Friday, October 2, 2009

Now THAT'S a tempo run!

I slept in a little (well, woke up and lay around in bed for longer than usual), so by the time I went out, sometime past 7, it was fully daylight out.

Wow, does that make all the difference in the quality and enjoyability of my run. Almost without fail, the runs where I've started in the early daylight hours have been faster and easier from the get-go.

I know that cannot be the norm during fall and winter weekdays--not as long as I want keep my job--but at least I can take advantage when I do have the opportunity to go out after sunrise.

So this morning I had a tempo/pace run on the schedule (typical for a Friday). I was thinking of perhaps 10 miles with 5 in the middle at sub 9 (say, 8:45) pace.

Not only was it light out when I left home, it wasn't raining (in fact it was almost sunny) and it wasn't too cold, maybe around 50. I was smart enough to wear a short sleeved shirt under the jacket this time. I did put gloves on to start (I didn't take them off and stuff them in my pocket till I was past 8 miles).

I started well; both warm-up miles were under 10 minutes. (That is, each was, individually.). Even before I started my first tempo mile I was thinking about switching up the plan a little bit.

On a tempo run a few weeks ago I came up with the scheme of running the first .75 of each mile at my original target pace of 8:45 and then kicking it as hard as I could (within reason) for the final quarter.

This offers a number of benefits. First, lowering my actual pace per mile (though not by much, really). Second, after running a quarter mile at (hopefully) sub-8, returning to sub-9 would seem like a piece of cake. Finally, throwing in short sprints would give me an opportunity to work my fast-twitch muscles (assuming I have any), as practice for finish line sprints, or the 5K I'm doing next weekend.

All went as planned. I slipped fairly easily into my first sub-9 mile, faster on downhills and a little slower on uphills. As Garmin hit 2.75 I picked up the pace. Less than two minutes later, Garmin gave me a readout of 8:30 for the mile.

And I maintained that pattern over the next few miles. After two or three miles I decided to up my tempo distance from five miles to six--then quickly amended that to 6.2 (might as well get a 10K time out of it).

I was lucky enough to finish mile 5 (mile 7 overall) at 41st and Colby, a favorite turnaround point AND the top of an incline, so my last 1.2 mile would be on a slight downhill. Accordingly, mile 6 came in at 8:02 and the final .2 mile was a 7:35 pace!

That took me to 8.2 miles at that point. If I went directly to QFC/Starbucks I would hit about 9 miles. Not bad, but I really wanted to go over 10...11 would be better.

So when I got to QFC I didn't stop, but kept heading north. I went as far as 16th before I turned around to go toward my house. I wasn't staying, but I made a quick stop and then was back out for the final mile. It took some back and forth an extra lap around the QFC block, but I managed to get over 11 miles and stopped my watch at 11.25 miles.

I shopped for some final ingredients for tonight's dinner and bought a latte at Starbucks before walking the half mile home.

My final numbers:
1 - 9:57
2 - 9:29
3 - 8:30
4 - 8:28
5 - 8:23
6 - 8:28
7 - 8:27
8 - 8:02
9 - .2 mile at 7:35
10K time - 51:50!
10 - 9:09
11 - 9:28
12 - 9:23
Average overall pace - 8:52.
Distance - 11.25.
Time - 1:39:49
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