Dabbling With the Speed – Game ON!

On the 18th of June I did Big Horn making it about 50k into the race before being pulled on a time cut off. On the 25th of June, I ran my 50 miles with Ryan in the mountains. I’ve taken it easy the last 10 days as I recovered from those two big efforts. Now it’s time to get serious and start thinking about that fall marathon goal — to break 4 hours at City of Trees on October 9th. Last year I ran a 4:20:59. I have some shaving to do on that time to whittle my way towards the eventual “Holy Grail” of running a Boston Qualifying Time at a marathon by the time I’m 40. I’m 38. It’s a good goal with some stair steps I need to climb to get to the eventual 3:45:00 required to earn that coveted label. Last year I PR’d by 37 minutes. If I could shave off a similar amount this year, I’d BQ already. I’m thinking that huge chunk I shed last year in time isn’t likely to repeat itself as quickly. I have read that it takes the average Boston Qualified runner 10 marathons before they finally achieve their goal. This year’s City of Trees race will be my 4th marathon. My first was October of 2009. I ran a 4:57 that year. It was 40 degrees and rained the entire time. I got lost. I bonked hard. I’m older and wiser and I know the course better these days. 🙂 Let’s hope some of those lessons (and all the training I can squeeze in between now and then) will help me to achieve an even better time this year!

I waited until the sun was setting before setting out on my run tonight. I’m crazy in love with running at dusk or after dark. When I first started running (I use that term loosely) I didn’t really have anyone to do it with me. I ran alone. I was embarrassed about how overweight I was and I huffed and puffed my way around the neighborhood feeling entirely self-conscious, like a naked, fat woman in a fish bowl with everyone pointing and staring and teasing. At least that’s how it felt at first. So, I’d often wait until nearly dark before I’d lace up the shoes and head outside, hoping to avoid the stares of the neighbors. I learned to love the safety of the darkness. Most of the neighbors were in their houses by that point. I had the streets entirely to myself. I remember the scent of dinners being cooked and laundry being dried as I’d make my way around my block over and over and over until I reached my required 30 min of run/walking for the night. I’d look up at the heavens, black as velvet above me, the stars twinkling and glowing. I felt like the luckiest woman alive to be staring at that beauty and breathing that fresh, clean, evening air while everyone else was sitting in front of their tv sets or computers or putting their kids to bed. Being the Mom of five young children, it was also the only quiet time in my entire day. I’d jog along and feel the stress start to release from my shoulders and relax for once. Evening runs became my secret escape.

As time has gone on, and I’ve lost the weight and my children have gotten older, I’ve started running in the daytime more. But tonight I revisited my little world and found it to be just as refreshing and private and rejuvenating for me it was when I first began back in May of 2008.

I did 4.53 miles. 8:59 ave pace. 40:45 total time. Ave HR overall: 176. During Speed miles Ave HR: 183 Best Pace: 6:49. My splits: Mile 1 (warm up) 10:11. Mile 2: 8:15. Mile 3 (took a 1 min walk break at the beginning just to help my body ease into this even though I felt fine) – 9:13 counting that 1 min walk. Mile 4: 8:54. Last .53 — 7:48 ave pace (finished strong.)

I was surprised how comfortable an 8:15 – 8:30 pace felt after this long. I focused on my form. I swung my arms a bit higher. I remembered to relax my hamstrings and stride and run tall. I also did something a little quirky. I didn’t wear socks. I thought it would keep me cooler – but it just gave me a blister when some sand and pebbles worked their way into my right shoe and I could feel a hot spot forming from about mile 2. Oops! Guess I’ll wear the socks next time. 🙂

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