Yesterday, Husband and I arrived at our getaway place in Pocono Lake, PA in the middle of the day. I’d napped–the car was so toasty and dry as Husband drove through the rain–and arrived rested from my 10-miler, and relaxed. I had slipped into Vacation Pace just as we’d crossed the Delaware Water Gap. We unpacked the car, cranked the heat, and I immediately set out to buy the few groceries we’d need for the next few days. Grocery shopping in the city is as close to hell without tourists as I can get–lots of pushy people oblivious to everyone else, cramped aisles, waiting in lines to pay, clerks who don’t know how to pack a bag without squashing my tomatoes and loaf of bread–but in the suburbs it’s nearly a pleasure. Plus, there’s a great country music station on the radio up here, which is my guilty pleasure whenever I get to motor around the Poconos. I got home, and made an early dinner for us, then spent the rest of the evening baking a pecan pie, poking around online and reading a manuscript for work. I sat by the fire so warm and snuggly in my fleece, and napped for about two hours. I hit the sack around 10:30, and slept until 10:30 AM this morning. Woke up, got the coffee going, fed the dog, marvelled at the shining sun, and whipped up some ham, Hvarti, green olive and parmesan omelets for me and Husband. (People, those omelets were so tasty.) Then, I set about procrastinating with determination and concentration. I had a 5-mile pace run, my least favorite workout, on the schedule and I would do anything in the hopes that it would somehow magically disappear from my training calendar.
Well, it didn’t (shocker!), so around 1:30 PM I got in the car and drove to the least-hilly stretch of road I know around here, the loop in the Timber Trails community. The last & only time I’d run this course I was with BG, my local running buddy. It was 40 degrees Fahrenheit under sunny skies, with a strong wind in the parking lot, but I knew I’d be more sheltered once I got into the wooded development. I popped in the iPod, locked the car up, and started at a trot for my mile warm-up. I was aiming for an 8:53 pace, which is what the McMillan calculator said my marathon race pace could be based upon my recent performance in the Ted Corbitt 15k. I figured I’d start there to see what’s what. I haven’t clearly formulated my goals for the London Marathon much beyond breaking 4 hours again, primarily because I feel like simply not getting injured is goal Number 1, and anything after that is gravy. I don’t know when I will feel strong enough to begin speed training, which will affect my time goals, too. I also remembered how I kept adjusting my goals when I trained for the New York City Marathon based on the results of my training, and I am getting the sense that this cycle will be a similar situation. So, 8:53’s it was.
I restated Little G when I began the at-pace part of the workout, because I wanted pure data; I didn’t want my mile warm-up and cool down to mess with the average pace. Despite my procrastination, and dread of this pace run, it wasn’t painful as I’d anticipated. The mile warm up helped me relax my neck and shoulders, which get really tense with worry at being able to run even splits. Well, I still didn’t run even splits, but I did run about 25 seconds faster on average than I’d set out to.
1st Mile 8:43
2nd Mile: 8:45
3rd Mile: 8:21
4th Mile: 8:18
5th Mile 8:13
Average pace: 8:28
During the run, I passed a lot of the neighborhood residents who were out for afternoon constutionals, all bundled up and mostly walking in groups or pairs, some with well-trained dogs. I passed just one other runner. Everyone was friendly and gave a wave. I especially loved the older guys, the ones in their 60’s and 70’s, who were out walking by themselves. One of them had in white iPod earbuds, how cool is he? Another I passed twice. On the second time around he gave me a big smile and said, “You’ve set a nice pace!” Awe what a cutie.
But the fact of the matter was, I had set a good pace, even though it wasn’t consistent. At no point during the run did I feel like I was just slogging through, or that I could not maintain the effort and speed. I suppose this means I need to set a more aggressive pace for these bi-weekly workouts. It also means that I need to make better use o the Virtual Partner feature on Little G, which so far I have tried to use but haven’t quite adapted to yet. It would be an accomplishment to run splits that were closer together, even if they were slower than an 8:28 average pace. Any advice from my readers? I’d love to know what you all suggest my pace should be on these pace runs, as well as how to keep the splits more even.
And now, I am back to Vacation Pace–I’ve tweeted and blogged, and will soon turn my attention to making dinner and then kicking back by the fire with a bottle of beer and my Sony eReader to read my second manuscript of the weekend. I’m not running again until a tweet-up run (followed by adult beverages) on Tuesday evening. Vacation Pace–the most natural pace of all!