Except of course, today. Fartlek is a Swedish word for speed play. It is a run where segments of faster running are thrown in without being too particular about exact distances or the timing of splits.
I met Chuck and Lance, dark and early for our Sunday morning run. It was just barely “nautical” twilight – You could make out the horizon. Of course, when Los Angeles is on the other side of the mountains on the horizon, you wonder is it really twilight or is it the millions of artificial lights burning in a massive city illuminating the skyline. In any case it was pretty dark out there.
We ran the first five miles together, easy: 8: 44, 8:14, 8:14, 8:12, 8:12. Approaching the finish Chuck ran on ahead to get Chuck’s water so that Chuck would not have to stop – With Chuck’s knee, he does not like to pause between each “out and back.” I told Chuck that I would do 5 more, but I didn’t think I should run fast…. At the turn around, Lance was waiting and he and Chuck took off. I paused for some Gatorade. I also waited a bit to see who it was I saw getting out of their car. In the distance I saw two people but they were wearing pant (not running shorts) so I knew it was not Dawn or any other runner arriving to join us.
I turned and started out for another five. Chuck and Lance were well into the curve out there ahead of me. As I ran this first quarter mile I noted that they did not seem to be pulling away from me. As I started the 2nd quarter I decided to accelerate for just a quarter and see how I felt. I felt good and made up a lot of ground. I eased back into their pace for another quarter and then accelerated again. I did not look at my times during these quarters. I just wanted to relax and run fast – with a 2 to 1 breath pattern for a quarter and then run relaxed – with a 2 to 2 breath pattern. On the 3rd faster quarter I ran up behind Chuck and Lance. Chuck gave me a nice compliment. Without turning, he said, “Is that Karl?”
I leap frogged the two of them a bit and then at the turn around Lance picked up his pace. He ran his last 2.5 well under 7:30. At I was finishing my 9th mile and my 8th faster quarter I felt like I’d had enough. My left hamstring was still feeling pretty good, but I was tightening up, just in general. So I ran a nice easy 8:57 last mile. Lance finished a full quarter mile ahead. Chuck passed me the last mile and finished well ahead of me as well. But, I was pleased at how well I felt and how well I ran.