August 13, 2008

Things are looking up

Its been a tough last couple of weeks. I haven't been getting much running done, to tell the truth. Last Wednesday, I did get my after-work run in and did 4 miles down to Chambers street, though the run was full of walking. Actually, I ran the first two miles of it well and was quite happy to call it a day at that point, but decided to walk-jog the rest of the way to Chambers. I took the outermost part of the Hudson River path - off the bicycle path and where the pedestrians mostly are - and was quite surprised by how much its all been improved and what kinds of things there are for people who visit the Hudson River Park. It's very nice, actually.

I was wiped out after that 4 miles though, and couldn't understand it. Sure, it was warm out, but not hot and not all that humid. I consoled myself by having a beer on the train as I went home. Hey, it's not drinking alone if you're surrounded by strangers, right?

This weekend's long run didn't go much better. The first four and a half miles went OK. Much less walking than anticipated and I began having that second-wind feeling during the running sections - that feeling where you know you're going just a little bit farther than you've been able to before and all of a sudden it is a little less difficult to do so. I was feeling pretty good about that. Unfortunately, my gut was feeling very good at all. I'd spend the previous day, last Saturday, partying. My bosses had chartered a bus and taken the whole office and shop out to their place in Sag Harbor, where we had a day of swimming, boating, eating, talking, drinking, and (for me) napping. It was nice to meet some of the wives and kids of the other employees. Well, it was a very long day and I hadn't gotten home until after 1 a.m. The next morning, I had the greasies and wasn't feeling very good CF-wise. So when the bowels threatened, I cut my run short and went straight home.

So I had a long run to make up. And I won't get one in on schedule this weekend. It appears to be necessary to shift my running schedule to do the long run during the week for now. So last night, not really knowing I'd be doing it, I left work in my running gear and headed for home. The first three or four miles felt like they usually do, but I could see the walk breaks getting shorter and the running getting easier. I decided not to ditch at City Hall and instead go over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was very crowded, but not too many people were being retards this time. I had to walk twice getting up the bridge, but those were short. I felt pretty good about it. And once I began the descent, walking was pretty much done for the run. My only breaks after that came at traffic islands waiting to cross the roads.

I contemplated ending it at 10K, but as I'd already played stepdaddy to my legs and beaten them into numb submission, I continued my run all the way home. Ten miles by my own reckoning. I'm pleased to say that my watch agrees.

So there's the chart. Look at the green line, especially, which is my pace. Walk breaks are characterized by a low, extended point in the green and pauses for traffic by short spikes downward. Overall, I'd say this was a fairly steady run and - most importantly - at an excellent pace. I surprised myself by my pace and am pleased by my final 10:00 minutes/mile overall pace. THAT is exactly what I want to be running come November. By comparison, here's the chart from the half-marathon - and keep in mind it was measuring miles SHORT, which means the real numbers actually aren't as good as the chart says!

Could I have kept up last night's pace for much longer? No. In fact, you can see my stride length shortening and pace dropping in the last two miles of last night's run. And my legs were beginning to let me know they'd reached their effective limit for the night. But I'll get trained up - am GETTING trained up. I think this run is good evidence of that.

I'll be out of town this weekend and on the road, so no run will happen. But probably Monday, I'll duplicate this run home and tack on an extra mile at the very beginning to make it 11.


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