It was a moonless and cloudy night, and for the first time this year I had to accept the fact that it was pitch dark when I left the house. I literally could not see the hand in front of my eyes; I stumbled around for a minute, hoping that once my eyes got adjusted to the dark I would be able to make out the road, but to no avail. I had to get back home, dig out my headlamp, find some batteries, figure out how to change the batteries in the damn thing, and finally I was ready to go again. The rain had started in the meantime, which was an unwelcome surprise, but turning around and going back to bed never crossed my mind.
I was surprised at my starting pace. The last few weeks have always seen me start at around 9:00 pace, but on Friday I churned out 8:20 from the start, and it was only going to get faster. I ran the same route as for last week’s long run, clockwise around Caragh Lake. Not even the hills slowed me down this morning, or at least I made up for it again on the downhills, and by the time I reached the 13 mile point I was well below 8:00 pace on average. At that point I accelerated again, and hoped to run the next 7 miles at marathon pace, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. I think I could have run faster, but it would have felt faster than marathon pace effort. I thought it would be wiser to stick to an effort that felt like I would be able to keep up for 26 miles rather than force the pace, but if that sounds like a bad excuse then maybe it is. Anyway, I covered the last 7 miles in 52:18, which would equate to 7:28 pace, but I think it was slightly longer than 7 miles, and the pace might have been a tad faster, but not by much. However, the entire workout had only taken me 2:35:01, which is definitely the fastest I have ever covered 20 miles, and that includes any race.
Today (Saturday) called for a recovery effort after that long run, and I duly headed out in the morning sunshine, taking it easy and just letting the legs do their own thing. Each time I checked the watch I was surprised by the pace, but it really was an easy effort. There isn’t much to say about the run apart from the fact that I never had a run at sub-8:00 pace that felt so incredibly easy. Some people measure their fitness by doing tempo runs, or time trials, or speed workouts. I can always tell how well I’m developing by the pace and the heart rate of my easy runs, and with 3 weeks to go to the marathon I’m nearing peak fitness. Before every single one of my marathons (and the one ultra) I have always felt in the best shape ever, and this one is no exception. I can’t wait!
- 14 Sep
- 20 miles, 2:35:01, 7:45 pace, HR 147
- 15 Sep
- 10 miles, 1:19:55, 7:59 pace, HR 142