I dread and dislike pace runs. It’s a sentiment I’ve shared before; they never go well, they’re friggin’ hard, and they stress me out for days beforehand. This weekend’s pace run: 7 miles. Heaven help me.
I had all kinds of excuses at the ready to bag the workout. I was exhausted from a high-pressure week at work. I was emotionally wrung out from a morning of helping my 93-year old Nana, who is recovering from a bout with pneumonia that put her in the hospital a couple of weeks ago. By the time I hit the road, it would be dark. But, this morning before I left the apartment I’d foreseen all of this and had planned ahead. I’d packed my running clothes and even plotted a 7-mile route, right from the door of Nana’s house.
Around 3:30, I floated the idea by her, about leaving for my run from her house. She said, “That’s smart. Go now so you can get it in. And that way I don’t have to worry about you running in the dark.” The lady is so cool, she instantly got it. She even told me a route she used to go when she would walk long distances when she was younger.
And so, 15 minutes later, I kissed Nana on the cheek and was out the door, Little G on my wrist and the course directions on a sticky note in my pocket. This time, I took Julie’s advice and gave myself the first mile as a warm-up, and ran it at nine minutes, giving my heart a chance to settle down, my legs a chance to warm up and my shoulders a chance to unhunch. This seems to have made a big difference, because the rest of my run was damn good. I paced myself by feel, trying to maintain the effort rather than by constantly checking Little G. Miles 4, 5, and 6 were much more challenging as I was running into a stiff headwind–even though I was working harder (as my heart rate indicates), those miles were still slower. Then, when I finally got out of the wind, I didn’t reduce effort and ran a crazy-fast final mile.
While I can’t say I love this workout yet, I must admit that this successful one has got me starting to warm to the idea of the next pace run. At least, it doesn’t seem as intimidating as it did two weeks ago.
Total time: 57:38, average pace 8:14 (w/o warm-up mile: 48:32 & 8:05)
1 mile – 9:06 (133 bpm)
2 mile – 8:09 (165 bpm)
3 mile – 8:08 (166 bpm)
4 mile – 8:16 (172 bpm)
5 mile – 8:18 (175 bpm)
6 mile – 8:06 (177 bpm)
7 mile – 7:34 (174 bpm)