faster paces, long runs

What a week. I have been simultaneously busy and having a GREAT time. I’ve barely had time to do anything “fun” on my computer – though I’ve been so busy having fun that I haven’t missed it! I’ve been involved in a class through my local police department that has been fantastic – I’ve learned all kinds of information about the department. On top of that, I volunteer at my church and have been needed more frequently than usual this week/month. I write whenever I can, I run every day or two, and I’ve had just enough time to finish everything, but I’ve enjoyed it all.

One fantastic element to my “fun” this week has been running, of course! On Monday, I ran 3.68 miles with an excellent pace, so on Wednesday I felt good when I began my long run. I wasn’t too sure what to expect. The wind was quite strong, 25mph, and I expected my pace to suffer, but the sun was shining and the temperature was moderate.

And the wind did blow! I ran the first half of the run into the wind, and especially during that first mile, I questioned the wisdom of running on a day like this! During the third mile, I had to run uphill AND into the wind. OH MY, that was tough! I really had to put my head down and just push through it.

photo (1)

Not sure why but I really love this photo!

At about 3.2 miles, I turned around. The change was remarkable. With the wind at my back (and a pretty long downhill stretch, too!), I felt like a new runner. What goes down must come up, and I did have to go uphill a bit – challenging but still not as bad as running uphill AND into the wind!

I listened to the voice of my Nike+ app, and used that last half of my run to push myself. It wasn’t too much, but I am confident that I knocked several seconds off my pace.

At about mile 5.5, I was running along a residential road. Ahead, I could see a woman working in the garden in front of her house, with her small dog running around the yard unchained. This in itself is not an unusual sight. Unfortunately for her, me, the dog, and the driver who was forced to swerve and slam on the brakes, the dog choose to run across the road to greet me at the same moment an SUV was passing. Kudos to the driver, who did NOT hit the dog. I picked up the ornery pooch and returned him to a grateful and apologetic owner. (Perhaps you should put your dog on a leash next time…)

Around mile 6, I kicked a stone into my shoe. Normally I would stop and remove the stone, but I was less than a half-mile from my home and my pace was fantastically strong! By the time I got home, the stone had lodged itself squarely beneath my heel, forcing me to alter my gait slightly and run only on my toes. 🙂 But I was SO CLOSE!

I also noticed, in this last part of the run, that my left bicep was beginning to feel a bit cramp-y. My armband was wrapped around that arm, so perhaps I’d pulled it a bit too tight.

One observation from this run: By the time I reached the halfway point, I was getting VERY dehydrated. I don’t think it reached dangerous levels, but it was VERY uncomfortable. As good as my pace was, it probably suffered because of this.

I ran a total of 6.38 miles, with an average pace of 14:24 – a personal best for this particular route! The rush I get when I beat my personal time like this is just absolutely incredible – beyond words!

I also noticed, both during and after the run, that I had a little stiffness in my legs. I think this might be an issue related to my – ahem – “recovery.” I rarely do anything special after my run to help with my recovery, and I’m wondering if I need to add ice baths or more-frequent appointments with my foam roller.

I took the day off on Thursday (from running, not work!) and ran again on Friday, though only 3.68 miles this time. This time, I didn’t feel strong during my ran. I ran, and I got it done, but it didn’t feel “easy.” I pushed myself, and I told myself that I’d already had two outstanding runs this week, so it was okay if I didn’t feel great. I was delighted when I finished the run and discovered that, although my pace wasn’t as good as earlier in the week, it was sub-15:00 AND it had steadily increased throughout the run. Negative splits and sub-15:00? Yes, please!

On Saturday, I knocked out another 3.05 miles. I didn’t really expect to be able to run on Saturday, due to the weather forecast, but we had a nice window of balmy weather in the afternoon. This run was only so-so, not an outstanding pace, but I tried a different route and had a good enough time so I didn’t really care.

And this has been my week. According to my calendar, my upcoming week will probably be just as busy as the week I just finished. I’m incredibly thankful that being busy has been so much fun!

One thought on “faster paces, long runs”

  1. I know those times when you hit and sustain a pace that amazes you. (I did it on the Trolley Run over the weekend.) And I know about being so close to your destination that you don’t care what may be wrong; you’re just going to finish well.

    I have become an advocate of foam rolling. Hurts when I roll, but much less soreness the next day.

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