Monday, September 12, 2011

My 9/11 Run

 I set a goal today of running 9.11 miles at a 9:11 per mile pace. The idea was to do something in memory of those who died. A small gesture. Maybe it was just an interesting twist to put on the run. Anyway, I normally would run an easy day more like 8:30-8:40 and find it difficult to go over 9 minute pace for that long. So I tweaked the rules a little to let me run a little harder.

For all my runs, I stop the Garmin at stoplights or water breaks, so that my G time is a reflection of my running time. Today I would just let the clock run. The total pace would still be an accurate minutes per mile for the run, but it would include 2-5 minutes of downtime, thus forcing me to run faster during the run time. I set my Garmin to just show 2 numbers, distance and overall pace.

So I head out and there is a stoplight at the end of my block after 0.1 miles, and I hit it with a wait of maybe1.5 minutes. I watch the pace go from 9 to over 15 before I can finally start moving. I am taking it easy though, because I know I will have plenty of time to make it up. After mile 1 I have the pace all the way down to 10:09, and at mile 2 it is 9:40. Time for a short water break, but then I continue on. At mile 3 it has only dropped to 9:37.

This whole run, I am doing math in my head. Which is fine, because I like to do math in my head. But after mile 3 I started to think I better step it up a bit. I hoped to have it down to 9:11 pace by mile 6 so I could just keep it there the rest of the way. So miles 4 and 5 I am pressing a little, probably running under 8:30. At mile 4 I was down to 9:21, and by mile 5 i was down to 9:11. Phew!

So I took another water break and then took it easy up a short steep hill. Suddenly I am close to 9:20 again! I pick it up a little, but I am really tired! It is warm, and I had a busy Saturday.

So the reason I am tired is that I had a killer brick workout on Saturday - My last swimming and biking workouts before next Saturday's triathlon. I started with a 1-mile ocean swim (longest ever). The water was flat and I felt really good until I turned around and swam into the current on the way back. Still, an encouraging swim. I walked back home and hopped on the bike for a 25 mile bike ride. I was getting pretty tired in the last ten miles, mainly because I was fighting a nasty headwind the whole way. By the time I woke up Sunday I was sore in lots of places, and feeling a little burnt out. But I had a run to do.
***End of Intermission***

So I reach the next water stop at 6 miles and just have it back to 9:11 pace. After drinking and pausing it is back up to 9:13, but I try to relax and run at about 9 minute pace, which feels fine because I am tired and hot. I cruise along and let it drop to 9:09, 9:08. At 7.5 I stop again for water and it is back up to 9:10. I start to plan my finish.

The route should put me very close to 9.11 miles when I get home, but I have that long light waiting for me, a tenth of a mile before home. I may hit it perfect, or I may have to wait up to 2 minutes. I decide I need to have some time banked in case, and then if I need to, I will walk the last block as needed. I get it down to about 9:08 and try to keep it there as I head home.

So I crest the hill and see the light, and.. I just missed it. I still need to run .2 miles so instead of standing and waiting I jog down to the next light, not far away. Still I have to wait. 9:09.......9:10.....I jog a little up and down the street to slow it down...9:11...dammit, turn green!

Finally the other light turns yellow and I don't wait any more and go as soon as it is safe. Watch says 9:12 and I am at 9.05 miles!!! I sprint madly up the street! When I pass 9.09 miles the pace flips back to 9:11. I keep going, slowing a little and finally get to the magic screen and hit stop. Did it!

So, that made an LSD day into a very interesting run. I actually did spend some time thinking about the victims during the run too.

Here are my actual mile splits:
10:08, 9:13, 9:28, 8:34, 8:32, 9:13, 8:49, 9:28, 9:01, 1:14 (last 0.11)
83:41 total time



  1. Wow, that's really great! I'm impressed that you hit the average pace part of the challenge.. way cool!

  2. Perfect!! I think I'd be messing with my watch way too much to figure out what to do - ha! Good luck with your tri this weekend, sounds fun!!