Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This Run Goes to 11

OK, I'm not embracing the craziness that is my life right now. It's just doing too darn fast! Here I am again, it's Tuesday night (and the night before a race I might add) and I'm just NOW getting around to blogging about the weekend.

But it's still fresh in my mind so we'll go for it. After getting home at almost 1 a.m. from the cross country meet, and not done what I needed to in order to prepare, I slept in and eventually didn't get out until about 4 p.m. That was a luxury thanks to the weather, as the cold spell we are going through (and helped even more by clouds and wind) made it possible to run at almost any time of the day because it was so comfortable.

Since I was running by myself I ended up going to the Gilman Trail, which is a path that stretches northwest out of Aurora. The portion I was jumping on is just at the end of town, so you run through some beautiful woods before arriving at the Waubonsee Community College parking lot.

It's a very beautiful trail up that way, and I since I don't run there as often as I should I tend to forget that. Especially a little further up the trail to the Bliss Woods Forest Preserve. I can't describe it, maybe I'll go take some pictures this weekend.

All-in-all the path is about 12 miles long, but a marker on the side of the path showed me that I was a perfect 5 1/2 miles from Waubonsee, so I was just needing an easy out and back.

So off I went! I hit the first half-mile in 5:40, then dropped another 5:40 to reach the first mile at 11:20. Given I was hoping to complete the run in about 2:10 (or 12 minutes per mile), I was worried I was a little quick. Then again, I wasn't breathing heavy and everything felt good, so I just ran by how I felt.

I had brought two GU with me (Lime and Berry) and those GU orange chews I didn't tear into the week before. I took one of those when I hit roughly four miles in 43:26. That comes out to just about an 11-ish pace and that didn't sound right at all. But after a GU and a quick drink I continued forward and noticed that since the mile markers had disappeared up there, someone had spray-painted the distance into the pavement, and according to that all of my splits were in that consistent frame.

I hit the halfway point in 1:00:49. Still a bit confusing! So after GU and more Gatorade I turned and headed back. Same thing, each mile I hit had a fairly consistent split (between 10:25 and 10:40) so it all had to be legit, right!

With the finish in sight I picked it up and finished the 11 miles in 1:59:26. Good for a 10:51 per mile average and with a back half in 58:37 a negative split by over two minutes!

No doubt it felt good to run that well, although the weather surely had a lot to do with that. But at the same time, it was a confidence boost. Hopefully as I train up that could be my race pace on marathon day, which would get me in under five hours.

But most of all it marked a sense of accomplishment for me. After seven weeks in the program, I've done all 28 scheduled training runs! It has to be a record for me, but I can tell the difference. I'm faster, I'm not grinding out the last couple of miles of long runs like I thought I might, and I'm feeling better and recovering better.

Tomorrow I'm running my second 5K of the year, the Summer Sunset run in Geneva. I've covered the race for the paper several times but never have run it! So that is what I'm doing this year. I ran a 5K 10 weeks ago in 34:02, and I'd love to take some time off of that. That time is a 10:57 pace, so if I could shave 30 seconds a mile off that would be great.

Weather is supposed to cooperate. Should be fun!

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