I emailed Brian last night to get him the running schedule that my Runners World chart was suggesting. I was sort of hoping he'd agree that a rest for the rest of this week followed by another 20 miler on Sunday would do the trick. But my hopes were dashed at 7:41 this morning:
"I'd suggest you go ahead with a run today if it's around 20 k at an easy pace,, rest Sat and then Sun we'll run something like 8-10 miles. If Tuesday is good weather wise let's then do 18 miles with a warm up, 5mi at mp +40sec, 5mi at mp+20sec, 5mi at mp, then cool down. Then 1-2 easy runs of 4-7 miles before your hockey weekend. See you Sunday."
20K today!? That was what I had planned. I simply wasn't psyched up for that long a run -- at least not this morning -- so I looked at the weather forecast and it looked to be pretty good this afternoon -- around -4 C (25 degrees F) with a 6 mph wind out of the north -- and sunshine!
So I got a fair bit of work done in the office and then at around 3:00 I took off early to go for my run.
What happened after that I hadn't felt for months. I started looking for 8:58/mile pace, as my chart was suggesting for long runs. But I started knocking off 8:30 miles fairly easily along the gravel roads and so I decided that would be my target pace for the run. But when I hit pavement that the sun had actually dried off, I was all-of-a-sudden doing 8:07s and then sub-8's. My GPS recorded it like this:
7:27 (1/10th of a mile)
I was actually getting progressively faster as the run went along. And the last 3+ miles were on a slight uphill grade and into a slight wind!
Ultimately, I think the difference was the dry paved roads on which I was running, combined with cool weather, sunshine and just an ever-so-slight breeze. But mostly the dry roads.
It's funny how one day you wonder how you'd ever make the full 26.2 miles, and another day you're thinking, "Bring it on!".