Wednesday, September 14, 2011
It's been a long week. I know it's only Tuesday (well, Wednesday morning now technically), but it's been a long week. Despite feeling like crap for most of the day and despite -- but also because of -- a very stressful two days of work, I had the great idea of trying to get my Tuesday four miler -- just like Hal Higdon wants -- in at 11:00pm. My resolve wavered as I got ready...I just didn't feel up to it. But I decided I'd feel better about myself if I at least tried. Turned out to be a great idea.
Since it was shorter than my usual distance, I set out without my hydration belt. No water, orange Gatorade, or Sports Beans. I also decided I was going to run it as fast as I could.
It turned out to be 4 miles in 35:22, an 8:50/mile pace. Not as low as I'd like to be for a 5K, but considerably better than the last time I recall going out with the goal of running 4 and keeping my pace under 9:00, which was a lunchtime run back in January, before my IT band trouble.
More importantly, though, this was fun. It was nice to have a run that was over in under 40 minutes, rather than over an hour and a half. It was enjoyable to just turn my brain off and focus on running as fast as I could, rather than worrying about pacing myself for the long haul. It was a throwback to the summer of 2008, when all I did was two laps around Cousler Park several times a week and try to break my personal records.
I've longer distances than I ever thought I'd attempt back then; I'm proud of that and have no plans stop running longer races, but I do think that summer was when running was the most purely fun.
Every week in my marathon training, I've got runs on Tuesday and Thursday that don't ever get longer than 5 miles. I admit, I really don't care that much about how fast I run the marathon. I think just by getting in more 20-milers in training I'll be better conditioned and between that and smarter pacing early in the race, I can shave off a decent amount of time. I'm not that worried about tempo runs or speedwork (Novice 2 doesn't have speedwork, anyway). But I think I'll take one of those short runs every week and just go as fast as I can.