple hundred yards left and a large sign by the end is clearly in sight. K tells me she's feeling a bit nauseous. I knew she was staying hydrated as she had a large bottle of water with her and was drinking often. It must be due to a very high heart rate. But she surprised me by saying, "The worst thing that could happen is that I'd throw up." Wow, this girl is a real trooper!
I may have given her an extra 5 seconds of rest but we began running again. It was our last run interval and I encouraged her as much as I could to keep her going. As we got closer to the sign, I realized it was going to take a little more than a minute to get there, maybe 1:05, 1:10 max. Should I tell her?
I glanced over at her at the minute mark and saw there was no need. She was gunning for the sign.
Afterwards, we gave each other a high-five and walked around a bit while waiting for the others to return. Later she gave me a hug and thanked me for running with her. She told me she never would have gone so far or pushed herself as hard on her own. I thanked her for giving me the perfect recovery workout.