Maybe I'm not quite a lost cause yet.
Today was scheduled to be my last pace run of this season. With twelve miles to run in the morning and then nothing over 8 for the next two weeks, I'm in the home stretch (so to speak) of Season 2. While my runs are still expected to maintain their quality over these weeks, Hal will not be asking me to run race pace in any of them. At least, not after today.
Now if there's anything that I've learned from trying to do my pace runs so far this season, it's that when I think about my pace, I almost always run too fast. So today, I made a specific effort to think nothing about the pace I was running, except when I had to check it.
For my opening tenth (a short, uphill bit before Half Mile Hill), my body was rather disagreeable. My legs felt tight, my knee hurt, and I got a brand-new pain in my lower back. It would have all be very disturbing if it hadn't completely gone away by the time I started down the hill. For now, I'll chalk it up to not being properly warmed up, but it's something I'm definitely going to keep my eye on. The 400+ miles of training I've done for this marathon are not going to be wasted because of some last minute aches and pains.
Other than this setback right at the start, the rest of the run felt pretty good, especially since it's my first run in a long time that took less than 30 minutes. I was a little surprised to only see 9 motorcycles, what with the rally being in town this weekend, but I guess it was still pretty early in the day. No doubt I'll come across many of them when I run through downtown tomorrow morning. (You'd better believe I'm staying out of downtown tonight.)
Now, as to what pace I was running, it was, admittedly, fast. However, I did not push myself too hard. I wasn't out of breath, and I never felt weak in my legs. I simply let myself run, and checked the splits as I went along. The good news was, I was consistent. The bad news, of course, is that I most likely could not run 22 more miles at that consistent pace. Enter, pace runners.
During the Austin Marathon, I started out with the pace runners (you know, those guys with the signs), but got separated from them early on and, instead of waiting for them, decided to keep up my pace, which of course had broken down by the halfway point. This time around, I'm going to absolutely trust those sign-carrying folks for at least the first half. If I'm feeling particularly wonderful at 13, I might start striding out, but I don't anticipate any miracles. I want to finish this race, and I want to do it solidly. I'm always better when I've got someone else to pace me, so that's my immediate plan.
Now I just have to decide which pace to run with.
82 Degrees / Sunny
27 Minutes, 44 Seconds