So, I'm in running limbo.
I've been averaging a paltry 16 miles per week or so (including hiking and walking) since the First Half of the San Francisco Marathon. You know, just enough to convince myself that I'm still healthy and a runner of some sort or another. But nothing with goals. Nothing to work on fitness or distance or any sort of anything other than baseline movement momentum maintenance in celebration of being healthy and alive.
Part of this is because I've got a mild case of runner burn-out. Part of this is due to lots of travel and work. And, of course, another part is that my Garmin died. And I am very data-driven. So, without data, I am less driven.
No matter why it's happening, longer distance runs *are* getting more and more difficult as my month of less-than-ideal fitness commitment progresses.
On the other hand, I've had a couple of *great* shorter work-outs thanks to the lack of Garmin GPS data.
Last Sunday, I challenged myself to run 25 minutes at 10K pace. All I had was the broken Garmin (aka, expensive stopwatch) and my legs. After returning home, gmap-pedometer informed me that I did 2.74 miles for an average of 9:07 pace, which was a lackluster result. I felt like I should have hit 8:30/mile or faster.
But, even when the data showed I was slower than I thought, I was actually quite satisfied. I could feel my effort increasing substantially for every minute of the last 10 minutes and based on cadence and how fast landmarks I know well were being passed, I'm fairly certain I was sub 8/mile for the last minute or so. Given how fast I was running at the end and how slow my overall average pace was, it is obvious that I have trouble accurately identifying a proper race pace effort for at least the first 15 minutes of a run.
This is something I've never understood, because if I've got a target pace, with the GPS data, I'll just push to hit it. Often, I find that the beginning of races are hard for me, effort-wise, but I just force myself to do what the numbers say I should be able to do. This workout was the first time when I realized that perhaps I need to warm up more than I realize. Even for half and full marathons (or, perhaps, more realistically, I need to be disciplined enough to start 30-60 seconds slower for the first 1.5 miles of the longer races).
Yesterday, I had a short time window at a hotel, so I did a hard treadmill workout. I did 5 minutes at 10:00/mile and then increased the speed 0.1 miles/hr every minute until minute 20. It was a hard effort, and the last 3 minutes were individual commitments of 60 seconds of increasing effort that required quite a bit from me, mentally. After I hit stop on the treadmill, I started the mill back up for a walk and talked myself through the cool-down. Out loud. Breathless. Dripping with sweat in the empty (or so I thought) room of equipment. "I'm proud of you." "That was a great effort." "Way to keep pushing and make the best of a short time window." Then, I stopped the mill, got off, and turned to realize a middle-aged man had joined me in the gym behind my machine and had heard the entire diatribe. Embarrassing! Thankfully, he had headphones and studiously avoided eye-contact.
So, there you go. Running update complete. Healthy. No injuries. Heavier and slower than normal and not yet registered for any Summer or Fall races. It's on my todo list, but like I said, I've been suffering from some running burn-out... I'm looking forward to this weekend's long run with Jen to help move me from the "bare minimum" bucket into something more approximating the effort I should be putting in for the 10K I plan to do on August 3rd. 3 weeks--Yikes!