After 24 hours of non stop rain there was just a faint drizzle in the air as I headed out the door for yesterday's second workout of the week. The original plan to run this at Mcalpine had been thwarted by the rain that had left the greenway in a muddy mess, so it was off to the (in)famous Lansdowne loop to get it done. The workout on tap was 8 miles AT Tempo followed by a jog to PDS track and straight into a mile, 400m jog and finishing off with a final 1k effort.
It was going to be a tough workout but luckily the recruiting email I had sent out earlier in the week had attracted the attention of a few of the faster runners in the area. Previous Charlotte Marathon winner Steve Spada, 7th Place Master at last year's National XC Champs, Rocky Falcone and last week's 1st and 3rd place finishers at Winter Flight, John Compton and Ben Hovis were all present and ready to get to work.
The 8 mile tempo went well. We were all together through 5 miles, chatting away, ensuring that the pace was kept honest but relaxed. Ben, John, Rocky and I created a slight gap on the third and final lap and then at the 7 mile mark Ben and John made a bit of a move, stringing out the pack a little further. I hung tough on the final hill though and pulled back alongside the pacesetters. We went past the 8 mile mark in 46:03 with Rocky and Steve just behind. Their days were done, Ben, John and I were only just getting started.
The three of us jogged to PDS track and launched straight into the mile. I took it out, trying to get straight on the 5:10 pace the workout called for. Ben quickly had had enough of that and took over as we came through the 400m mark, inspired by the cheers of his wife and 2 time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier Megan who was doing her own run around the track. John meanwhile was jogging about ten yards behind us. Through the 800 in 2:35 and on pace, down the back straight John glided past me as if I wasn't there and set off in pursuit of Ben. He went on to run 5:05 with Ben a couple of steps behind and myself closing in 5:10.
Ben and John jogged back off to the Lansdowne loop to finish off their workouts with another 4 mile tempo and I jogged around the track once in an attempt to get ready for one last kilometer push. Rocky was at the track now and helped me out on my last lap. I ran 3:11 which wasn't as fast as planned but on the whole I was pleased with the workout. I jogged back down Sardis with Rocky, 16 miles and a solid workout in the bank. Watch out for John and Ben at the Myrtle Beach Half in two weeks time!