Knock on wood, fingers crossed, I had another good run Friday morning and am hoping that maybe this is the beginning of a trend.
(Or maybe it's the effect of waiting another four days before running again. Rain, cold, dark mornings—Wednesday and Thursday were all excuses, excuses, but on Friday I crawled out of bed and hit the road again.)
My only goal was to sustain my pace from Monday—a 10-minute mile or better—and go a little further, at least six miles. So, basically, six miles in an hour or less.
It started out well. When I made my bathroom stop at 1.5 miles (necessary to avoid any emergency situations later on), I checked the Garmin and the first mile was 10:02 or :03 and the first half of second half mile was the same pace.
After that I tried to avoid looking at the Garmin much. It can be so encouraging or so discouraging, and neither is necessarily accurate. If a quick glance at the pace shows 9:30 or so, I feel good. If it shows 10:30, or more, I feel less good.* But neither necessarily indicates what the overall time for the mile is going to be. So I was trying to ignore it.
A few miles in, though, as I was approaching five miles, I did start looking at the overall distance and time to determine whether I was on track for my goal. A 10-minute pace is easy to gauge. If the total time is more than the distance times ten, I am behind. If the time is less than distance times ten, I am doing good. Nearing five miles, I seemed a little bit behind. So I actually, successfully increased my speed a bit.
I'm lucky that the last part of my route is a downhill stretch. I can usually pick up the pace pretty easily in that final portion. By 5.5 miles I saw that I was ahead of goal, so I decided to keep running till the watch hit 60 minutes, then stop and see how far I'd gone. I clicked past six miles at about 58 minutes—two minutes to go—and just kept running. I know I slowed down a little from the final burst, how could I not? In a way I was just passing the time at that point.
At the moment I saw 1:00 (I was looking at the watch by that time), I clicked stop. I jogged the remaining half block or so to the light at the corner of Everett Avenue and Broadway, waited for the light, then jogged—sans Garmin—across the street and the QFC parking lot.
I popped into QFC to buy some Oroweat Double Fiber English muffins (a favorite), then to Starbucks for a latte,** and finally walked myself home. I didn't restart the Garmin to measure the distance because I didn't want to mess up my average pace by throwing walking into the mix. I am familiar enough with the route to know that it's about half a mile, slightly more if you included the bit after I shut off the watch and proceeded to QFC.
When I checked the watch to see how far I'd gone in the hour (of course I did that immediately after stopping at the light) it said 6.21 miles—10K exactly. Now, if it took me 60 minutes to run a 10K race I would probably have a stroke, or a nervous breakdown (the Smelt Run was dangerously close), but for a morning run it was okay to me. Considering my recent history, it was great!
My splits were pretty satisfactory, even pleasing, as well.
Mile 1 - 10:02
Mile 2 - 9:13 (this is a little surprising, as the first half took five minutes)***
Mile 3 - 9:44
Mile 4 - 9:54
Mile 5 - 9:54
Mile 6 - 9:13
Mile 6.21 - 2:02 (9:45 pace)
Overall average pace - 9:40
Tomorrow, Sunday, I'm going to take a longer run. Maybe not as long as a "long run" (which I define as ten miles or more), but maybe eight miles or so. I'll decide tomorrow. I'm afraid it's going to be cold and rainy again, so not exactly inspiring for long distance running. I'm probably not going for the sub-10-minute pace tomorrow, especially if I'm going a bit further than I have been (since Bath on March 15, two weeks ago).
I've been thinking a lot about my running slump, the reasons for it, and what I can do to bring myself back. I have some theories which are going to make a really good post one of these days. But for now, I'll just keep running, and continue pushing myself a little more than I have been to run a little faster. My good runs this week will certainly be a positive motivation (and that's partly what that future post is going to be about).
On a completely unrelated topic, yesterday Rod performed at a lunchtime concert called "Blues Against Hunger," a fundraiser for the VOA food bank. It should have been better publicized—I blame the organizers for that. He played several songs that he called "roots" music (I'm not well-versed in the genre), including Folsom Prison Blues at my request, and finishing with Blowing' in the Wind. Here's a picture of him playing and singing. Yes, he's wearing his geeky county ID lanyard. (I think it has a picture of Jerry Garcia on it, though.)
*If it shows 11 or 12 minutes, I feel like crap, and that is the beginning of trouble.
**I have cut back immensely since my trip to England, I'm now down to a double tall skinny caramel latte instead of a quad grande.
***Hope it's not some satellite error, which would throw off my averages entirely. Oh well, as I will never know that, I will assume that it's entirely accurate and I was just highly energized after my potty stop.