Avg. Pace 7:27/km
Avg. Moving Pace 7:22/km
I failed to run my intended 19.5K / 12 miles today, and I am surprisingly okay with it. :) My zen stones photo proves to you that I am, right? :)
It was a very tough day for running. Although it was cooler temperature-wise than in previous days, the air felt extra 'thick' with humidity. It had rained in the night (wonderful and needed!) and this ended up creating a heavier air. I knew before I left home that I would be running in challenging conditions. However, I felt alert (Starbucks Cafe Verona coffee helped with that) and lighter (that sensation as if five pounds magically disappeared overnight ... not bloated!). I was feeling enthusiastic about today's distance as well, rather than overwhelmed by it. I still hoped for the best! :)
This morning I also downloaded my 20K music playlist from last year onto my iShuffle. This is the one I created with a particular 'one minute song' to signal walk breaks every 10 minutes (I run to regular music for 10 minutes and then I stop to walk when this short, one minute lullaby plays). I didn't expect to be able to run the full 19.5K in this humidity without needing walk breaks. My game plan? Run without stopping for 16K, because this is what I have been able to do for the last few LSDs, and if possible, run 17K so I could have a sense of 'improvement'. Then, if I felt tired and sluggish after this point, try the run/walk (10:1) method for the remainder of the run to achieve my designated mileage.
For the most part, William Wallace and I did extremely well. I analyzed my splits after the fact at home, and I'm actually quite pleased with them. A significant number of splits are faster than in previous runs (striders really work for me!). There are several slower splits, but these reflect my hill climbs. I ran very slowly up most inclines, which proved to be my "pace killers," but otherwise, I did quite well on the flat ground. I could feel how steady my pace was, too. I felt good for most of it. I was quite hopeful that I could run my intended distance in its entirety after all, as long as I remained on this slower, cruise control pace. I also thought about how important that treadmill run earlier this week had been for me. I am not sure I would have been feeling so positive about yesterday's or today's runs if I hadn't accomplished that particular 10K with striders when I was feeling so low.
There were quite a few runners out on the running paths. I didn't see any organized running groups, but I did see quite a few 'foursomes' and 'couples.' I spent a lot of my time smiling, waving, and saying hello. Most runners were very good about being supportive to one another today. :)
I noticed today how many runners were running at a slower pace. Some extremely fit people were not running that fast; in fact, they looked quite sluggish. :( Witnessing this helped me to keep it in perspective. I may not be running very fast, but neither is anyone else. It's about getting the longer distance done slowly rather than focusing on one's race pace. We all suffer slowness together!
In previous weeks when running 16K, I usually started feeling tired in the 14th km. Today, I was good until just before the 16K mark (so an improvement). By this point, we were running by the sewage treatment plant in Greenway Park when Wallace needed to do his business. I'm assuming that maybe it was the combination of the smell from the plant in the thick humid air, and stopping for several minutes for Wallace, but when I started to run again, I could feel that it was over for me. I was done. Finis. I just couldn't get going again. I walked for a bit before deciding to reset my watch, thinking that I might still run/walk the rest of the way home, but I never got my oomph back. I was out of water after emptying all four bottles and I didn't have the heart or drive to continue.
The truth is, if you look at my posted schedule on my blog, I have been one week ahead on my LSDs for two weeks. Back on July 10th, I was supposed to run 14.5K / 9 miles, but I upped it to 16K / 10 miles. I was running my second LSD 16K last weekend when it was supposed to be my first. Clear as mud? LOL! I have been anticipating this 19.5K for weeks now, knowing that it would be a big challenge, so I worked in a little wiggle room in case I didn't achieve it the first time (today). I was quite sure that I would need a second crack at it (next Sunday) and this is how I worked it in without disrupting my schedule too much. If at first you don't succeed, try try again! :)
On a final note, I decided to look back in my blog to see where I was at one year ago. Wow! I commented on missing multiple runs due to the humidity, I was running 45 seconds slower per km than I am now, and I hadn't even started half marathon training yet! I recall feeling overwhelmed by the thought of running 13K, too. I skipped my scheduled 13K three times before finally tackling it! I feel jazzed about where I am at now with my running, and enthusiastic about the level I could be at this time next year if I keep working at improvement. :)