I do love it when different parts of my life run parallel courses.
Last night, I had a rehearsal for my next show. We were working on a number of scenes that only involved one other actor, so we were given a great deal of freedom to try different things and make different choices. The general idea here is that it's only rehearsal, so there are no such things as mistakes.
I tried to remind myself of that as I started my second mile this morning.
Today was the first (of many) at-pace runs that I'll be doing this season. As I'm trying for a faster pace in this marathon, it means that I've got to learn to do these training runs at the correct speed, and not just quickly like I did last season. I checked the weather before I left, and it didn't sound too bad - 78 degrees. I threw on my running clothes and headed outside into (shocking, I know) incredible humidity. Even though we actually managed to get 20 minutes or so of rain yesterday, it did nothing to clear the air of that sagging wetness that has become a part of my every morning.
Still, it was only five miles, at a strong pace, and I felt pretty good. In fact, better than good. As I started down the hill, I let myself push the pace for the first time since last weekend. Half a mile in, I already felt myself getting a little winded. Figuring this was just the combined effect of the heat and pushing the pace for once, I kept myself running hard until the one mile mark when I first checked my time. I was almost an entire minute ahead of where I wanted to be.
Whoops. This was going to be interesting.
Even as I approached the two-mile mark, I'd slowed down a bit, but I was still running too fast. Between there and the turnaround point, I tried to let myself slow down a bit, but I still had to take a rest when I hit the turnaround. I was 1:40 ahead of where I wanted to be, and I was feeling it.
In order to run the time I want, I'll already have to be pushing it, so going beyond that time (especially in Texas weather) is too much. I ended up taking a few more rest breaks as I finished the run, which became more interval-based than endurance. As I mentioned before, I'm giving myself a little more leeway with my runs this week, so I wasn't too worried about it. However, beginning tomorrow, that goes away. One of my new rules for this season is that stopping while I run (with the exception of the two evil traffic lights on my route) does not stop my clock. If I'm going for an overall pace, it does not help me to measure my time and not include any rest breaks that I might take.
And I'm putting this rule into practice tomorrow. For the last few weeks of last season's training, I did not complete a long run without walking. Even though I can genuinely blame that on the weather, I have a sneaking (obvious) suspicion that my failing endurance in those long runs had a lot to do with my collapse in the last few miles of the marathon. The only way that goes away is if I train better this time.
So it will be very important that I don't go out too fast like I did this morning. Slowing down early means more strength late. While I still want these runs to be faster than I did them last season, I've got to be much smarter. It's about miles, not minutes. But hey, if I'm going to mess it up, better on a short rehearsal than on race day.
After all, it's only rehearsal.
81 Degrees / Humid
33 Minutes, 18 Seconds