Friday, September 01, 2006

A Great 18 Mile Run

Oxymoronic, but true nevertheless. I'm so use to complaining about Friday's scheduled 18 that I'm at a loss. How can an 18 mile run be fine on a weekday?

Well, for starters, I met up with Eric just as he was leaving his house at 4:20am. Quite accidental but Providential since it gave me company for 15 of the 18. It made a world of difference being able to chat away while the miles rolled on. I awoke at 3:30 intent on giving myself plenty of time to wake up with coffee and toast and also leave lots of time for the run itself. I usually schedule enough time for 9:00/mile should A) I run that pace, B) I run a few tenths more than the scheduled distance, or C) I should have to stop at the house for a bathroom break or something. This ensures that I won't cut a run short due to lack of time which is an excuse I have used in the past.

The thought of running 9:00/mile this morning was not very appealing. I ran easily yesterday and it was a slog. However, I wanted to run easily again today so I can run a little quicker tomorrow on the 10 miler. So I decided I'd try for an 8:00 pace after the first few miles. This would shorten up the run enough so I'd be out for 2:24 instead of 2:42. The trouble with this plan was the right calf. I had been feeling very good during the day yesterday and this morning it seemed like it was good to go with just the slightest bit of tenderness. So when I took off, I really took stock to the status of the calf.

It was tight but not too bad. After .2 miles I met up with Eric and we ended up running a 3.05 mile loop several times (5 for him and 6 for me plus a little extra). While the loop is short in length it is a pleasant loop with hills and straights and it brings the water back around more often than the other loops. Doing this alone could get very tiresome.

After 6 miles the calf really tightened up. So while Eric stopped at his house for a minute, I took the time to really stretch it out. Did the trick. The final 12 miles felt good with only a tiny bit of calf discomfort. Downhills felt very soothing. (Uphills the opposite).

We ended up running a gentle progression for each 3 mile loop. Here are the pace splits:

Loop 1 8:37 pace
2 8:16
3 8:09
4 8:02
5 7:56 (Eric done at 15 miles)
6 7:24

So ends a strange Friday run. A pleasant 18.4 miles in 2:29:31 (8:07 pace) HR 136. Wx 48F, clear, nice sunrise.

As an endnote, the last 3 weeks I have run an 18 miler on Friday. Each time, I have run at relatively the same effort based on heart rate although the courses have not been the same. In any event, my heart rate for these runs have been around or at 136, which for me represents a sort of "recovery" pace. It is representative of my apprehension of the distance coupled with tired legs from all the miles. Nevertheless, at this particular distance and heart rate my pace has dropped from 8:43 per mile two weeks ago to 8:28 last week and now 8:07 this week. Of course this doesn't translate into the same improvement at MP HR (150's) but it's a start...


Blogger Mike said...

The heart rate data is great to have on hand. You and Irish Thomas are really doing well these days. Congrats on a nice 18 miler (for a change), and take care of that calf. I think if "easy" keeps getting faster that "moderate" will follow, and race pace can't be far behind.

9/01/2006 3:21 PM  

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