On Friday I left the house at 0520 hrs to complete an easy 11.4 miles loop. I took a headlamp for the unlit sections of the route. Throughout the run my legs felt heavy and tired so I kept the pace reasonably easy. When I reached the dark section of the straight road on the way home (mile 7) I duly pulled my headlamp from the pocket of my high viz vest. The lamp worked well except when cars were coming against me and I couldn't see the footpath clearly - the headlamp didn't identify dips in the pavement either, but I managed. With about 3.5 miles to go it poured out of the heavens and I had to take off my glasses. I must have looked a sorry sight to passing motorists. In fact I felt better during these last miles as the rain kept coming down. I stepped into an 8" puddle with over a mile to go and soaked my shoes and socks through but still I felt good. I finished the 11.4 miles in 01:34:50 (08:19 pace @ 133 HR) .
For Saturday I had planned a fast finish long run. I completed one of these a number of weeks ago and it didn't go as well as expected ( I completed 8 faster miles instead of the planned 10). This time I had planned to do 21 to 22 miles with mile 10 to 20 at Marathon Pace (07:30 to 07:40). To make it easier I ran my usual loop in reverse dealing with all the hills during the first 10 easy miles. I also ran the 10 easy miles at a slower pace than before (aiming for around 08:20 to 08:30) so as to be fresher for the harder effort.
The first 10 mile were pretty uneventful, neither too easy nor hard but I was concerned as to how I would last with the increased pace after mile 10. I began increasing the pace 8.5 miles in so that there would be no sudden change in effort. I completed mile 10 in 07:44 and eased up the pace. Mile 11 included a downhill section and the watch beeped 07:30, so far so good. Mile 12 went by in 07:20, a bit fast but I felt great. I didn't want to disturb the rhythm so I kept the same effort. Mile 13 in 07:14 - couldn't feel better. Van Morrison's "Days Like This" started playing in my head. Is this my body or have I borrowed someone elses for the day - I'll probably feel it by mile 15 or 16. No, the miles just kept rolling by, all between 07:15 and 07:25.
McMillian in his version of the fast finish long run calls for the last few miles at 10k pace. While I wasn't going to follow this recommendation I decided to up the effort over the last mile to make it the fastest of the run. As 1 or 2 miles had gone by in 07:05 this meant a sub-7 minute final mile. I felt reasonably fresh so I eased up the pace "so far so good"...."not too bad". As I got close to home I even managed a sprint finish to the end......06:40 on the watch......."wow what a run"...Now I was out of breath but I was on top of the world. "Why can't my marathons go like this"..."I saw no sign of this run coming - my running of late has been less than inspiring - what did I do differently - the easier initial pace and lack of hills during the fast 11.9 miles certainly helped"
10 miles in 01:24:03 (08:24 pace @ 123 HR) followed by
11.9 miles in 01:26:37 (07:17 pace @ 150 HR, last mile @ 165HR)
Overall 21.9 Miles in 02:50:40 (07:48 pace @ 137 HR)
I did all sorts of calculations afterwards to see how the run compared to race performance. If I continued the 07:20 average pace from mile 11 to 20.9 onto mile 26.2 (I felt I could have) I would have run a marathon in 03:23:01 (a PB). The only thing is I don't know where this run came from and how I can get it back on demand.
Today I completed an 11.4 miles recovery run to give a total of 82.6 miles for the week. 11.4 miles in 01:40:46 (08:50 pace @ 121 HR)
I volunteered as a steward for the Women's Mini Marathon in Cork this afternoon - a 4 mile run/walk with about 8,000 participants. I was manning a junction at mile 3 with my daughter Safan. The business end of the race saw the first runner pass us at 16:xx followed closely by two more. After that they came in dribs and drabs until the road was a sea of people running/jogging and finally walking (some men in drag - good laugh). When we got back to the finish line the clock was reading 01:49:xx. The leg were a bit stiff from standing around for a few hours.
I hope yesterdays performance can be repeated for the 15 mile Cork to Cobh race next Sunday. This was the first race I ever competed in - I should get a PB.