Sunday, September 25, 2011

Progressive Long Run

Target/Actual: 15-16 miles w/pace progression
First 10 mins: slow jog from my house
Next 45 mins: 7:05-7:15 pace
Next 40 mins: 6:59-6:23 pace
Last 15 mins: slow jog to my house

From my first few steps out the door this morning, I was ready to be finished with the run. Though autumn had teased us with a few brisk mornings last week, today the air hung thick and damp with 93% humidity and an oppressive dew point of 72. Trying to reconcile the post-workout heaviness of my legs with Caitlin's goal of a fast, progressive long run further heightened my dread. And though normally Sunday runs take us to novel locales such as the Whitewater Center and the Beatty trails, the weekend's almost incessant rain meant that even our default backup location of McAlpine was too messy to traverse. Instead, we'd be starting from our houses and meeting in Freedom Park just like we do for "normal" weekday runs. On the one hand, this was great as it meant I could sleep later and didn't have to drive anywhere. On the other hand, I anticipated that it would be mentally challenging to make my body run almost twice as far as it's usually accustomed to on the familiar neighborhood streets.

In the end, however, all my worries were unfounded. We picked up the pace naturally, almost imperceptibly, during the first hour with Caitlin's friend Will in tow and her boyfriend Garrett escorting us on his Huffy 10-speed. Once Will split off to head home at the intersection of Queens and Queens and Providence and Providence (for any non-Charlottean readers, yes these are actually four different roads with only two different names among them that intersect in one glorious representation of Southern infrastructure), Caitlin and I turned onto Providence and began to gradually inch down the pace. Maintaining sub-6:50 was tough on the Colville hills, but the pace quickened noticeably as soon as we turned back onto Providence and enjoyed a long flat section all the way to the Booty Loop. We parted ways at the entrance to Freedom Park feeling fatigued but not exhausted, both in agreement that steady long runs like this are just the ticket to improving fitness for the Trials. This may not be the most enjoyable type of workout, but with good company and baseball stories from the peanut gallery it turned out just fine.