The 8 miler pace run was hard to hit. I haven't been able to hit it these past two Saturdays. I've came close: 9:14 pace for 7miles and now 9:15 pace for 8 miles. The course for these pace runs are on the hilly side. It's a challenging course and I want to continue running the same route for these pace runs so that I can push myself to do better. It's also a good way to compare the progress I've made from one week to the next. I'm not beating myself compared to last week's effort because I hit a negative split again. I am learning to start out slower and end the run with a fast finish. The first mile I hit at 10:04 pace and the last mile was at 7:19 pace! The first four miles was an average pace of 9:32 and the last four was 8:48 pace. I dropped the pace by 44 seconds in the second half. My finishing kick was 6:44 pace for 200 meters. The last mile, especially the last 200 meters, I felt like my lungs were going to explode. Basically I was redlining and I felt it. By the time I finished, I felt like I couldn't put one more step if I had to. I'm learning to finish strong. Overall, a good effort.
This is the longest run I have done since my Avenue of the Giants Marathon in May of this year. Needless to say I was looking forward to it. The only hurdle was I had to wait to do the long run until we got home from visiting family in the Bay Area. It was a four-hour drive home. Sitting for long periods in a car and then running long right after, is probably not the most ideal condition. My legs were not prepared for running. Because it was a whirlwind visit, with lots of things happening, hydrating was put in the back burner. I forgot to keep drinking even on the drive home. When it came time to run, I was dehydrated. I just had to roll with it.
I started about five in the evening, from my house to San Luis Obispo. My legs took a bit of time to get warmed up. I anticipated that so I used the first two miles to ease into the run. A positive aspect of the run was my first mile was 10:18 and the last mile was 9:13 pace. One of the negative aspects was that I did slow down by 16 seconds in the second half. This was the first time in this training cycle that I felt tired in the middle of a run. I knew this was the after effects of the pace run from yesterday as well as sitting stiffly in the car for four hours. I felt my hips get sore around the 8 mile turn around. Those are not the only things I was fighting with. The wind was pretty annoying also at the turn around just when I was tiring. I have to remember that going into San Luis Obispo on Los Osos Valley Road especially right around Foothill Blvd is always windy. I was fighting hard to keep a forward lean against the wind. (Note to self: For the next long run, avoid the last two miles of the turnaround at Foothill.) By the time I got back to Los Osos, I was feeling pretty much spent. I let my pace slow down and watched my HR go down to at least 65%. All I wanted to do is get home since it was getting dark fast and I wasn't wearing enough reflectors on me. I was on a major highway and you just never know when a car might lose control. I stopped watching my Garmin. In my mind, I thought my pace was plummeting exponentially and I felt that I was okay with the slower pace. However, when I got home my pace was only 16 seconds slower. So I was pleasantly surprised. What this taught me is to never give up on the run and don't think the worst. A marathon is long enough to make mistakes and there's time to recover when you've fallen off pace.
Week #7 wrapped up to be a great week. I am totally stoked for the Saturday 8-mile negative split even though I missed my mark with the goal pace. I was pretty happy finishing Sunday with a 10:00 minute pace for 16 miles, putting forth an honest effort, as well as incorporating back Jeff Galloway's 30-seconds walk breaks every half mile. I've been getting away with no walk breaks for shorter long runs. But the 16, I feel it's long enough that it's going to warrant the breaks. I am looking forward to next week's long runs. No pace running. It's a regular easy run on Saturday followed by 17 miles on Sunday, also easy. By the way, when I say "easy" I'm referring to efforts between 65% to 70%. I am not saying running 17 miles is easy. Just thought I make that clear for those readers who are new to running. Until next time...