Monday, August 15, 2011

The jet lag run

Yesterday, Sunday, I was scheduled to run 14.5 miles. I was also scheduled to be on an airplane or sitting around in an airport all day, starting at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night Hawaii time and continuing until 5:40 p.m. Sunday evening Eastern time (a six-hour difference; it was "just" 11:40 a.m. Hawaii time).

So I decided to put the run off until this morning. Chad said he'd join me, even after I told him that 9 of those 14.5 miles would be at my projected marathon pace of 7:50 per mile. What I didn't tell him is that an additional 10 minutes, or roughly a mile and a half, would be at tempo pace, 7:00 per mile. The plan was to run a two mile warm-up, then marathon pace (MP) for 40, 20, and 10 minutes, with 5-minute tempo-pace runs between each MP stretch, and a two-mile cool-down.

The first seven miles were uneventful, though we were both breathing fairly hard towards the end of the first MP stretch. Splits for those miles were 8:56, 8:50, 7:43, 7:43, 7:44, 7:44, 7:38. Near the beginning of Mile 7, we passed a park that we both hadn't seen before, and we agreed that we'd turn around at the end of the Mile 7, then do our 5-minute tempo and stop at the park to check it out.

When we got to the 7 mile turnaround, I noticed that we could see a greenway from the road and figured it must be part of the park, so I charged onto the trail at tempo pace and Chad followed behind, probably figuring I was crazy. But the trail petered out after a quarter-mile or so, and we jumped back out onto the road. I started up the road the wrong way and Chad had to turn me around. By the time I was headed the right direction I looked down at my GPS and saw a 9:45 average pace. Oops! We were only a couple minutes into the tempo, so I hoped we'd be able to make up some of the time, but a 7:00 pace for 5 minutes now seemed impossible. By the end of five minutes we'd managed to improve the pace to 7:19, which wasn't bad considering we'd nearly gotten lost and all.

We walked for a minute or two to catch our breath, then started on the next MP stretch. This was definitely more of a struggle. Chad suggested we run through Jetton Park (since we knew it was a one-mile loop) and stop at the bathrooms/water fountain for our break after the tempo phase. That sounded good to me. But after 20 minutes at MP (7:44, 7:46, 7:40), we were a little too close to the bathrooms to get a full 5-minute tempo run. Game-time decision, just stop at the bathroom anyways. I managed a 6:53 pace for 3:17, or just under a half a mile.

Now all that was left was a 10-minute MP stretch. We ran the first mile at 7:55 pace, a little slow, but that also meant there were just two minutes to go. Somehow I ended up running that little stretch at a 7:19 pace. We slowed to a 9-minute pace and headed home, 3 miles away. For me, this was the hardest part of the run, and having Chad there really helped get me through it. Our "easy" cool down was 9:13, 8:56, 8:46, and I'm sure I would have stopped to walk for a bit if Chad hadn't been there. We finished up at the CVS, where I bought a liter of Gatorade and guzzled it down. Normally I don't care much for Gatorade but today it felt like the most refreshing treat I've had in a long time.

Details of today's run are below:

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