Saturday, July 21, 2012

Battle Road Long Run/Uptempo

Target: 15-16 miles w/60 mins. easy, then 5-6 miles uptempo cutting down to 6:10
Actual: 15 miles incl. 8.5-14 @6:25, 6:18, 5:56, 6:05, 6:02, 3:00 for 1/2
(1:32 for 14 + 10 mins. easy)

When I got the invite for this run from Jenn Donovan earlier this week, it sounded right up my alley. I love the shaded soft-surface trails at Battle Road and was eager to test my mileage-laden legs with some forced uptempo running. Even better, the morning dawned with the coolest and least humid weather we'd seen in weeks. Despite some residual fatigue from Thursday night's quicker-than-expected 5k, I was overly confident from the outset that this run would be great--and, surprisingly enough, that prediction actually came true! By 40 minutes in, our group was already clipping along at sub-7:00 pace, but once we crossed the one-hour threshold Jenn instantly kicked things into a different gear. I should've known that her conservative "working down to around 6:10 pace" prediction was too good to be true; after all, the weather was perfect and she just ran 34:30 for 10k on the roads. My legs were handling the pace shift just fine until the third mile, when things felt palpably more difficult. I was quickly getting discouraged until my new friend Kevin's Garmin beeped and he simply laughed instead of reading off a split. Clearly we were rolling. The mostly uphill fourth mile found me steadily slipping farther behind the group, my legs sinking and spinning into several especially loose sections of dirt, but I was proud of myself for staying mentally tough and focused on their backs long enough to regain contact at the top of the hill. As our parking lot came into view, Jenn and I realized that we'd be finishing up in between miles, but we were tired and satisfied enough at that point to be okay with it. Jordan, Kevin and Jenn's fiance Justin continued on for another hard mile, while she and I paused to catch our breath before finishing out with an easy 10 minutes.

Overall, I was quite pleased with today's run. Finishing hard on tired legs is exactly the organic sort of workout I need to begin gradually incorporating into my high mileage summer training. And if I can do it with good company on fantastic trails, then all the better!