Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the fact that I had run 26 miles three days prior and my body hadn't yet recovered. Maybe I went out too fast. Nah... probably the heat.
Tonight I was doing tempo runs. My chart said 1 mile of warm-up, 8 miles at 7:36 pace, and 1 mile of cool-down. I'd been working inside a nice air conditioned home all day, so when I laced up my shoes outside tonight I felt the heat. "Hmmmm... this may not be a great night for tempo runs." I was right!
It was about 27 degrees C. (81 F.) and the air was thick with humidity. Definitely not an ideal running night. But, what the heck, lets see what happens...
Naturally, my warm up run went well. 1.16 miles at an 8:02/mile pace... and I was just taking it easy. Then we get into the hard part of the run: I was going to target 7:20 per mile (4:35 per k) x 8 miles. The first mile was fine -- maybe too fine -- at 7:12 (4:30/k). Next mile was a bit more reasonable -- 7:16. The third mile was uphill a tiny bit, so my 7:33 was reasonable. But I was dying out there. I passed Paula Muxlow, who was doing her tempo runs in the William Street speed work zone and we both commented on the heat. And she poixnted out that my feet were slapping the ground -- which meant that I was losing it. She was right -- I was barely holding it together and my next mile was slower than marathon pace, let alone tempo run pace: 8:04.
Time to regroup. I took a break. Okay -- I bailed. No way I'm hitting tempo pace tonight. Jenny and Karen had come out to join a bunch of other Shamrocks including Rita Mcleod, Ian Trotter, Caleb Trotter, Paula Muxlow, Kelly Vivian, and a new Shamrock -- Kelly Finlayson. Anyhow, they had left the Jeep at the start of the speed work area, so I took a quick drive home for a "bio break" and then back to the speed zone again. Probably no more than 15 minutes, but by the time I got back, I felt ready to run again.
I headed out for the next 4 miles -- this time targeting marathon pace (7:57/mile) or better. First mile: 7:52. So far, so good. Next mile: 7:51. There's something to be said for consistency. Next mile: 7:38. 7:38?!! Where the hell did that come from? Final tempo mile: 7:36. Go figure -- the chart's target. I was pushing -- but not too strong. Maybe the extra half hour that had elapsed since I took a break made it cool enough that I could do it without overheating. I don't know.
Overall, my 8 tempo miles (with a 15 minute break at the half-way point) were done at a 7:38 pace. Considering the heat, I'll take it. But it just goes to show that I can't take Corning for granted because of one good run to Port Stanley. The training must continue.
It was great running with the group again. We all met at the vehicles and then went back to our place for a beer or two, which tasted great on such a warm night. (Gotta replenish those carbs!). As we get into September and my training isn't so nuts, we'll probably see a lot more of each other.