It seems like my Google reader was full of 20-mile weekend run reports this weekend. All of them successful, go runners! Most of them also quite a bit faster than mine. How anyone can do a 20-mile training run at a sub-nine pace (in some cases, sub-eight), boggles my mind. In my case, I didn't even manage sub-ten this time around.
I'm trying not to dwell too much on my pace, though. I'm telling myself that long runs are supposed to be slowwww and eassssy. I'm telling myself that it doesn't matter that all of my long runs last fall were sub-ten (9:30-9:45 pace, mostly). I'm telling myself that my 10.5 mile run from Friday (with some marathon pace miles in there) tired my legs enough to slow me down on Saturday morning.
All of those things are true. And if this also is a harbinger that my marathon time (assuming I manage to get a marathon done) will be slower than I would like, well, too bad. It is what it is. (I sort of hate that phrase!)
Anyhow, I headed out on Saturday morning at 7:15 to put in the 20. (That was 15 minutes later than I had planned, of course.) The weather on Saturday was perfect, upper 50's to low 60's in the morning, and lightly sunny. Not hot at all (so I don't have that excuse to fall back on).
My route consisted of a nine-mile loop through Marysville, about three miles over the highway to Everett, and the remaining eight miles looping through Everett.
While not fast, I was at least pretty consistent. Most of my miles were in the 10:25 to 10:35 range, with the few that were even slower mostly understandably so. Miles 1-8 - 10:24, 10:25, 10:31, 10:28, 10:26, 10:36, 10:30, 10:29. Mile 9 was right down State Street in Marysville and it was inexplicably 10:54 (although now that I think about it, there was a little problem with a starting and stopping of the timer at one point, perhaps I mistakenly let it run at a stoplight).
The almost-three miles across the highway (along the shoulder and over some bridges) is my very least favorite part of the route. I hate the traffic, I hate the wooden walkways along the bridges. I would have thought those miles would be slower, but maybe (despite slowing on the bridges) I tried to hurry to get it over with. The final mile includes quite a bit of uphill. Miles 10-12 - 10:33, 10:29, 10:59.
After the unpleasantness of the highway, the almost deserted roadway (and good sidewalks) on East Marine View Drive in Everett was almost lovely. My legs were getting a little tired, though. Miles 13-15 - 10:27, 10:45, 10:37. As I'm running this part of the route, I started reconsidering my plan for finishing. Originally I had mapped it out to go down along the waterfront then loop back up. Even though that worked on Map My Run (and probably would work), I started to worry that this would take me long and I would end up too far from home. (It's not just that I didn't want to run extra, I was also on a time schedule.)
I decided that if I got to fifteen miles by Broadway (QFC), I would just do the remaining five miles on Colby and Grand Avenues without going all the way down to the waterfront. Colby and Grand are familiar stomping grounds for me and I thought that would make it feel easier.
I did hit fifteen right at Broadway, so I headed up the hill on Everett Avenue to Colby and headed north. After two miles I was at 10th Street. I probably should have gone a little further but I cut over to Grand and started backtracking. Of course, when I got back to Everett Avenue I was still only a little over nineteen miles, so I continued on for a couple more blocks before turning back and heading back down the hill to QFC.
Let me tell you a little about my legs during this little jaunt. They weren't happy. They weren't speedy. They were, pretty much, turning to concrete. In the last mile I pushed hard for a final kick and you know what my time was for that mile? 10:13. Yes, it was faster than the other miles but it was hardly a big kick. Miles 16-20 - 10:46, 11:01 (yes, things were getting hard), 10:35, 10:28, 10:13.
I had to go around the block at QFC to get over 20, so my final distance was 20.02 miles. I looked at the Garmin when I stopped at Starbucks and I think my average overall pace was about 10:35. I am not exactly certain because a funny thing happened at Starbucks while I was waiting for my drinks (a post-run mocha, with an Americano chaser to caffeinate me for the rest of the afternoon). I inadvertantly pushed the start button on the Garmin and let it run for a few minutes. So my final split was .03 miles in 2:26, which was a 30 minute per mile pace. Ha. Ha. Ha.
The good of this run was, of course, the consistency. The bad was not so much the slowness, but the lack of confidence in my ability to run fast(er) when the time comes!
Sunday was a deserved rest day, although I did break down and go to the Y in the afternoon for a stint on the elliptical.
This morning I dragged myself out of bed at 6 a.m. (at least 15 minutes later than it should have been) for a Monday morning recovery (or whatever) run. As I wrote last week, even though this was a recovery run, I've been trying to put a little fun (and quality) into the Monday runs. Today I worked at pushing a 10 minute pace for a couple of miles, then did some more fartlek or interval work to add some bursts of speed to the other miles (which does wonders for the average pace). Mile 1 - 10:36 (the first half slower than 10, the second half faster). Mile 2 - 9:42. Miles 3-8.6 - 9:05, 9:17, 9:19, 9:03, 9:04, 8:51, and .6 at 9:52 pace. The kind of neat thing about those faster miles was that I achieved those paces by alternating a pushing pace with a jogging pace. Now, I'll admit that the fastest ones had more pushing than jogging (and the final .6 was almost all jogging!).
Average pace for 8.60 miles, 9:23 per mile.
Late this afternoon I had some iPod traumas (I won't take the time to describe it all), but by the time I got the iPod to sync and I managed put back some of my playlists and podcasts that had been deleted in my fumbling around, it got late. In fact, it is late. (Well, 7 p.m.) Which sort of puts a pall on my plans to go for a walk (listening to a podcast) in order to help work off some of the chocolate cake and tortilla chips I downed during my computer drama. Darn it. Maybe I still have time for 5K if I hustle...at least that'll put a dent in it!
So I'll be on my way then.