On Wednesday I complained about my failed progression run on Facebook: "Legs. Like. Lead." What I didn't say was that I had planned it as a progression run, with each mile a little faster than the one before, regardless of how slow I started. (That was supposed to make it "easy.") Pretty much an epic fail...my splits wandered between 10 and 10:30 (mostly), not once making it below a 10-minute mile. I'm not sure at what point I finally gave up on any progressive goals and just turned it into an easy run (which really wasn't easy at all).
I counted on Thursday to rest my legs (just a morning trip to the Y, no evening exercise at all) and optimistically planned a final "long run" of 16 miles. What's more, I set myself some ambitious (for me) goals...first five miles at 10-minute pace, next five at 9:30 pace, final five at 9:00 (quickly amended to 9-9:15, in the interest of courting success rather than failure). The final mile, I hoped, would be a token sub-9.
I didn't have to go out too early, but for various reasons ended up going out about an hour later than I had intended, around 8:30. The good thing was, I find that I can get up to speed faster and better on mornings when I am not staggering out the door having barely woke up.
I geared up with my fuel belt, as I don't like to carry a handheld for such a long distance and, also, the strap on my handheld has stretched too much and fits too loosely, which makes it kind of a pain to carry. I might have to look into replacing it.
I decided to put on a Phedippidations podcast for the first hour, even though I think I run faster with music. I hoped this might help pass the time, which it did. I was also able to run faster than I thought I would, so after I finished the first podcast (Beyond the Swoosh, about Nike exploitation of foreign workers) at about 6.25 miles, I put on another (Can Marathons Kill You). For the final four miles of my run I switched to music.
My legs were much better today than on Wednesday, and I didn't have to try too hard to hit a 10-minute pace. My splits for the first five miles averaged 10:01, perfect! (10:10, 9:58, 9:54, 10:01, 10:01.) Conveniently, the turnaround point on Colby was right at the 5-mile mark too. That meant I could take advantage of some slight downhills when I started picking up the pace for the next five.
About half a mile along I stopped to use the bathroom at Starbucks, and also received a call from work about a missing file. I gave some ideas about where to find it, but concern over the missing file gave me some adrenaline that actually spurred me to run faster than goal pace, without even trying. Mile 6 - 9:20. Then... Mile 7 - 9:14, Mile 8 - 9:10, Mile 9 - about 9:12. During this time I diverted my route a little because I thought I was going to have to stop at court to look for the file. When I got a text that the file was found, I reverted to my original route and headed on my way! The last mile of that segment had a lot of uphill, but was still on pace at 9:31.
In my designation of 5-mile segments, I consider the first five warm-up, and the second five "easy." That certainly played out today. The next five I call "quality." That is where you really have to start working to maintain a pace. While I had originally thought I would go for 9-minute miles here, I realized early on that this was unrealistic, and instead of drawing the line at 9:09, I shot for a reasonable sub-9:15. Although I had a couple over that, with averaging I came out to about 9:10 for the third five miles. 9:08, 9:11, 9:17, 9:19, 8:55! I must say that mile 14 had some significant uphill portions, so I am fine with the 9:19.
Mile 15 was all flat and I pushed hard for that 8:55. All of this was on the Pigeon Creek Public Access Trail off Terminal Avenue. The Pigeon Creek portion is about .75 mile long, but I turned around at .5 so I finished Mile 15 right at the point I returned to Terminal Avenue.
My original hope had been to rock the final mile with a sub-nine pace, but that was not going to happen, no-how. Down there on Terminal Avenue I was at my lowest elevation point, and pretty much the next .75 mile was uphill as I climbed from water level to Colby Avenue. The remaining quarter mile was downhill (and then another quarter mile down to QFC). I really put on the speed for that final half mile, which is why Mile 16 was 9:20 (could have been slower). I relaxed a little after that and my final quarter was 8:54 pace.
This really was a confidence building run. I was able to accomplish what I set out to do, which is always great the week (nine days) before a marathon!* This might have been a little long in distance for this point in training, but I'm okay with it. I have been tapering (my 22-miler was two weeks ago and my longest since then was the half marathon on Labor Day, then the 15K on Sunday) and I will really taper this week. I'm thinking 8 on Sunday, 6 on Monday (subject to the surgery schedule, I guess Tuesday is also an option), then maybe 5 on Wednesday. After that I'm playing it by ear. I don't expect to run on Friday, and Saturday is a complete rest day, no matter what.
Happy weekend running (or whatever) to all!
*I am still not certain I will be able to get to the marathon. Rod is having surgery on Monday and my ability to leave him for 8 hours to travel to and from and run is still really unclear. I am taking it day by day, assuming I will do it but keeping an open mind.