Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why Don't We Do It On the Grass?

By Dustin Sweeney

Tripp finds me at the Ballston Metro at 6:31 am with Frank in tandem and we are off to Bluemont Park in Arlington.  If you’re not familiar, you can look at a map of Arlington and Bluemont is the last patch of open grass in the county (outside of the infamous Arlington Cemetery).  Finding grass is a hot commodity in the DC/Alexandria/Arlington Area, so much so that Southerland and DeVar venture from their U-Street abode in the early morning hours to take on Arlington’s best patch of unkempt grass.

We arrive pre-dawn to find Peter Accomando in the parking lot, ready to roll.  As we unfold out of Tripp’s Mini we find the type of morning that is unique to October.  Crisp as a first bite of a Granny Smith Apple, the type of morning that I suspect people in Ireland regularly enjoy – at least according to that Sounds of Ireland CD I found. 

I still haven’t told them their workout, and they haven’t asked.  I point them towards the Bluemont Junction Trail and tell them to warm up.  The first part of their workout will be on the paved bike path that used to be a black and white railroad track serving the DC area in the ‘50s.  Despite its rail-authenticity, there’s a “good climb” into a gradual incline and then back down.   They break into their warm up and I start marking the grass course around the grounds. 

The group arrives, less one.  Chris Rom, a freshman at Georgetown, is unfortunately at Teddy Roosevelt Island and ends up the fault of the dreaded miss-communication   He aboards the pain train solo and performs 4k upper threshold (5:40s); 2x2k @ 10k effort (5:30s) with a 3:00 recovery in between each.  The island is tricky, and I don’t mean whorish, I mean slow.  So effort is the key word here.

I tell Pete, Frank (FD) and Trippstar (TS) their workouts for the day.

Frankenstein and Tripp-odometer have:
- 2 miles upper threshold (Frank @ 10:10-10:20; Tripp @ 10:20-10:30) on the Bluemont Junction
- 2-4’ recovery, change shoes. Then into…
- 3 sets of 1200 @ 10k Effort (1’ recovery) 800 @ slightly faster (2-4’ recovery between sets) on THE GRASS.  Devar @ 3:45-3:50 & 2:25-2:30; Southland @ 4:00-4:05 & 2:35-2:40

All told 9.2k of work.

5 sets of 800 @ slightly slower than 5k effort (2’ recovery) 400 @ slightly faster than 5k effort (2’ recovery).  I don’t prescribe him times….Peter has never ran seriously on grass.  And this is SERIOUS 

So all this is about to start and who is there???  CROSS CYCLERS!  They’re doing a workout at the same place/same time.  Cross Cyclers are freaking crazy, but they’re also good guys.  What’s cross cycle?  This is cross cycle:  


Some baddass stuff.  They were going batshit crazy doing loops around the baseball fields, weaving around on the hill, but were always very courteous of what we were doing.  Nice guys.   Crazy, but nice. 

TWO MILES, upper threshold:  FD is right on at 10:23.0, TS follows closely at 10:31.0 – honestly it’s over 2miles, but who gives a shit.  3minutes and a change of shoes later the first set begins
The 800m course is windy, has a steep 100m climb and is true cross country.  Like a white guy at a reggae concert it was impossible to get rhythm and the grass is soaked with the morning’s dew.  My feet are totally drenched and starting to go numb – so theirs must be frozen blocks of ice. 

At any cost, this is cross country, so who cares. 

SET ONE:  FD -- 3:46.0, 2:31.4;  TS – 3:51.1, 2:37.0.  I tell them to relax, this is more about effort than splits.

SET TWO:  FD – 3:53.5, 2:30.9; TS – 4:02.6, 2:37.6.  They listened to me.

SET THREE:  FD – 3:49.0, 2:28.6; TS – 4:00.1, 2:36.5.  A great job.

They finish by doing a speed drill in and out of cones.  Yes.  Cones.   

PETE continues to improve.  His goal is to win his local turkey trot in Mass, which I believe, is the coolest freaking goal I’ve ever heard.  His results:
3:00.2, 80.1  //  2:57.5, 82.1  //  2:59.0, 80.6  //  3:00.4, 79.5  //  2:57.1, 77.6

People are telling me this blog was too long?  You know what else is too long?  The great wall of China. 

And you can see that from space. 

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