Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nudging the bar up a little.

I got out for a lunch run today after giving my legs a break yesterday. It was overcast and 40F which was a bit of a surprise. I thought about just hitting the treadmill in the warm gym but figured I'd enjoy the outdoor run a little more. Other than my fingers not warming up for the first 3 miles I did enjoy it. As I always do on my lunch time runs I ran the work loop (rectangle); This time counter-clockwise for variety.

I didn't start off planning to race it as fast as I could. I tried to find the smooth pace that I found about 11 miles into Sunday's run that was smooth, easy at a sub-7 pace. I had the speed today but it wasn't nearly as fluid. My HR picked up after the first mile as I headed down the corridor trail toward the back-stretch. I was gasping for air on the two short steep pitches and trying to come back down to earth when the trail leveled out.

The Garmin was all over the place pace-wise on the back stretch. The trail that follows the road is almost all under tree cover so I'd guess the GPS signal isn't constant through there. I was keeping my HR above 155 (~85%?) the whole way and at the end of the back stretch I hit the steep longer descent. I tried to pick up the pace as fast as I could on the descent and still be in control of my body. I kept looking at the Garmin and saw my pace keep dropping until it hit 4:34/mi for a few seconds before I bottomed out and had to slow down.

Seeing that surprised me; I didn't think I'd get under 5:00/mi. At the bottom of the hill a short flat section gives way to a longer steep ascent to match the descent. I hobbled up the hill as best I could, trying to run on my toes with quicker steps, then trying to do a fast shuffle. Running uphill seems like something that a person could get better at and develop a style for. I could be wrong, maybe it's just how well you adapt to suffering. It's not something you think about much. Once I start going uphill my running form falls apart and it's just survival trying to keep moving at a decent pace.

After the hill I made the final left turn and did my best to keep a sub-7 pace for the last mile and a half. It's slightly uphill so I wasn't quite able to but in the end when I got back to my timing point in the parking lot the watch said that it was a new best time for this route.

Dist: 6.0
Time: 40:26
Avg: 6:44/mi
Splits: 6:22, 7:36, 6:35, 6:12, 7:22, 6:19

I'm really enjoying the extra running-produced dopamine lately. Such a lovely mood-improving neurotransmitter.

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