Saturday, November 20, 2010

Great 11.5K - A Milestone

Day #5, Week #2 Road Work training
11.5K @1:22:39
Avg. Pace 7:11 min/km

An alternative title for this post could be - One Happy Camper Part II. :)

Just to start on a different note for this posting ... I created this blog back in July. What I did not expect, but have since learned in that time, is how my blog has become my detailed running diary. I am amazed at how significant this account of my running has become to me.

I am writing this now because of today's earlier run. I knew before I headed out today that running an 11.5K was going to be of significance to me because I have not tried running more than 11K since July without incorporating 10:1 walking breaks. See posts July 11 and July 22. This is when I started encountering frustration and disappointment in my running because I was no longer able to maintain my pace for those greater distances. After significant improvement and progression from March - July, I hit a plateau. In order to meet my goal of running a half marathon by October, I had to adjust my running expectations and learn to walk every 10 minutes for 1 minute in order to add mileage. This was not a bad thing - in fact, it ended up being a very good running lesson because it proved that I could adjust my expectations [read: lower them :( ], and to be more realistic about my level and what I could achieve.

So now I have come back full circle, running my first, longer-than-10K-run since my half marathon, and wondering how I would make out. I was confident that I could do it, but was feeling conservative and expecting that a pace of 7:20+ min/km would do the trick. Angus was with his daddy swimming in the river all morning so once again, Wallace and Kim formed my 10-legged running group as we headed to Springbank Park, and looped around Storybook Gardens.

The weather was ideal; it was cooler and greyer and IMO, the best running weather. I felt very nostalgic and homesick for Vancouver today while running. Although the city has nothing on this place with the autumn leaves and colours at this time of year (the only time I felt homesick for Ontario in ten years while living there was in the autumn), today's weather was a typical Vancouver winter day. There's a reason why so many runners and triathletes, etc. move out there !!! :) :) But I am here now, enticed to live in a wintry province by a dimpled, beautiful man. This is why I am out there now, on a typical Ontario autumn day, enjoying what's left before the season turns into a winter wonderland.

Wearing my freshly washed gear (wink, wink), the boys and I enjoyed the great run. Two thumbs up to all the cyclists, dog walkers and elderly people I saw on the path. It was great to see so many people out enjoying the day. Fortunately, there were a few other runners out there, too, but I think the hard core ones I usually see were already out first thing this morning, whereas I waited until the warmest part of the day before heading out.

I did not look at my pace once. I checked for mileage 3-4 times, but didn't bother to check pace because it-is-what-it-is. Instead, I let myself get lost in my thoughts, and enjoy the great feeling that kicks in after a few km. My wonderful companions behaved themselves and it is very cool to see how they have developed as runners, too!

I felt a little tired by the 9K mark, but focused on the "only 2.5K left" part instead. If it took until the 9K mark to start feeling less energetic, then I am pretty lucky today. :)

So as I sit here with a large glass of red wine to celebrate another week of running success, I feel great seeing that 3 of my splits were sub 7 and that a few more splits were "almost." I was not setting any expectations today for pace - I just wanted to run 11.5K without stopping. The pace and the exceptional-for-me splits are the whip cream and cherry on top!

Tomorrow I am resting and on Monday - 10K. My 8K Mondays and Wednesdays are being bumped up to 10Ks, but I will be running 11.5K again on Saturday. So far so good. :) :)

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