Today was speedwork day on my training plan -- 5 miles total with warm-up, 2 x 1600 m @ 7:05, and cool down. I decided to warm-up by running easy to the closest high school (@1.6 miles), do my repeats on the track (measured distance and easy to monitor my pace), and then do an easy run back home to cool down. Just in case something was up with the track (the school normally leaves the track open for the community), I had a contingency -- the road in front of the school is just over 1 mile between 2 major intersections -- but really didn't want to do that because there are no easy markers for monitoring pace.
So, off I went and the track was closed for resurfacing. It was tempting to chuck the speedwork and just do an extra easy run. But, that really wouldn't help me reach my goal, would it?
So, back to the first major intersection (an extra half mile or so warm-up) to do the first segment. It was then that it hit me that the first 1600 meters was going to be basically downhill -- not steep at a net change of about 14', mind you, but still generally downhill. That meant (yeah, you are pretty sharp) that the second segment was going to be basically uphill. Well, nothing to do but go for it.
The first 1600 m was difficult but I completed it in 6:45 on the nose (not too bad for an old man). I jogged back up the road for what I estimated to be 1/4 mile and then back to the end to start the second 1600 m. The first 200 meters or so weren't too bad but then ... I knew this wasn't going to be pretty.
I ran as hard and as long as I could will myself to do then slowed down and continued that way -- hard, slow, hard, slow. That happened for what seemed like at least 5 miles. When the end finally came in sight, I checked my watch and, can you believe it, there was just the slimmest of possibilities that I could actually reach the end in the target time of 7:05 (though it seemed like 7 hours and 5 minutes, the target was actually 7 minutes and 5 seconds). Sure enough, I gutted it out to the end and stopped my watch at 7:04.75.
Then, I figured, Well, it must be less than 1600 m so I really didn't do so great. But, I plotted it on gMap Pedometer and it was actually 1644.6 meters. Hooray! I had been dreading failure for 10 days -- wasted emotional energy!
So, I've gotten past that hurdle. Maymont Half-Marathon, here I come.
Run well, y'all,