This morning I nailed my second pace run in a row! Now, this may not seem like such a big deal to all you other avid runners. But, I have a severe aversion to pace runs. In fact, you say that the word alone outright terrifies me. I admit it. I’m weak in the head.
I love to run. I love just going out and hitting the pavement, running what feels good at the moment, taking in the fresh air, and (when I remember to look around instead of down at the pavement ahead of me) the scenery. The thought of pushing to a pace that is slightly uncomfortable and HAVING to maintain that pace for a set number of miles, is daunting. I work myself up in my head so much that the heavy breathing is from anxiety on top of breathing heavy from running fast.
I prayed on my way to Andrea’s house this morning for strength and endurance- like I do every morning before a run. This morning I doubled back and added courage to that as well. I know this is in my head and all I need is the courage to push myself and just get there!
I met Andrea and we started out easy, although, it felt like we were going hard at it. I looked down and we were close to a 9:30 pace… I blame the 30 degree temps this morning for making it feel so much harder. We hit the 1 mile mark and sped up. Unfortunately, on our route this morning the 1 mile mark was also the start of a hill. Nonetheless, we pushed up it and continued pace. I looked at my watch- we were 20 seconds too fast. I slowed down and did my best to maintain an 8:20 pace for the next 2 miles. Unfortunately again, that wasn’t the only hill. Not that they were big hills, but on a pace run, any hill is a HILL! We did great maintaining pace and from what I noticed only slowed by 15 seconds on the longest, steepest one.
Mile 4, we picked up the pace to 8:12. Well, that was the goal. From what I could see glancing off and on at my Gamin, we were between a 7:50 and 8:00 pace. Up to this point, the run seemed to be flying by! And I was feeling good! So good, in fact, that I was even talking! I know, again, not a big deal to all you avid runners, but instead of sucking air like usual and freaking myself out, I was holding a conversation and actually telling stories myself instead of just listening! However, by this point, there was no talking. Andrea and I were just concentrating on getting to the cool down. I could hear both of us breathing heavy. With 1 more mile to go holding our pace, I called out only 8 more minutes! Trying to be encouraging and hoping it wasn’t annoying. It was, in fact, helping me to push through. Instead of looking at 1 more mile, 8 more minutes seemed like a piece of cake- 8 minutes is NOT a long time. I started the countdown in my head, looking at my Garmin- half mile left meant only 4 more minutes! Quarter mile left- only 2 more minutes! I can do that! Somewhere along there I started burping and the distinct taste of bile was left in my mouth. I wonder if this is normal or if it’s because I don’t eat before early morning runs (unless, of course, it’s a long run…).
Anyways, by the time my Garmin beeped for our cool down to begin, I was spent. Legs of jello. I asked if we could walk for a second. I caught my breath and we started jogging again and talking again :). I felt like my legs were moving through molasses. We hit a slight hill and my legs wanted to burst. But, I could see our final destination and did my best to keep pace with Andrea and not slow us down (we had to get to work on time!).
I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised at my “toughness” this morning and last week. It may not be a big deal- I’m following my training plan after all and have spent months doing speed work, but for me to actually hit pace and maintain it, to actually complete a pace run and feel good? Well, that’s a breakthrough!
Here’s wishing all of you a breakthrough Friday as well :). Cheers!