This week I had several God-given opportunities to run faster than in previous weeks. No racing, but a couple of workouts and one longer run that also became a workout on the fly.
Monday, I had in mind to do a 5k time trial to see where my fitness is after several consistent weeks of training. In the past, I would have done this on the track, to make sure I got the fastest time possible for my effort. However, since I generally race on the roads, I (finally) figured that it might make more sense to run the time trial on the roads.
I figured I would be able to run sub-6:00 pace for the whole thing, but I didn't know how much faster. I had a hunch I would be under 18:00, but held out hope that I might be closer to 17:00, or even under.
After a two mile warmup, I had made up my mind about the loop I would run, and set off. I felt good early on, relaxed and wondered if I would surprise myself with a 5:18 opening mile or something in that ball park. I didn't look at my watch until it beeped for one mile and I glanced down - "5:51". Ooh, not what I had expected, but I was a mile into it, so kept going. The first mile climbed a little and so the second had some downhills. Mile 2 was a 5:36, which was better. I still felt like I was running pretty relaxed as I headed into the last mile plus. I ran ~5:40 pace the rest of the way for a 17:50 5k alone on the roads. I realized afterwards that I had run the first mile on this winding section of sidewalk, so maybe I hurt my cause in the opening mile? Anyway, I'm happy with the outcome (if not overjoyed), and am still delighted to be running as much and as fast as I am right now.
Tuesday I met up with Alex Vlahos for almost 6 from his office at lunch time.
Wednesday I ran with my former everyday running buddy Nate Hausman for just over 5 from his office at lunchtime.
Thursday evening I hooked up with Alex Vlahos and Kieran Kinnare for a progression workout. The plan was 2 x 12-minutes (progressing from 6:30 to 6:00 per mile) and 1 x 8 minutes (progresing from 6:00 to 5:45 or faster). This was a Kieran workout. I jogged down to Patton Park (1.2 miles) to meet them and then we did another 1.2 together into the first rep. On the jog, we decided that we would just make it into 2-miles, 2-miles, 1.5 miles for the repeats. The first 2-mile we ran 6:17, 6:14 out on Cutler Road then jogged a couple minutes and turned to come back. The second 2-mile was 6:12, 5:54. We jogged a couple more minutes (those guys more like to stand/walk which kills me I need to keep moving) and then started the last rep. We were still on pavement at the start although Kieran had wanted to finish on the grass, so we turned in the driveway to the park and ran the Gabe's Run course in reverse. We hit the mile in 5:53 and then 5:41 pace (according to the Garmin) for the last .5+. Cooled down home.
Friday I was a little sore and did a 6.5 mile loop @ 7:30 pace.
Saturday I did the same loop again (amidst kitchen remodel at our house) @ 6:40 pace.
Yesterday I almost didn't run after failing to get out early, but my gracious wife sent me off in the early afternoon to pursue my half-marathon goal while she tended to four kids and an unfinished kitchen. I realized when I got back this was my longest run since April 2015. But the run had to happen first.
I set out on the same loop I had run the previous two days and came through mile one a little excited in 6:46. Mile two is faster but it was 6:16 and I was starting to wonder about the distinctions between being aggressive, enthusiastic and stupid. I was working, but staying relaxed as I climbed the hill to mile 3. 6:27. Mile 4 I turned right instead of left, and climbed before descending to the rail trail on 97. I pushed the uphill and cruised the down for a 6:15. Now I was starting to wonder when the pace would start exceeding 6:30 and how much slower it would be. The rail trail is flat though and I was still feeling in control as I ran a 6:09 fifth mile. Coming off the trail into the rolling Topsfield neighborhoods, mile six was a 6:10. Mile seven was 6:24 and I was glad to be over halfway. It felt like I was going to be slowing the rest of the way, but I was surprised with a 6:15 eighth and a 6:07 ninth mile. Of course, at this point, (you can probably tell based on my description,) my perspective of the run was largely limited to the numeric data feedback from my watch, but I was loving it! The last big climb was in the tenth mile and I glanced at my watch, which I was now doing with more frequency and saw the pace had slowed. But then the inevitable downhill came and I managed a 6:23. 11th was a 6:13 mostly downhill and then I had to add a little out and back at the end to get to the 13.1 goal. All told 13.1 miles in 1:23 (6:19 per mile).
55 miles for the week