I continue to feel pleased with my ability to follow my Portland training schedule. (We'll see if I still feel pleased after my upcoming 18-miler.) Now that I'm back to the long runs, I know that the amount of time running takes out of life will have more impact on my plans and the plans of others.... so I have tried to plan my schedule to accommodate life, and stay open to changes as needed.
My longest run so far (since Boston) was my 16-miler last week, which I did on...Thursday night. Talk about tweaking the schedule! We had plans for the weekend, and I suspected that spending three hours running might be burdensome, so I put the run on Thursday night after work.
Now, I am not a huge fan of running after work. Even though my body tends to be looser at the end of the day, my mind is weary and that makes my body weary. I am not someone who finds a great release in running at the end of a hard day. But sometimes it is the only option. So I did it.
I got home from work as quickly as I could, changed clothes, and was out the door at 5:40. Earlier I had mapped out a route so I had an idea how I could accomplish the sixteen miles. This basically consisted of doubling my typical eight-mile route. I generally prefer doing something different than multiple loops, but for this time of day I wanted to stick to an area that had plenty of sidewalks and little chance of encounters with commuters rushing to get home. There were plenty of those on my downtown route, of course, but I felt secure on the sidewalks.
I was able to get under a 10-minute average pace somewhere during mile 3. My only speed goal was to (hopefully) average under ten for the whole run. Most of my individual miles were 9:45-9:50, with a few faster splits to average out my slow beginning and a lag (9:59) in mile 11. I started out with music on my iPod, but after eight miles I switched to FM talk radio for a change. I suspected that I might be a little slower with the radio, but my pace tended to be pretty constant regardless.
The radio was a bit of a mistake in another sense, though. I didn't realize this, but apparently radio drains your battery a lot faster than recorded music. About halfway through mile 13 I was planning to switch back to music for the final kick, but I was dismayed to see my battery fully depleted!
So I had to do the last couple of miles music free. Except for this running through my head, the last thing playing on the radio before I lost power.... (click at your peril).
I finished with 16.06 miles, 9:51 average pace. It felt hard. Not hard to run or maintain that pace, but the entire run just felt hard on my body. I attribute that to the overall exhaustion from the workday and the run. When I got home, I got in the car and drove to the nearest open Starbucks for a post-run mocha!
On Friday Rod and I drove east to his cabin in Eastern Washington (north east central Washington, to be precise). We had hoped for a little more summery weather than at home, which we got, interspersed with rainstorms! It was still an opportunity to lounge around and read, go see the Harry Potter movie (I have now seen the first and last movies, though I have read all the books), and catch a free concert at the Ephrata summer music festival. (Also eat barbecued ribs on Friday night and pizza on Saturday!)
On Saturday I got in an early 10-miler on the hilly gravel roads around Rimrock. I didn't stress on how much slower I was on gravel roads than pavement (10:45 average pace overall). I don't know if it was the slow pace or that gravel on dirt really is easier on the legs, but my legs never felt beat up after that run. By Monday they felt fresh with no weekend residual soreness! I was able to run 6.41 miles in an hour Monday morning, 9:21 average pace. The rather short distance was due to my need to get to work on time--an ongoing burden!
Today (and for the rest of the week), I put into play another another juggling act, switching around my scheduled runs. Originally today was a tempo run, Friday would be the 18-mile long run (already a switch from the typical schedule), and Sunday would be a medium-length pace-type run.
Rod had some ideas about things to do on Sunday, so I agreed to switch my weekend run to Saturday. In fact, I switched it right into a five-mile road race in Snohomish! I noticed that my tempo run today was supposed to include 4-5 tempo miles...so I traded that to Saturday. The race will be my tempo run.
So today's new plan was eight miles with three at half-marathon pace (8:30) and three at marathon pace (9:00). Unlike some other runs, I thought I could manage that fairly easily. By "easily" I simply mean doing it. I don't mean that it would be an easy run.
And it wasn't especially easy, but it got done. First 2.2 miles warm-up at sub-10 average. Then three miles at HMP goal pace (8:29, 8:23, 8:31), followed by three miles at MP goal pace (8:50, 8:58, 9:05), and a fast finish with just under half a mile at 7:44 pace (mostly downhill, I'll admit). If I'd realized how close I was I would have bumped it up to a half mile finish, but there was that whole pesky gotta-go-to-work thing happening again.
The next run isn't until Friday--18 miles! I need to try to start early in the morning so I don't run out of time. I realize that doing an 18-miler the day before a road race is not a recipe for a PR. Well, I'm not looking to find that sub-40 five-mile in this run. Really I consider this a training tool, running a hard(ish) fast(ish) race on tired legs. We'll see how it goes.
I'm still planning on getting out a race recap on Langley. Plus I want to write about my experience with body composition testing today. (It was a good experience, very empowering!)