Picking up the pace.

Okay, so my runs on Thursday (9 miles) and Saturday (13 miles) were at a much faster pace than planned. Initially, because I am only in my second week of training, I was going to keep my pace at somewhere around 9:30 because I really don’t want to get injured at this stage.

Thursday was a balmy evening, quite warm for this time of the year. I believe it was 51 degrees. Unlike last week, I ended up making the journey out to Woodland with most of the runners at Crossroads. I started a pleasant conversation with a runner named Meg, who is not only running for Dana-Farber, but also works there as a research scientist. I asked what her pace was, thinking I might tag along with her, but she mentioned 8:30, and I said that was too fast for me and that I’d see her back at the bar. While I was waiting for my Garmin 405 GPS watch to pick up the satellites, the group left, leaving me alone. Ugh. A minute later I was ready to roll and tried to catch up with the last of the runners. My pace felt good so I thought I might try and see if I could sustain this for the evening. I generally do speed workouts on the hills, so my pace generally gets kicked up a notch.

Well, I ended up catching up with Meg, and decided to try and keep up with her. I think I generally tend to do this: find someone and then try and latch onto their pace as long as I can. Kind of pushing myself. Meg and I chatted for most of the run, and had a pleasant conversation, talking about running, cycling and our significant others. Meg ended up stopping to use the facilities at the Starbucks in Coolidge Corner so I caught up with another group of folks just ahead of me. A runner named Rebecca was my next running buddy for the remainder of the course. She was quite strong, very consistent like Meg, and we got to briefly know each other for the last couple of miles. I felt great afterward, though kept thinking I should back off a bit.

My watch was running low on batteries, and I hit some weird button when I had to respond to the low battery warning, but I think the pace is correct at 8:47. Here’s the breakdown:

Mile 1: 8:24
Mile 2: 8:50
Mile 3: 9:15
Mile 4: 9:00
Mile 5: 9:03
Mile 6: 8:54
Mile 7: 8:40
Mile 8: 8:15
Mile 8.8: 8:37

Here was my reward for such a great run (I always crave salty carbs after running):

Mmmm, french fries....

Mmmm, french fries....

Well, my first long run of the season was on Saturday. 13 miles, from Natick to Brookline. I signed up for the Children’s Hospital charity long run, as it was fully supported. It was $20, and they were doing 16 miles, but my 13 worked out perfectly as it put me right at the Reservoir Green Line T Stop, which I needed to catch to retrieve my car back at Riverside.

Like Thursday, I had planned to keep my pace down to 9:30. It was about 35 degrees and sunny when we started in Natick. There were roughly 300 runners, so it was easy to just fall into a group and pace them. I quickly started running with a woman who was running a bit faster then I had wanted, but thought I’d see how I felt after a mile or so. When I looked down at my watch (in mile 3), we were running an sub 8:00 pace, and I couldn’t believe it felt okay!!!! We caught up with another runner (a woman) in Wellesley Center that we had been tailing since Natick Center, and the three of us would remain together through the Newton hills.

The woman I started with pulled away after Heartbreak Hill, and the other fell behind, but not by much. For the last mile I befriended a runner from Run for Research (Team Liver), who actually has hepatitis C, so was running for a group that was very close to his heart. Chatting with him was a great way to end the run. The woman I had paced since Wellesley passed by as I stopped at mile 13 and we exchanged a brief goodbye. Anyway, it was a very fast pace: 8:18. Yes, that’s right, 8:18. If I could keep up that pace, I’d be running a 3:37 marathon. Doubtful, but you never know. Today, I feel great so maybe that’s a sign I can up my pace to sub-9:00 runs. Here’s the breakdown from Saturday (keep in mind my last miles was a cool down):

Mile 1: 9:06
Mile 2: 8:34
Mile 3: 7:51
Mile 4: 7:55
Mile 5: 7:56
Mile 6: 8:06
Mile 7: 7:41
Mile 8: 8:13
Mile 9: 8:08
Mile 10: 8:05
Mile 11: 8:38
Mile 12: 8:41
Mile 13: 9:01

Here’s the map:

Natick to Brookline 13 miler

Natick to Brookline 13 miler

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