I started this week with a frustrating illness. On top of that, as I've tried to strengthen and stretch my IT band, the short term result is actually a bit more painful than doing nothing. I skipped Tuesday, clipped my Wednesday run short, did an easy (but tougher than scheduled) workout yesterday, and today I was supposed to run 14 miles?
Since I ran a little farther than scheduled yesterday, I decided to do two DART loops -- about 12.6 miles rather than 14. This way, I wouldn't have to carry a fuel belt; I could just stop after the first loop and refuel/rehydrate.
These medium-length runs are supposed to be run slower than race pace; the point is to get miles on the pavement and get used to running when you're tired. Still, since I've had a frustrating week, I wanted to get a strong run in. At the very least, I wanted to finish strong.
I started off at a comfortable 9-minute pace. Everything felt good, and I kept the pace up for the entire first loop, even on a fairly big hill at the end. I got home, used the restroom, drank 8 ounces of Nuun, ate 4 GU chomps, and headed out for Lap 2. It was a beautiful, warm morning -- about 50 degrees. I was wearing shorts and a short-sleeved shirt for the first time this year; I was beginning to get soaked with sweat.
I tried to gradually pick up the pace on Lap 2, and I was succeeding. Here are the splits for miles 7-10: 8:56, 8:45, 8:45, 8:25. Mile 11, mostly downhill, was even faster: 8:09. Now if I could just keep this up for the uphill finish. I was definitely starting to tire, but I managed an 8:25 pace for the last 1.7 miles, with a cumulative elevation gain of 113 feet. I'd say that's an equivalent effort, or even a stronger effort than an 8:09 downhill leg, so I'll take it.
A good run, confidence restored. Ready for another 20-miler on Sunday.