Today promises to be warm, a very welcome change from the wind and rain that we’ve had lately. I was expecting relatively mild temperatures this morning and luckily Zeus came through. I was even able to run in short sleeves after my warm up miles from home to the Parkway. It’s an easy 2 mile jaunt from my house to the Fish Hatchery where I ditched my water and long sleeve shirt before setting off for 5 tempo miles.
I had no particular goal today but as I set off I figured anything between 7:30-7:40 would be cool with me. As I increase my tempo distances I decrease the pace just a bit. My last tempo run of 4 miles @ 7:21 was a bit of a fluke. I don’t want to be running these at my 10k pace and as the tempo miles get longer I need to adjust my paces for the distances. I’ve mentioned the ebb and flow of my energy in relation to my monthly cycle. That last tempo run was in the 4th week of my cycle which I’ve noticed over the past couple of years is when I get a boost of energy. I also did not want to push this run too hard because I have a 22 miler coming up in a couple of days and I’d like to go into that well rested and prepared.
During today’s tempo I felt like I was holding back. My breathing was easy, my legs felt great, I was comfortable with the pace – all of the clues I’m looking for when I’m running my tempo correctly. Again, mostly running by feel and not really paying attention to the watch other than checking in from time to time to see where I’m at with the mileage: 7:31-7:35-7:26-7:31-7:36 for 7:31 average pace.
I’ll tell you the cruel part of this run. The jog down to the Parkway is an overall decline even though it feels relatively flat except for the last quarter mile to the Fish Hatchery where there is a sudden drop in elevation. The cruelness lies right there with that hill which I must climb to get back home, after running those harder miles. It kills my legs every time. Greeting this (see photo below) at the end of my tempo runs is always a challenge. I just try to reassure myself that even this will make me stronger, especially on tired legs.