Good Friday 10K – PR’d!!! in 40:24 (Real Life)

Well… that went a-MAYZ-ingly well.

My day started with breakfast at 6:00: Quaker Oats Apple & Cinnamon, 1/2 banana, and some peanut butter. Add 1/2 cup water and microwave on high for 1:30. Stir. Enjoy with decaf. Yum. I had my annual physical at 8:00 (a planned, schedule-changer), downed my rocket fuel (1 Tbsp Folgers Instant coffee, 2 tsp Sugar in the Raw, 4 oz water. Shake. Enjoy) on the drive to the treadmill, and started my warm up at 9:30.

The night before I had an epiphany. I had been plagued by that perennial question: How will I know if I ran as hard as I could? I realized that to level up by two, I needed to run another 20 seconds faster. I was feeling really good. And looking at the level up paces, I was very confident I could hit them. Knowing myself, I didn’t want to go for the next level, red-line, and blow 12 weeks of training. Then the epiphany! Knowing myself to be a strong finisher – or a cautious starter – if I added a mile at the end that was 20 seconds faster than the first mile (basically, turning the 10K into a really long progression run), I would have a 10K at the next level up. So I decided to try it. As insurance against red-lining, I did go with the nuclear option – I took an Imodium with my breakfast, and I had no GI distress on the run. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

I started at 9.0 mph, was running 9.4 by the end of the 10K, and then tacked a 9.5 mile (a mind-blowing, for me, 6:19) at the end. BINGO! I had run a 40:04 on the treadmill at 1% elevation! Factoring in the time shift (Yes. The treadmill is .5 sec / min slow.), that gives me a 40:24 in real life time on a hypothetically absolutely flat and straight 10K course. My heart rate was 166 during the final mile – about 98%. Lovely. It’s lovely because my heart rate only went up to 164 during the 10K on winter solstice. I think this means I tested closer to my potential. I really think I peaked. It was awesome to ride that.

Of course, this also means that I’m cautious at the beginning of races, and then have fuel left over at the end. Which is just one more reason I was surprised to have started too fast on the marathon in 2011. This time around, I have some experience.

One of the “Deep Thoughts” I’ve been ruminating… (with all humility) I am an instrument of God. That is, when I run, God moves through me – literally as my breath, but figuratively, too. And I’ve realized that’s just another way to say “The hay is in the barn.” Or (as Yoda would say) “Do or do not. There is no try.” I became existentially aware (experientially mindful) of this: all I needed to do was get on the treadmill and RUN!

How did it feel? Like walkin’ on sunshine!

What words can I borrow? From Queen’s Headlong, “And you’re rushin’ headlong! (You’ve got a new goal.)
And you’re rushin’ headlong! (Out of control)
And you think you’re so strong.
But there ain’t no stoppin’.
And there’s nothin’ you can do about it at all!”

The 40:24 makes me very happy. Run Less/Run Faster predicts a (flat) half of 1:28:50. I’m still not comfortable with the idea of attempting 1:30 at HHH, but I’m warming up to it. I’m going to be doing some calcs to figure out what my paces are in real life on the HHH course over the next couple of days. I have to factor in elevation, a la Noakes. My previous PR on a treadmill half is 1:28:50, but that was when I was over training. That is, I was training at 1:28:50 even though I had never raced that fast. Then, at the end of the training, I ran 1:28:50 on compromised Achilles tendons. I’m going to watch it this time. I’m thinking since I actually raced faster this time, I’m now in a good position to train faster.

I ran mostly heel-toe. It’s a little lazy, I know. It stresses my knees over my Achilles. I probably ran the final two miles mid-foot. My cadence was up around 180, and my breathing was 3 (inhale) / 2 (exhale). I really like this, and it has helped a bunch with keeping my effort even on hills on the few runs that I have concentrated on it.

This was a great result for the “Trust Your Training” season. In the injuries department, my left knee is a little bungled. (I swear it is from airplane rides to Chicago and New York, but the time trial did not help.) And my calves are sore. And my Achilles is just slightly twingey. A new one is… the Dr told me the little black dots on the bottom of my feet are plantar warts. Great. Now I’m going to be nursing those, too. I’m going to give myself at least this week to get over these niggles, and figure out what training looks like over the next 9 weeks before the Hospital Hill Half.

Sigh. I’m tired. But good tired.

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