When my alarm went off, I nearly couldn't find it to turn it off I was sleeping so deeply. What is it with morning long runs, anyway? How about a nice Saturday Afternoon long run? My will forced my body into action every step of the way, until I realized I was not only really, really tired, but I was also slightly nauseated. By the time I actually pulled into the parking lot, I had to remind myself that how I felt at the beginning of a run historically played no part in how the run was going to go. I've pulled into that very lot feeling like the energizer bunny, and had my worst long run; and I've felt horrible and ended up pulling it off. Let's just see what I had before setting myself up for a predictable self-fulfilling prophecy.
My long-suffering running buddy, Travis, was of course early and waiting. At 34F, he hops out in a T-shirt and shorts looking fresh and comfortable, while I'm in head-to-toe under-armor and have hot hands tucked in my gloves and worried how long it might take to die of hypothermia. I hope it's quick.
The goal: two mile warm-up and eleven at 8:24. The first two miles come with effort. I push the pedal down the instant we hit the third mile, and by the first quarter, we are still averaging above 8:24. This isn't looking good. I press harder, and think to myself, how on earth can I hold this for eleven miles, much less one? But, as we approach the last stretch before we turn around at two-and-a-half, Travis says, "Hey, what's the goal here, 8:00s?" I look at my watch and we've dropped the average for the mile to around 8:16 (making it up a bit), but apparently we're running at 8:00 for the moment. He watches the instant pace; I only watch the overall average for the mile. This is going to work out all right.
Eventually, we find it and I feel really good. We decide after the single break after five miles that we'll go out four and back, no other stops. We think we've planned this four out into the wind and four back with the wind at our backs. At around mile seven, we pass a group of solid runners, and one extends his white-gloved hand out. I'm pumped with how great I feel and decide we're going to high-five. I realize I'm delirious. But I know by now I'm going to kill this run. The high-five seemed appropriate.
Somehow, the wind shifted or we got it wrong and the turn back was into the wind. But, I've locked in the pace and we hold it steady anyway. We surge a bit for the last mile, which ended up being the fastest. Just a bit of extra credit there. At more than fifty miles for the week; and not a thing hurting--things are looking really good for Houston, ten weeks from tomorrow.
Marathon Pace on LBTT Garmin Connect - Details