Saturday, September 14, 2013

Uptempo Long Run

Target: 16-18 miles incl. some uptempo
Actual: 18 miles in 2:00 w/4+ @6:09 pace

After a litany of emails back and forth throughout the week among myself, Hilary Dionne and Sarah Bard (two speedy BAA ladies), Sarah agreed to come up to Salem for a Saturday morning long run. (Hilary had to start early and I was dying to sleep past 7am, but I'm sure our paths will cross another day.) Sarah had never been to the North Shore before, but I promised ocean views, ample bathroom opportunities and post-run refreshments at Life Alive--what more could you want?!

Despite my excitement for the run and for hosting Sarah, I was also a bit hesitant about how this would go. My run on Thursday morning after Wednesday night's speed workout was a death march. I haven't felt that terrible in months. Clearly I was exhausted, because that night I went to bed--I'm talking lights out, head on the pillow--at 7:45. Now don't get me wrong, I've seen my fair share of 8:30 bedtimes and I'm rarely up past 10 on a weeknight, but even for me this was a new low. It worked wonders, however; 11 hours later I was up and at 'em and feeling like a new person on my Friday morning run. Perhaps Saturday wouldn't be so bad after all.

Except, from the outset, I felt horrible. Even as we jogged into the early miles on the soft surface of the Marblehead rail trail, my legs felt heavy and sluggish. Sarah's plan called for 8-12 miles uptempo, anywhere from 6:20 to 6:05 pace, and here I was struggling to feel comfortable running a minute slower than that. But gradually I settled in, and as we approached the one hour mark our pace naturally progressed down into the 6:30s. After a quick stop for water and bathrooms at Devereaux Beach, it was time to crank down the pace and take on the rolling hills of the Marblehead Neck. My legs still felt terrible--worse, actually--on the challenging terrain, and I couldn't have been more relieved when Sarah suggested we back the pace off again after one loop around. The remaining miles hovered in the 6:35-6:45 range, undoubtedly the most comfortable of the day, and by the time we finished in front of my building (just as the clock clicked over the two-hour mark; couldn't have planned it better) I felt like I could've easily gone another handful of miles. Go figure.

Overall, I'm pleased with the end result of this run despite not feeling too chipper throughout. I have to believe that my general state of fatigue means my body is absorbing all the quality work I've thrown at it over the past few weeks and preparing for a major breakthrough! Whatever the case, it was fun to take a new friend on one of my favorite local running routes...and the Life Alive smoothies weren't too bad either.