Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Week 8/17 HM Training - Run #1 13K with Aha! Moments

This run was a good start to my last week of Phase I: Road Work. Phew! Once I have this week under my belt, I plan on posting an assessment on how well I did with my training during Phase I.

Todays' run was excellent. Angus came with Wallace and I on my intended 11.5K run (The one I always do on Tuesdays with the my Thrill Hill) because it wasn't as humid as on previous weeks and was cooler with some rain. Perfect running conditions for both Angus and I. :)

There was nothing special about this run for the first 8K. In fact, when I look over my splits after the fact, they are significantly slower than what they should have been - I was running at my "hot and humid" pace rather than my normal pace. :( Clearly, I was having a lazy, uninspired run - ha! Stopping to clean up dog puke from the path was a pace killer as well. :( Angus was running so well and was enjoying the run when he surprised me with a sudden upchucking of his breakfast. The joys of being a responsible dog owner!

My run changed by the end of my 9th K when I was joined by a fellow runner from the DailyMile - Shawna. :) I'm very surprised that we have not seen each other out on the Thames Valley Parkway before because we run in the same area and on similar days, but this was the first time (the first of many, I hope). :) For the next 4K, I had someone to chat with and the companionship was wonderful. :) This turned out to be one of three aha moments I had on this run (that's right! I had three aha moments today!). For 4K, I concentrated on our conversation rather than the run itself. When we reached my turn-off point, I didn't say anything - I just kept running with Shawna because I was enjoying myself too much. It also occurred to me that if I kept running with her the way I was, I could run 13K instead today (Thursday's scheduled run). We ran together to the end of the park and when Shawna turned around to finish her run, I had only 1/2K left to run to complete 13K - woo hoo!

My first aha! moment? How much fun it is to run when you have a running partner. :) I know that this is really a no-brainer - this is usually advised to beginner runners/exercisers. I know from my races how much faster I run when I meet up with my friend who pushes the pace, and I enjoyed running with her regularly last spring. It's just that it has been sooooo long since I actually ran with someone else - this was my first time this year. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I experienced it again. This was an aha! moment because I truly realized how alone I feel sometimes. My recent post regarding my desire to join a half marathon running group next spring was underscored by this run with Shawna.

My second aha! moment? My faster normal pace is still there ... somewhere! :)
Shawna slowed her pace to run with me, but I improved my pace to run with her. My splits running with her were sub-7:00/km and I talked with her through them. This phase of training does not focus on pace at all - just endurance - and when compounded by the heat and humidity we have experienced, I have had quite a few slower paced runs. As a result, there's a part of me that is beginning to doubt that I can run a 2:20 half marathon in the fall, and another part of me that says to keep the faith - trust the training program. Being able to run at that faster pace while talking and extending my run to 13K helped the "keep the faith" voice grow stronger. :)

My third and final "aha" moment? My lack of running fellowship propels me to run multiple races. Shawna and I were discussing the various running groups in London (I will share more on that in tomorrow's post) and she referred to Sara, a mutual friend of ours (Sara was my mentor in my 10K running clinic and I have referred to Sara's positive influence on me before in this blog). Apparently it was a challenge for Sara to find other people to run with when she initially took up running so she signed up for all the races she could in order to meet other runners and to satisfy her desire for running with others. When Shawna shared this with me, it hit home: this is definitely one of the reasons why I enjoy running in both the London Honda Series and the Runpiker Series - it is the only time when I am not running by myself. I don't necessarily care about setting PR's all the time because it's the atmosphere - the camaraderie - the connection with other runners - that I enjoy so much. It's not the only reason why I focus on these races, but I recognized this aspect in myself in that story.

So sometimes a run is just a run, sometimes they rock, sometimes they suck, and sometimes a few light bulbs finally go off! :)

I have 10K + 8 striders scheduled for tomorrow. Once again, I am too busy for a Rock Bottom class (I have a girls' night out (GNO) for a friend's birthday scheduled). :( I really like those fitness/weight lighting/core/cardio classes at the Athletic Club - I want to get back on track with them when possible.

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