Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Industrial Park Plan

Friday is a rest day for me in my current Boston Marathon training plan, so while my car was being inspected at the Black Point Auto body shop on this past Friday, I took a slow walk around the Scarborough Industrial Park.

It was a brilliantly sunny and very cold January morning, and there was just a slight wind out of the north. This industrial park borders the Scarborough Marsh so there were very nice views of snowy fields, marsh, and ice-covered trees.

It occurred to me as I strolled around the loop past one and two-story warehouse-type buildings, that this area must be quite quiet and non-trafficked on weekends, as most of these businesses are closed. I was also impressed with how wide and clear the road was and determined that since the Scarborough Public Works operations is based in this park, the road probably is plowed well and often during winter storms. It's also FLAT.

My car cleared inspection and as I drove out, I decided to measure the loop. Just over a mile, about 1.3 miles. Perfect.

On Saturdays, my schedule calls for a race pace (about seven minutes per mile) run about half the distance of my long run the following day (Sunday). I've done a few of these now both on the road and on an indoor, 200 meter track. I've had mixed results.

The first time I set out to do a five mile pace run from my house, I basically ran like I was in a race and did not know my exact mile splits. I came in on average pretty well under pace so that was okay. The next time I was on the track and after a warm-up it meant 40 more laps at pace! Gawd, can I even count that high? Thankfully, I had one of Maine's best female runners there willing to do it with me. Kristin had raced and won a 10K the day before in 34:42, but still wanted to run with me. I was humbled. We did it, again under pace.

The next time I went to the track I was alone, and had to do a six-mile run. Yup, 48 laps. The men's track team showed up at the same time for a practice, though they told me it was fine to do my thing, as their practice was going to be pretty informal. But then, a couple Army National Guard troops showed up to do fitness training, and even though I was still fine to do my thing, it started getting crowded and I was having a hard time getting on pace. I ended up doing only three of the six miles, way faster than I should have, so that didn't work out.

Here's the plan: On Saturdays, go to the Industrial Park and after a short warm-up, do pace laps there. Running (I should say counting) four or five laps is so much more feasible for me than 48 or 56!! Also, I'm road running versus on the track, and it's quiet.

Yesterday I tried out the plan with very good success. (Well, actually, I muffed up on my math and thought I needed to do only four laps when it was five.) But with my warm-up and run back to the car, I got in my six miles, just under pace. Sweet.

Let me know if you ever want to join me for an industrial park jaunt. The only drawback was it was a little lonely going around in circles by myself.


Evelyn said...

The industrial park is usually very quiet on the weekends; I used to run down there during my lunch break when I was working. Nate has also done bike races there and that's a testament to how little traffic there is. I would join you but I am way too slow. :) Good luck with training for Boston! - Megan

rungirl said...

Industrial parks are great. I've logged many a mile in the Gorham Industrial Park and the Lewiston Industrial Park.

Another tip ... a great place to get in hill workouts in the winter is parking garages. If you go early there are no cars and since it is protected you don't have to worry about snow and ice. I've been thinking of hitting the Maine Medical Center garage ... 9 levels ... sounds fun!

Jeanne said...

Wow, you gals are way ahead of me. I thought this was a total revelation. Parking garages, I don't know. The sound of it reminds me of stairwells.