Wintervals. ..Go Hard or Go Home

A winter tale devised by Hugh and Selena.

Tuesday seen the start of the club’s “wintervals”

In short for those who don’t feel like thinking today that’s the Winter Interval sessions. 

Only joining the club at the end of March, I was late to the Winter Party so didn’t get to do sessions however from my 2 sets of Death by Dermot, I really enjoy intervals and the visable improvements it offers to your running and your ABCs. I can now even stretch my quads without the need of a pillar or person to steady me-wohoo!

So after months of hard graft, very long days and very late nights, Hugh and Selena gained their coaching qualifications. This is fantastic news for the club given that we now have two coaches who are not only dedicated to expanding their own knowledge and skills within athletics but also willing to dedicate their time, effort and expertise to the members of the club to improve our overall performance at no additional cost to us yet at probably a detriment to their own training. How lucky are we?!? And to Hugh and Selena…thank you in advance of the next few months!

So we kicked off with a time trial. The dreaded phrase everyone shutters at when they hear it. 

3 Miles from one end of Newcastle to the other. Doesnt seem too hard…yeah unless you are currently struggling to break the 13 minute mile barrier since DCM. 

Fridays run around the hills was one of those just plain hilarious runs when all you could do was laugh at how pathetic you imagined you looked. On a route I was familiar and confident with, although very hilly and challanging, I was 7 minutes slower over the 4.2 mile than I was achieving back in April before the madness of Dublin began.

So I had hoped a 38minute 3 mile would be achievable. I was going to give it all my wee legs could manage even though I’m still holding onto the “marathon legs” excuse. So it was simply go hard or go home. No point going to intervals for a chat and craic, you go to do what your told, bust yourself over the short period, embrace being out of your comfort zone and be assured that everyone else around you is feeling exactly the same as you. Chat and craic running is for other nights. 

So meeting Caitriona, who is thankfully on the road to recovery, we set off for a quick half mile to test her legs from the Pearcy to the Bridge and back. Sitting at 10 minute miles I kept saying we’re going too fast and to slow the hell down! Seems after weeks on the bench her legs had to stretch out where mine just got a rude wake up call.

Happy to hear there wasn’t any immediate pain and discomfort we set off for the start of the time trial. 

I knew myself that if I started with everyone in the club I’d have been busted before I even started. I don’t mind a wee half mile but 1.5 mile would have ruined me. You’d think after everything training for DCM I’d have confidence in myself. I do – just in my own speed and ability to eventually get there. I hate holding people back or people waiting on me and someday I might blend into the group but knew it wasn’t going to be this week. 

So I was happy to set off that bit earlier and with the company of Caitriona who was going to walk it back to the car afterwards, it was a rather enjoyable warm up. 

It wasn’t long before Selena and Hugh arrived followed by over 30 of the club members. Absolutely fantastic turn out, showed how much everyone wants to improve and take advantage of what the club has to offer. Plenty of the Death By Dermot crew returning who I’m sure like me are missing the kick you get from a short sharp session. Nice to see those who have been on the injury bench back out and also fabulous to see so many faces that I’ve only ever seen in the computer too! Hello!

So after our safety brief and the route outline again, we were put into our speed appropriate groups and off we went. 

I knew that I was going to be passed by everyone and it’s actually a nice wee boost to have the faster runners come past. Psychologically it stops you from walking as you don’t want to show weakness to the better runners in the club. Also the verbal words of support are a great kick. As for the physical support Micéal, you near had me jumping the barrier into the sea. Scared the bejaysus out of me! 

I’d hoped to manage 12 minute miles and keep it steady. Allowing for a drop in pace later on. By the time I’d reached 1 mile, Phil from the last group had caught me with ease. 

By the time we’d reached the Slieve I could see Sinead and Maria at all times in front and knew Norah wasn’t too far behind me.

Passing the other runners who had already lapped the Slieve was the highlight of my run. It was so lovely to see everyone going strong and exchanges of encouragement across the road. I was particularly impressed with Laura who was looking so on point and comfortable in amongst the “middle of the pack”.  I may get into this cross country malarkey as I want to run like that! 

Selena was at the exit to the Slieve to mark the 2 mile point. As I picked up pace up Golf Links Avenue I could hear talking and then Selena shouting encouragement at me. She had obviously joined Norah to run it home. 

No joke. I could hear them getting closer and was prepared for coming in last. Soon enough the 3 of us where running together. As I spotted the Holy Grail that was Hugh in the distance I was delighted that the end was near as I’d gave my all and there wasn’t much there…or so I thought. 

The usual head stagger hit and knowing I’d only 200 metres left, I did what I wish I could do right throughout any run and I emptied the tank for a strong finish into the crowd of 30 runners waiting for us to finish. 

Looking down at my watch I couldn’t believe my eyes. 

Not only had I broke the 13 minute mile that has been plaguing me since DCM, I smashed it with an 11.15 minute mile average. And low and behold not a kick in the arse of my 5k pb set at the Women’s Mini Marathon in July. I have found my legs again. *insert happy dance*

The dream is alive again. Short distance running is something I want to improve on as let’s face it, it’s as slow and steady as my marathon running after a few months of several 1.09/1.11 10ks. I was sure since August I was never going to find the next gear up again.  

So targets are a plenty for me. Big aims for me, like any runner, is to break into the next time barrier, so I’d love a sub 30 5k but I’ll be delighted with seeing 31.59 and anything below a 1.08.59 10k. 

This is my focus for the next few months until half marathon season kicks off in February. 

So ready to get stuck in with renewed hope next week and ready to take on whatever Coach Hugh and Coach Selena have to throw at me. From moments of pushing the limits, to moments of elation.

Right MAC, let’s do this!  


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