Just Keep Running, Just Keep Running…

Although this blog hasn’t reflected it I have been running, and running, and running.  I’ve run 4 times since my last post and all of the runs were good.

On 8/14 I had an easy 4 mile run scheduled.  I felt great and so I ended up running it very quickly, perhaps against better judgment.  I also ran more than 4 miles mostly because I didn’t want to run the 2 mile loop twice.  The 2 mile loop bores me because it’s through a residential area.  I like seeing people and activity when I run so I prefer to run through town.  I compromised with myself and ran the 2 mile loop and then the 3 mile loop.  Overall it was a 5.25 mile course that I ran in 44:56, an 8:34 mile!  I wasn’t killing myself to go fast.  In fact I was trying hard not to go too fast because it was supposed to be an easy run and I didn’t want to compromise the upcoming tempo run and long run for the week.  It blew my mind when I saw my time at the end of the run.

On 8/15 I ran the Rowe Quarter as a tempo run.  I ran this with no day-off from my previous run because I wanted an extended break time for the upcoming long run of 16 miles.  The previous “long” run was a measly 7 miles and it was tough.  I didn’t want that to happen again.  I started the run at 8:30 PM.  Normally I don’t run that late but that’s just the way it worked out that night.  It was cloudy so it was pretty dark right from the start.  It was very dark by the end of the run.  I strapped my two LED packs onto the arm band of my mp3 player for added safety.

It wasn’t very hot and the lack of sunshine made things a lot easier.  Towards the beginning of the run I adjusted my arm band and one of my LED packs fell to the road and fell apart.  I stopped to pick up the pieces and batteries.  Later in the run it felt like I had a stone stuck in the treads of my shoe so I stopped to scrape it out.  That didn’t work — it still felt like I had a stone in there.  By that time it was dark enough that I couldn’t see the road in front of me.  I was running mostly by watching the reflective paint stripe on the side of the road.  I stopped again under a street light to visually inspect my shoe.  There were no stones stuck in it so I moved on ignoring the imagined feeling of a stone in my shoe.

It was dark and oncoming cars can be outright blinding.  It just so happens that fire trucks and emergency vehicles were making there way with sirens and lights flashing to the school that is along the route.  Like a moth attracted to light a vehicle decided that it would be best to pull off the road directly at me.  I didn’t feel like I was in danger but I was annoyed that they pull off the road at me.  I’m not sure why they did that.  There’s no way they couldn’t see my LED pack.  Maybe they couldn’t judge the distance or maybe they were focused on the flashing lights on the other side of the road.

I won the mental battle of not looking at my watch.  It’s easier to do when a run feels good.  I almost wish I had looked at my watch with a few miles remaining so I could have gotten a slightly better time.  I’m thrilled with the time of 52:47 that I did achieve.  Had I finished only 48 seconds sooner I would have broken an 8 minute mile for a 6.5 mile course!  Still an 8:08 average pace for that distance and that course (it was moderate hills) is absolutely fantastic for me.  I was proud enough to brag to my sister and to John.  At the finish my fan club, as always, was there to give me water, conversation, and a ride home.

On Sunday 8/19 John and I ran our planned 16 mile long run.  We started the run at 7:05 AM so that we could be done sooner because we both had a lot planned for the rest of the day.  Although I didn’t like waking at 5 AM to eat a bagel I did like being done early and I liked the weather in the morning.  It was almost cold outside.  The thought of wearing a shirt crossed my mind but I knew from experience that I’d be warm after 3 miles or less so I left my shirt in my car and shivered for the first mile or two.

Our course was basically an 8 mile loop that we doubled.  It starts at Fleet Feet and goes into the Park Ave area of Rochester.  It’s a relatively flat course with the exception of the portion of the course that is on Winton Road.  There are moderate hills there which became difficult towards the end of the run.

We decided to try the advice we heard from a talk we heard about marathon training.  We decided to try to run at a faster pace at the end of the long run.  We chose to split up for the remaining 3 (ish) miles to run at our own paces.  I felt absolutely awesome and took off at the 13 mile mark.  I was flying down Park Ave.  By that time of the morning restaurants were putting out tables and one restaurant had their sidewalks packed with people eating breakfast.  There was a narrow channel between the tables that I was luckily able to squeeze through without hurting anyone and without slowing down.  I must have been running at a 7:30 pace or better for the 14 th mile of the run.  It was amazing.  At one point during the fast part of the run I think I surprised a motorist.  She was about to make a right hand turn but luckily noticed I was in her path.  She didn’t seem to mind.  She gave me a huge smile and then nodded at me.  I smiled back, nodded and pushed on.

I couldn’t keep that pace up when I reached the hills on Winton Road.  I was forced to slow down a bit but I kept pushing.  I ended up finishing the entire run in 2:42:53, a 9:52 average pace.  That is, coincidentally, the same as the pace I had for the Disney Marathon.  John finished up the run 6 minutes after I did.  His GPS watch said he was doing 9:40-9:50 miles for the last few miles.  If that is correct then I ran sub 8:00 minute miles for the end of the run.  That blows my mind.

On 8/20 I ran the 2.2 mile loop.  I had an easy 2 mile run planned and, even though I was very tired I was seriously considering running 3.2 or more miles.  During the beginning of the run I finally decided against running longer.  This week is the longest and most intense week of training.  Although 1 mile doesn’t seem like a lot (and probably isn’t) I still didn’t want to compromise all of the training that I’ve done to this point.

I started the run at about 7:30 PM.  It was cold!  It was 59 outside and I actually wore a shirt while running (sorry ladies!).  It wasn’t an exciting run at all but it wasn’t bad either.  I finished in 19:10, an 8:43 pace.  That’s good, I didn’t over train on an easy day.

Tomorrow, on 8/21, John and I will run an 8+ mile tempo run.  That should be fun.  I suspect our average pace will fall around a 9 minute mile.  On Sunday we have a 20 mile run planned.  I’m really hoping that will go better than the first and I’m confident that it will.  I’ve learned a lot about nutrition, especially the importance of hydration, and I think that is starting to affect my running in a positive way.


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