Two weeks till Bloomsday, and up to today I think it had been three weeks since I'd done a run longer than 6.6 miles. Bloomsday is 12K (about 7.5 miles), so... it was time for a longish run.
All sorts of good conditions came together this morning. The weather was lovely, slightly hazy sun, so not too hot but definitely balmy (and warm enough that I had to take off my jacket pretty quickly). I had a low-pressure time deadline, a baby shower to attend at 2 p.m., so I had to get out sort of early but not at the crack of dawn. I ended up leaving my house a little before 9:30, which was perfect. I could actually have left by 9:00, but I chose to be lazy and read a little and allow breakfast to digest before I hit the road.
I had a nice carby breakfast plus caffeine before I went. I actually had a little too much breakfast, as I ate a mini-breakfast cookie around 8:00 and then Rod made oatmeal, which I hadn't planned on, but I didn't want to admit scarfing down the breafast cookie, so I had breakfast number two and a cup of coffee.
I figured eight miles would be a good distance. Not too huge of an increase in what I'd been doing but a decent number. Plus I could easily pad my usual the route by adding an extra half mile in the middle and a mile or so near the end before I turned for home.
I started out with a spring in my step. In fact, as I was running up the hill that's about a quarter of a mile from my house, I passed a guy going to his car who called out "keep up the pace!" That's not typical!
I finished that first mile in 9:40, which meant that it was entirely realistic to plan on keeping the entire run under a 10 minute pace. In fact, my average pace by the end was under 9:30,* which felt "comfortably hard," although slightly slower than an ideal race pace, so I think that it just about fit the definitition of a tempo run.
My splits were 9:40, 8:44 (again, that freaky mile 2 cannot be trusted), 9:19, 9:23, 9:31, 9:45, 9:27, 8:41, and then just .01 mile at 8:24 pace (how that small a distance can even be measured, I don't know). The only indication that I was taking on a longer distance that I was accustomed to was that gradual slowing in the middle, although I did manage to pick it back up for miles 7 and 8. Okay, I admit that most of those last two miles were on a downhill incline, and a down hill for the final half mile!
I put on a real burst in the final full mile (Garmin says I reached a fastest pace of 7:01), and perfectly coincidentally, crossed the 8-mile point as I got to the intersection of Broadway and Everett Avenue, across from Starbucks and QFC. I bought myself a latte and (ahem) a cinnamon scone, and walked the remaining half mile home as a cool down, enjoying the mild euphoria that comes from a good, intense run.
*9:19 according to Garmin, although that could be wrong if the timing on mile 2 was askew.