Today's Wednesday, which means speed work on my training plan! I thought I was supposed to do 800's (half miles for me), but when I checked The Plan last night, I saw that I had put down "mile pick-ups" for today. For me that means I essentially alternate slow (warm-up/recovery) miles with fast miles. I didn't specify whether "fast" means 5K pace, 10K pace, or (most likely) "get off my ass a little more" pace.
I like doing mile pick-ups because they're easy to track with the Garmin. Also, I can just do it on my regular running route rather than messing with a track. (I'm still a little leery of the track.) On a mid-length run I actually do a 1 & 2 mile pick-up (I'm making all these names up as I go, feel free to borrow them for your own use :), where I warm up for 1.5 to 2 miles (depending on my route), "pick up"the pace for a mile, slow down for a recovery mile, then pick it up again for two consecutive miles, then finish the last half or full mile at recovery pace.
I started out from my house around 6:37, which was a little later than optimal on a work day. The temperature was probably in the upper 50's, so I was glad I just wore a light-weight long-sleeved shirt, rather than let the cloudy skies and slight threat of rain persuade me to wear a jacket. I was perfectly comfortable for the whole run, but never felt overheated, even on my faster-paced segments.
My starting-out pace looked to be around 10:30. I was a little bit torn in how I felt about this. On the one hand, I didn't feel like I was running especially slowly, and I couldn't understand why it didn't show a little faster. On the other hand, as my pace fluctuated up and down (as it tends to do), I was also concerned every time I dropped below 9:30, because that would mean I needed to go all the faster when I got to the "fast" mile! Mile 1 - 10:23.
I generally stop at the hospital to use the bathroom 1.5 miles along. That may seem quick, but it works for me, and after that I rarely need to make another stop. Mile 2 - .53 miles at 9:54 pace.
I was in the building long enough that my Garmin reset, so I decided to start the "fast mile" right away instead of finishing a two-mile warm up. I took off from the hospital at a very brisk pace, definitely a "pushing it" pace but not a sprint. I was happy to note that I didn't feel like I was breathing excessively hard either, certainly not gulping air. I vowed that I would not look at my pace on the Garmin until I finished the mile, only allowing one or two very quick glances to see how far along I was. When I was done, I was startled to see a time that could probably be characterized as 5K pace (or close to it); certainly if this were ever a 10K pace I would be elated. Mile 3 - 8:09.
I dropped back to a comfortable trot for my recovery mile. Mile 4 - 9:30.
At that point I had gone about 3.5 miles because Mile 2 was only half a mile. I was heading back to Colby and the downtown stretch. I finished Mile 5 at the intersection with Everett Avenue. Mile 5 - 8:17. Then onto the turnaround at Pacific, back up Colby, and down the hill on Everett Avenue to Broadway. I was thrilled to glance at the Garmin and notice a sub-7 minute pace a few times! Of course there were also slower moments to average in, but the end result made me pretty happy. Mile 6 - 7:54.
At that point I had finished the speed portion of my run and I was about half a mile from home. I was torn whether just to go home and stop (for a total of six miles, perfectly acceptable), or run further enough to finish the final full mile. Either way I woud probably still have enough time to get ready for work and get there on time. (Pretty close, anyway.)
As I neared my house I decided to go at least far enough to finish 10K. My 10K time was about 56 minutes (mind you, that's a combination of fast miles and recovery miles). But after going that far, there was no point in not going the distance. So I looped around the block until the Garmin clicked off the final mile (which put me at 6.53 total). Mile 7 - 9:31.
Final stats: 6.53 miles at 9:02 average pace. And next week I brave the 800's (half miles).