Friday, June 05, 2009

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

To me this has running implications. When I'm doing speedwork, it means getting in the first part of a repetition at a good speed but without working very hard. Before my body figures out that, "hey, I'm working hard and I should be breathing hard and hurting!" When I'm doing a long run, it means getting out super early and getting the first part of the run in before my body even figures out that it's awake and running at all.

Of course there are other reasons for getting out early: it's cooler, there are no deerflies or other bugs before sunrise, There is less traffic, I can get finished earlier... I could go on. I have to get these early starts in even when I don't have any pressing work or other commitments. I realize that I'm insane about this, but there you have it.

For today's long run I managed to get out about a half hour earlier than I did for last week's disaster. I'm not sure how much difference that made, because it was cooler and I was better rested this week anyway. So I started my first of four six-mile laps on the Lester Rail Trail at about 4:20am. It was still very dark, and that slowed me down a bunch, despite my little flashlight. That 9++ minute per mile pace didn't matter too much for me; my goal is always to finish strong, not the other way around.

My goal, in fact, is always to run each 6-mile loop faster than the one before. It's fairly rare to be successful in this, but I try. I also used to try to get under 7 minute per mile pace for most of the final loop, but this hasn't happened in a long long long long time. Now it's tough to get close to eight minute pace. I wasn't too overly concerned about the numbers today. I just wanted to feel strong the whole way and thereby expunge last week's awful death march.

How did I do, you ask? After the first loop of 55:38 it began to get light, so I dropped off the flashlight and picked it up a bit. The second was much better: 51:34. Would I be able to pick it up yet again? I was and I did, but just barely: 51:09. Then came the final one. That's where I completely fell apart last time. Luckily it was still cool. And luckily I didn't feel too terrible - just a little tired and sore. As I headed east on the trail, I tried mightily to pick the pace up even more. It sure felt like I was running faster than before. Too bad the clock doesn't lie - I was right on almost exactly the same pace as I was for the previous lap. As I turned and headed back, I realized that I'd have to pick it up even faster. The funny thing is that I did. Barely once again, but I did: 50:53 (so each loop did indeed get faster) to finish in 3:29.

That's only a few minutes better than last week's time, but I feel way better about it.


Clifford Running said...

you just about run a marathon every week, I'm tired thinking about all those miles. Are you running the st. Ambrose run tomorrow moring in Brunswick?

Dan Horvath said...

Sorry I couldn't make it. Sounds like you and Marsha did well.

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