Sunday, July 22, 2007

It's So Nice Running with Friends...

I went out for this week's long run yesterday and I had some company along the way. Brian was away visiting family north of Toronto, but Kelly emailed me on Friday asking about my route. So I put together a 26k route (just over my 16 mile target) that started and ended at the Tim Horton's in Lucan but also passed by it two more times in the middle so other runners could join in. Here's the route:

The weather was perfect, considering it is the middle of summer. There was a slight cool breeze, and the temperature was around 18 degrees C. (65 degrees F.) and sunny. So one couldn't ask for much better.

When I passed through after my first 10.3k leg, Kelly and Jody were both there, along with Jenny and Tori. I knew that Jenny and Tori weren't planning on keep up to my 5:20/k pace (8:30/mile), and I knew that Kelly could do that pace not problem, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Jody out.

The thing about having company during a run is that the other runners help keep your pace without having to constantly check your GPS, and you're able to chat about stuff along the way to keep your mind off the effort that you're putting into the run. So the next 8.5k went by extremely quickly. Jody did fantastic -- keeping up our 5:15 pace for over 6k of the run before he had to bail. And by the end of that leg, Kelly and I were chugging along at a 5:10/k pace without even thinking about it -- just chatting about this and that and philosophising about life in general. Oh, and after that Kelly had to go off to do her cardio kickboxing north of town -- because you can never be in too good shape! :-)

Then I went off on my own for the last 7k leg of my journey and it was back to just the sound of me huffing and puffing. All I could do was just concentrate on my stride and try to keep my pace consistent, whether I was on a slight uphill or downhill grade. The one weird thing that I'll have to address is that I started to get hungry at around the 23k mark. I had only been having my jelly beans during the first 10k, so I'll have to make sure that I continue to get calories and bulk into me throughout the run.

Once I got onto Highway 4 heading back into Lucan, I stepped it up to marathon pace for the last 2k. Jenny and Tori were there to greet me!

The support from everyone is so much appreciated. And that afternoon, we were wondering through the TSC store in Hyde Park and Jenny found a cowbell, which I'd been looking for as a cheering device since before the Shore to Shore run on June 1.

Overall, my pace was 5:15/k (8:24/mile), and my last two kilometres were at 4:55/k -- just under my marathon goal pace. Pretty close to my 8:30 target pace for the run, so I was quite happy.

Today, I bailed on my sheduled six mile easy run, and insteady took part in a 5k race in Ailsa Craig. My fastest 5k prior to today had been the Jordon 5k over two years ago when I did it in 21:52. I felt that I was faster than that, based on some recent races, but I wasn't sure how much faster. So I set my target on a 4:15/k pace.

I knew I'd try to go out fast, so I consciously tried to rein myself in. I was only somewhat successful, doing my first kilometre in 3:58. The next k I was right on at a 4:15 pace, and the third kilometre I'd even picked up a bit at 4:10. Then things started to fall apart. Even though we were now on a very slight downhill grade, I could only manage a 4:19/pace for kilometre number 4. But then I heard the wonderful sound of a cowbell! Jenny and Tori were there cheering me on about 500 m. from the finish. Perfect positioning! I stepped it up again and pulled off a 4:14/k pace for the last stretch -- good enough for a personal best 21:10 'official' time. And Paula and I think that the actual course was about 50 metres too long as our GPSs had us at 5:05 km. So it is possible that I actually beat a 21 minute 5k. Wow, do I ever feel great!

Ian Trotter came out for this race as well. He's been training for triathalons and said just prior to the race that it was his running that had been slowing him down. Well he knocked off a 23:20-ish time for this 5k! And Paula was right on track with her goal pace of a 27-ish minute 5k (5:26 pace).

Beckie Wright was out coaching/pacing another runner, so she wasn't able to scream past everyone as I'm sure she would have been able to otherwise. And two new additions to the Shamrocks were out -- Jessica and Carrie Vanhie. I haven't actually met them before, but Jessica was the overall female winner in this race, and I'm pretty sure that Carrie was just a few seconds in front of me (couldn't catch her!) coming across the finish line.

All in all, another very good day -- and a perfect day to share with friends!

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