Monday, September 28, 2009

16 Mile Progression Run

Saturday morning, I ran a 16 mile progrssion run. It turned out to be the first run to offer a glimmer of hope that I am on track to run 3:50 in December.

The goal: Run the first 8 miles at base pace. Run the next 8 miles progressively faster, running the last mile at Half Marathon pace. For me, that means 8 miles at 9:45- 10:45 pace, followed by progressively faster miles that end with a 8:17 mile.

I don't do well with terms like "progressively faster". So I figured out what each of the last 8 mile targets should be, and set up the entire workout on my nerd machine, I mean Garmin. Workout #1: Run 8 milers at 10:45 pace. Workout #2: Run 8 miles at: 10:20, 10:00, 9:45, 9:30, 9:15, 9:00, 8:45, 8:17

Here's how it all unfolded:

I planned to run the same 16-mile out-and-back course I ran 2 weeks ago, but in reverse to avoid having to run my fastest miles uphill. Leopold would ride along side me to keep me company, and to ensure at least one sighting of a black cat. We set out at 7:30am, hoping for a much-needed 2-3 hour rain delay. We stopped at the dojo to drop off Gatorade, then on to Carrier Park to start the run/ ride.

The 8 miles from Carrier Park to the dojo were pretty uneventful. I found it hard to keep the pace under 10:45, forcing Garmin (pbtn) to yell, "Slow Down!" repeatedly. Leopold wanted me to show him the screen when this happened, but I debated the wisdom of running too fast just to purposefully irk Garmin (pbtn). I decided against it. Instead, I amused myself with silly word play. Not my usual intelligent foray into the history of words (like how originally, the word “virtue” was connected to what it meant to be a true man). No, more like, "Hey, Leopold- Here's one: "more on pacing" or "moron pacing"?. Snicker, snicker. I am so funny, sometimes. Hey, that is some crazy looking dog poop. Get a picture of that, would you?

Then,a mile before the turn around point, something happened that surely foreshadowed the decline of the rest of this run. A crazed looking black cat came running full speed down an embankment towards us. Half way down, he did a little freak out, and turned around, shooting out of sight. It was like it never happened.

Next, it began to rain a cold, icy rain. I was thinking, "I should offer to have Leopold wait for me inside the dojo. I can pick him up after I finish." That's when I realized that I had only given Leopold the car key to hold in his backback. The dojo key was inside my car. We were locked out of the dojo. No shelter or Gatorade for those who irk Garmin (pbtn).

Third (thirdly?), I made a critical judgement error by turning around early.
Actually, it was more like my lack of basic math skill rearing its ugly head, but who's counting? Certainly not me, when I thought that if I turned around a mile early, I'd just have to run that extra mile once I got back to the car. Did everyone just catch that mistake? Yep, if you turn around 1 mile early on an out-and-back course, you have to run 2 extra miles at the end! Duuh!

So, we make it back to the car, finally. Leopold gets to be warm and dry while I still have to run a 8:45 and 8:17 mile, back to back. Off I went, down the path, in the rain, in the mud. The 8:45 was hard. The 8:17 was hard, but I pressed, and when I looked at Garmin (pbtn) at the end of the workout, I saw I ran 8:12 for the last mile.

After it was all over, and showers and snuggling under warm blankets was underway, I realized I had run 16 miles at 8:46 average pace, which is 2 seconds per mile faster than my marathon goal pace (BQ is 8:48 pace). Now, I know I didn't run 26.2 at 8:46 pace or anything, but still, I feel like this is a good indicator, given I have 10 more weeks of training.

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