I remember running a 10k PR a few springs ago on the UMass-Lowell outdoor track and still getting lapped by race winner Fred Joslyn, who ran 29:49 to my 31:28. After the race Al Bernier told me how distinct my old man, marathon shuffle was when compared to the fluid strides of the winner. I always appreciate that kind of honest feedback after an all-out, gut-wrenching effort.
So I couldn't help but chuckle, when I read Eric Couture's recent, well-written report on his experience at the Market Square Day 10k, especially when he referred to his cool-down with Jim Johnson as "ancient marathoner" pace.
Today I headed out into the 80-degree warmth for a medium-long run into Topsfield and back. I was running my normal 7:00-6:40 pace most of the way out, feeling pretty good, only two days removed from the USATF-NE Grand Prix 5-Miler in Merrimack, NH. My first mile back after I turned (mile 8 overall) was a bit of an uphill grind, and I maintained just under 6:40. To my surprise, when my watch beeped for Mile 9, it was a 5:58, and I hadn't felt like I had picked up the pace much. I thought maybe my Garmin was off, so I decided to maintain and check the next mile. Sure enough, it was a 6:05. Had I discovered a new secret of running efficiently? Was I on my way to a giant performance breakthrough?
Well, the next couple miles slowed back down to ancient marathoner mode and my moment of elation was passed. Upon further review when I got back to my office, my Garmin was in fact a little off, measuring the return distance about one-tenth of a mile longer than the way out. So those two fast miles were probably just an aberration.
14 miles in 1:32:30 (6:35/mi.)