This morning I felt more like my old self than I have during any run yet this year. I'm not there yet, but I can feel the possibility. It's a good feeling.
As usual, I couldn't force myself out of bed until I absolutely had to get up, and thus had the luxury of running in daylight instead of darkness. It's not great for my work schedule but it is sure nice for me! The weather was cloudy and quite cool. No rain at all.
My Fridays typically call for 8-10 miles with some pace work. I've been doing eight or nine miles so far this year. This morning I didn't have pace miles technically on the schedule but I figured it wouldn't hurt to push my legs a little.
After two rather uphill warm-up miles, I started back down several miles of gradual descent (with some flat and uphill portions). I have done this a couple times for the pace work because I think the easy downhill primes my legs to move faster. I am generally able to maintain the same average pace even when it's no longer downhill. I'm also aware that the hilly courses that I am going to be running this spring (Portland, Whidbey, Boston) have downhills as well as uphills, and I need to work on being strong on the downhill and taking advantage of it.
My first five marathon pace miles were all around 9:30 (three of them on the dot). Mile six* was a little slower, 9:44, but then I picked it up again and finished the next mile in 8:53. By the final mile I felt like I was really flying. I did have about a quarter mile of downhill to start it, and originally I was only going to go to 9.3 overall, but I felt so powerful that I ran around the QFC block three times to add almost three quarters of a mile (and this was on the flat). Total time for my final mile -- 8:14! Can you imagine?
I messed up a little then by forgetting to shut off my Garmin before going into QFC and Starbucks. While shopping for lunch and getting coffee I added .15 mile in just under 18 minutes. Yup, that screwed with my average pace all right.
Luckily I have a calculator, and by subtracting that .15 mile, I figured that my overall average pace was 9:35, and my average for the eight MP miles was 9:19.
This makes me very happy.
*Mile 8 of the entire run.