It started on Saturday with the first 13.1 mile run with the Team. Even though it was billed as a 13.1 mile run, it really wasn’t for most people. On our team runs, we do an “out and back” run. So to do a half marathon, that’s run 6.55 miles out, then turn around and run it back.
Coach Kelly uses the “ish” school of measuring training miles. It was 13.1-ish miles considering where the turn-around point was on Saturday… so Rob and I went ahead and ran an extra 0.3 miles before turning around and heading back in. I didn’t feel great on that run. My upper legs didn’t seem to have any energy. Not a bad run, but not great. Still, I felt good for getting the extra distance in… even though I went out faster than intended. We ended up on a 9:33 minutes/mile pace, which is not far from my target race pace of 9:06. For your long runs, a minute over pace is probably better.
Normally I wouldn’t worry too much about that, but I had a five mile race the next morning. The photo above is the start of the Super Sunday 5 miler (click to enlarge). Below is a shot of people finishing; you can see Rob and Pete in the shot if you know who to look for.
I had a REALLY good race. I went into this hoping for a 9:00 pace. I wasn’t sure if I could do it, considering I had just run a half marathon the day before, but that was the goal. I found myself moving really well for the first mile, but with the big crowd and all the weaving I was doing, I clocked 1.1 miles of running before I got to the 1 mile mark on the course. That first mile took me 8:39, over 20 seconds better than goal. I was breathing really well at this point, four steps per inhale, four steps per exhale. I knew I could go faster, but wanted to save something in the tank for the final mile. I eased up the speed just a little.
I finished mile 2 at 17:01. That meant mile two was 8:22; I was really moving well. My breathing was still good, but at race pace. Three steps on the inhale, two on the exhale. That’s my target breathing rhythm… I can sustain running at that level for hours at a time, and because it’s an odd number of steps per full breath, my diaphragm isn’t always working with my body in the same position. Weird, but it helps a lot, as every other inhalation is happening on the opposite foot. It helps prevent cramping.
I finished mile 3 at 25:04. Translation: an 8:03 mile. This was approaching my best pace for a mile, and the 3/2 breathing rhythm was still working well for me. I knew it was too soon to kick, so I focused on maintaining the pace. The 3/2 began to unravel in mile 4… having to go inhale on 2 steps, exhale on 2 steps for a bit. I switched back and forth, mostly maintaining the 3/2, and finished mile 4 at 33:01… I had run a 7:57 mile, there was only a mile to go. Time to push.
Again, because of all the bobbing and weaving in the first mile, I still had 1.1 miles to go… and my watch was starting to tell me that its battery was low, and about to die. I decided to race the battery, and try to finish before it gave out. I didn’t quite make it. The watch gave up at 4.6 miles. When it died, I pushed even harder. Breathing rhythm goes to the side at this point, it’s time to stride hard, and finish strong.
I ran the last 1.1 miles and finished the race at 40:28. That means the last mile was at 6:46 pace; faster than I’ve ever run before.
I feel really good about how Sunday went down. I set personal bests for the mile, 5K, and 5 mile distances. Monday is off to a good start, too. No soreness whatsoever. Today’s a “rest” day, but I’m tempted to bang out a few miles, just to do it. We’ll see how it goes; I know the rest day is important. I also know that the last few weeks, I’ve been missing a day of training anyways, so might as well get in some miles now, because I know I’ll miss a day later.
Hope you’re having a great week!