Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another perfect SoCal day, so I ran 18.3

Walking the dogs at 6:30, it was a cool 43 degrees. But it was clear skies, and as the sun came up I knew it would be a perfect morning for a long run at the beach. I managed to get out the door before 8:30 and by the time I got home at 11 it would be getting close to 60, on its way to 70.

So it was shorts and a T as usual, as I headed out for some endurance training. I had a plan, broken into 3 sections. First 6 miles would be as easy as I could go, hopefully not much under 9 minute pace. Second 6 miles I would take off the brakes and let myself go and run however I felt. I assumed I would speed up to the 8:10-8:20 range where I usually feel comfortable. Then as I got tired, I planned to do the last 6 at marathon goal pace, or just under 8 minute pace, to work on my pace when tired. This would be an almost flat beach run, so a much easier course than last week when I did 17 at 8:45 over lots of hills.

First few miles  I am relaxing and keeping my stride short and quick. Splits are 9:15, 9:22 and 9:01. I am a little concerned because this is slower than I usually do this section and I feel tired already. Next 3 are a little better at 8:47, 8:41 and 8:51. First 6 averaged 8:59 - perfect. But I don't really feel like I have been holding back at all. Just feel like I'm dragging. This section is almost all wood chips with one big hill, so that does slow the pace a little. At this point I reach the beach and the rest will be along the coast and flat on the bike path. Lots of people are out enjoying the day. Beach volleyballers in bikinis, surfers, runners, bikers, tourists. And lots of runners. It's a happy place.

Mile 7 I am still relaxing at 8:46. Oh well. It is what it is. Let's just get in the miles. But then mile 8 the pace starts to drop as I start to feel better. A little more pep in my step. Mile 8 was 8:18. I stop for a GU and some water, and then I get into a groove. 8:09, 8:05, 8:03, 8:05! Middle 6 averaged 8:14, but the last 4 were 8:05. I'm getting tired, and I am over achieving, so I decide to just stay with what I am doing and see if I can maintain this all the way in. Save the sub 8 for the last 3 maybe.

But I still feel good, so the next three are 8:01 and 7:58 and 8:02. Then in mile 16 my hip starts to really hurt with each step. Fatigue kind of hurt. Plus my knees are complaining. Pace is dropping. I take a water stop and spend a little time stretching it out. Ugh, I seem to be paying for my hubris. Still 3 miles to go and it looks like it is going to suck. I start up again and take it easy, but the stretching seems to have helped and the pain is mostly gone. Eventually I start to pick it up. Mile 16 comes in at 8:20.

Now with two miles to go, I feel like I can go ahead and push it a little. My body responds well, and I finish up with 7:56 and 7:50! A 0.3 mile cooldown at 8:54 pace gets me home and I am tired but happy. The thought of going another 8 for a marathon doesn't sound ridiculous. Last 6 averaged 8:01, so I pretty much ran to my plan. Total run, 18.3 miles at an average 8:25 pace.

Feeling good, and ready for a quiet Christmas with my Dear Wife. And a 5K tomorrow.
Merry Christmas!

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