Sunday, February 13, 2011

Surprisingly Speedy Long Run

This was one of those times that really make you wonder if you can ever accurately predict what's going to happen on your long run. I had so much trouble waking up and dragging myself out of bed. The boys were at a sleepover at my Dad's so we didn't have to set any alarms, which is always nice, but from about 5am on I was tossing and turning, watching the clock, and wondering if I shouldn't just get up and get this run over with.

I didn't manage to get out the door until well past 8:30 in the end in no small part due to the fact that I really didn't know where to run, didn't know if I wanted to run, didn't really think I would have a good run, and wasn't all that inspired to be running at all.

The cold weather we'd been having at least broke a bit and as I set off the thermometer at our house read a little about freezing. This meant that I could wear less stuff and I could wear a baseball hat for the first time in a long time. I told myself to just put one foot in front of the other and tried to not think about running too much. I typically don't listen to music while I run, but on this occasion it was a must. I dialed up Neil Young's "Greendale" on the iPod and off I went.

Right from the start, even though my left ankle was feeling a bit stiff and I wasn't all that energetic, I was running faster than I'd anticipated. My goal was to simply run a solid pace, nothing spectacular, and hold it for the entire twenty-four to twenty-six kilometres. The first split was just that: unspectacular. 5:37/km, 9:03/mile. The second split had me wondering what the Hell was going on: 5:01/km, 8:05/mile. It was too easy to be running at this pace this early in the run.

It would be the last time I'd run any kilometre above 5:00.

For the first ten miles, with Neil in my ears, things went flying by. Bad footing on account of some shoddy sidewalk plowing was not slowing me down very much. The hills that I hit along Eglinton Avenue were also not slowing me down despite the fact that they were definitely not easy to traverse. I didn't start feeling all that tired until well past the ten mile mark. I had been eating Gu Chomps periodically as I carried one package with me and those I'm sure helped. And even though I kept trying to tell myself that slowing down a bit was OK my pace just kept on chugging along faster than any other long run I'd ever done.

I won't lie and say that the last third of the run was just as easy as the first two thirds. It was not! But I managed to keep my focus and kept the pace very steady. As I neared the end of my run, which somewhere in there ended up being twenty-six kilometres or so because I'd decided that I wouldn't be satisfied with anything less, I thought back to my training for the week and decided to try and run far enough to hit 70km for weekly mileage. I don't know what made me misremember (thank you Roger Clemens for that ridiculous non-word), but I thought I'd accumulated 43.8km up until this run. Therefore, after hitting twenty-six km I decided to run two hundred more metres.

And I did, for a total of 26.2km (16.28 miles) in 2:08:16. Average pace was 4:53/km or 7:52/mile.

Then, as I loaded the Garmin data up onto the computer, I noticed my blunder. I had only run 43.6km before this run and so the total for the week would not be a nice round seventy km, but rather a somewhat crooked 69.8km.

Oh well. It's still the fastest long training run of my life. Based on this pace I went through the Half Marathon mark less than 30 seconds slower than my personal best for that distance. That's nuts! And very gratifying.

I think this coming week I will keep up with the mileage, but I will ease up on the speed and tempo stuff. As fun as this run was, and even though it didn't feel any more difficult that your average long run, the pace must have taken some sort of toll and I have to be wary of that.



Blogger Nelly said...

wow, you've been flying on your training recently! nice work!

February 13, 2011 at 2:31 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home