Wednesday, July 22, 2009

@ 7:45/mi

The aches I'm feeling now when I get up off the couch (a man's got to eat and use the facilities from time to time) tell me I did a long run this afternoon. They still take a toll, especially when run hard; that much hasn't changed. But along the way during today's 18-miler I noticed that the run was not nearly the mental challenge that such runs used to be for me. In the old days, way back before FIRST, even after I'd done a couple of 50-mile races, an 18-miler would include several points where I'd wonder when this damn run was going to end, or would drift off into thoughts about life, work or love, or would wonder if I was indeed going to finish the thing.

Today was done in a flash. I was absorbed the entire time in running my pace: 7:45. (I didn't nail every mile, as you can see below, but on a twisting and turning 2-mile dirt trail with a fair number of walkers and joggers and some short hills and drops here and there to negotiate, did come pretty close.) The thing I'm not sure about is this: Was I able to remain single-mindedly focused on my pace because my fitness is such that running 18 miles at 7:45 in the middle of a busy training week just isn't the nearly overwhelming challenge it once was? Or did my focus on pace help me ignore the challenge of the run? Eh, it's probably some combination of the two; isn't that usually the way it works? In any case, there was little drama on this run. I felt strong and intent. I wish I had worn my heart-rate monitor because I bet, but don't know for sure, that I never went over 150 bpm (82 percent of max). I never felt like I was breathing hard. Only once, briefly late on the 15th mile, when I grew a little tired of the patellofemoral pain that had kicked in around Mile 10, did I feel some muscle weariness, the quads yacking back at me as I pushed up a little incline. Didn't last long at all, though. The trail flattened and I motored along, vowing to nail Miles 16, 17 and 18 not only under the pace goal, but progressively faster. And I did.

1: 7:44
2: 7:30
3: 7:46
4: 7:43
5: 7:48
6: 7:32
7: 7:49
8: 7:33
9: 7:39
10: 7:40
11: 7:37
12: 7:33
13: 7:46
14: 7:40
15: 7:52
16: 7:39
17: 7:37
18: 7:25
Total: 2:18:01 (7:40/mile)

A few final notes: The long run usually comes on Friday but on Sunday I'm doing Wharf to Wharf, a 6-mile race in Santa Cruz, so I thought I'd knock off the LR today, and then do an easy, oh, 6 or 8 on Friday, and then go for it on Sunday. I had been thinking I'd treat the race as a tempo run but Pfitzinger wisely says that's unrealistic; if you're going to do a tempo run, just go out and do a tempo run. If you're going to race, race hard. And that's not a tempo run.... It was overcast and cool in the morning today but I didn't get out until almost noon, so by then the sun was shining. Thank goodness it wasn't too hot and much of the loop offers shade protection. Temps were in the low 70s, maybe 75 by the end. I had a tall cycling water bottle filled with Hammer gel mixed with water and ice that I sipped after running 6, 10 and 14 miles. I drank about a third of the water bottle. I don't even know how much those hold; 20 ounces? So I had about 8 ounces of water during the run and in that small amount was probably 100 calories worth of gel. Should have had more. Pounded the rest within 10 minutes of finishing, while also downing a Larabar.

1 comment:

  1. This run is coming up for me in my FIRST program, either this week or next (I've had to do a little rearranging because I missed a week with a blister). I really hope mine goes as well as yours did. Those are some great mile splits, especially at the end!