Twenty-four little hours (or forty-eight)... brought the sun and the flowers (or at least a nice sunrise)... where there used to be rain.
Yep, today was a much better day than Monday. It was still dark when I went out at 6:15 a.m., of course, and probably a little colder (upper 40's), but the puddles had dried up and my jacket kept me comfortably warm.
And I felt good. So good, in fact, that I was surprised to see my warm-up miles were as slow as they turned out to be. The first was a little funky anyway, as I had a Garmin satellite issue and I think my time for the first "mile" (10:48!) was actually for 1.05 miles (which would make the mile pace about 10:30, a little more realistic—I'm perfectly capable of a 10:48 mile, of course, I just didn't feel that sluggish at all). The rest of my warm-up, a total of about 3.5 miles, was slightly under a 10-minute pace.
So that brought me to the track for Wednesday speedwork. I had originally planned to do some quarter-mile intervals, but looking at one of my training plans last night, I saw that it called for 7 x 800 intervals. That sounded like a fairly good idea, and in my last round of 800's (half-miles), I'm pretty sure I did six, so seven was the appropriate number anyway.
It was still too dark to see much of anything, so I decided just to run the first few repeats without trying to check the time on my Garmin. After each 800/880/half mile I hit the lap button then jogged about 90 seconds back to the start. I didn't want to spend too long on recovery in case I ran out of time and had to cut the workout short (don't want to do that!).
I had no concept of what kind of a pace I was doing. It felt good, not too difficult, which could have meant I was going fast (5K pace) or that I wasn't working hard enough (10K pace)! I didn't feel any trace of soreness or tiredness leftover from Sunday's 20-miler.
After about three intervals there was enough daylight that I could make out the numbers on the watch after I stopped running, if I held my wrist just so and tilted it toward a streetlight. I was pretty startled, though pleased, to see a time of 3:47 for the half mile! That was at the fast end of the 5K pace spectrum for me.
Near the end of lap 5 I looked eastward as I was running on the west side of the track and saw the beautiful pink sunrise. After I finished that lap I jogged back to the side of the track to take the picture that is at the top of this post.
I was also wondering, by that time, if perhaps the reason my times were so good could be that I was stopping short of a full half mile. I was concerned enough to check the Garmin history to make sure my half miles weren't shorter...and they weren't. Each one so far was exactly .50, so I was relieved that I hadn't made a mistake in my stopping point. (Ironically, my final two half-miles were .49 each, so I did stop just a few feet too soon with them. Doesn't really matter, of course, pace is pace. And 800 meters is .497 miles, so I was probably closer to a true 800 in those two, anyway.)
I am quite pleased that my pace got progressively faster throughout the workout—my first 800 was the slowest and my final one was fairly significantly the fastest. Here are the numbers....
1 - 3:56.07 for .50 mile - 7:53 pace
2 - 3:51.82 for .50 mile - 7:47 pace
3 - 3:47.19 for .50 mile - 7:34 pace
4 - 3:46.28 for .49 mile - 7:38 pace
5 - 3:45.68 for .50 mile - 7:34 pace
6 - 3:43.65 for .49 mile - 7:33 pace
7 - 3:43.07 for .49 mile - 7:31 pace
TOTAL (including warm-up and recovery jogs) - 8.27 miles - 1:14:32 - 9:00 average pace.
And finally, for your listening pleasure, someone who says it all much more nicely than me....