My running's been a bit of a mess this week- it took awhile for my legs to get back into it after Saturday's run (I ran like an eighty year old on Sunday and Monday), I haven't been sleeping well and have been slacking off in the mornings, and I've been busy enough at work to slack off in the evenings too. No excuses- I've been a bad girl and I accept that- just context.
Anyway, last night was Test #2, and a chance to redeem myself. 10 miles at PMP, number 2. Would it be better than last time? Would it be easier? I'm working in Auckland, so decided to explore the half of the marathon that I haven't run before (the second half). It's a reasonably flat out and back around the bays, so I wasn't too worried about it, but it was nice to have a go and see what it was like.
I left work around 6 and changed quickly at the hotel. It's lovely being 5 minutes away from everywhere! Once I reached the waterfront, I settled into a nice, easy-but-working-a-little, pace. I'd mapped out a route, but started a wee way into it, so decided to do 45ish minutes out, run back and map it later, so I had very little idea of pace/distance etc for the first little bit.
The night was beautiful- lovely and clear. I really enjoyed running in a familiar but different area- round the bays, just like Wellington, but with the sun setting over the sky tower, Rangitoto to my left, cloaked in eerie clouds, and the moon in front of me, shining over the sea. It really was quite amazing.
A little over a mile in, I noticed k markers (it was number 2- I imagine number 1 was around the beginning of my planned route), and started keeping a vague eye on my pace. I seemed to be doing well, hitting each k in 5:15-5:30 (5:30/k is PMP), and feeling just right. Strong, but not fast. I decided I might as well keep it up.
I got to a suitable looking turnaround point at 44:13 so stopped and checked out some uber expensive real estate ads while I stretched my calves a bit, then headed back. The way back was a bit more of a mental struggle, and the Sky Tower taunted me, sometimes looking so close I could touch it, sometimes looking far off into the distance. Looking over the harbour reminded me just how FAR that first half is, and looking at the lights on the bridge filled me with the same dread I felt before the half in 2005. It just looks BIG. Plus, it was dark. I couldn't see where I was going very well, and it was hard to spot other runners or roller bladers coming towards me.
But I still seemed to be doing ok, and I wasn't feeling too bad at all. At one point I played "count my strides" for a few minutes. I read last week in an old runners world that the optimal pace is 180 strides per minute, and each time I've tested it I've counted between 175 and 183. Sweet! It's a good way to get through a boring part of a run. Count for a minute, wait for a minute, count, wait, count. All of a sudden, you've gotten through another 5 minutes.
I reached my starting point at 44:14. Close to perfectly even splits!
Then this morning, I mapped my run, and it seems that in my 1:28:30, I covered 10.3 miles for 8:35 pace. A bit under goal (8:45-8:48), but I think I passed. It's great to have that pace seem "easy" again, and I'm pretty confident that I COULD race a half sub-8, and that all going to plan, I COULD hold sub-9 (at least) for 26.2
A few mental notes:
- be prepared to self motivate over the baby bridges. They are not high, but they are not flat either, and they have the potential to hurt
- watch out for the Pohutukawas (low hanging branches- I actually bumped my head. SERIOUSLY)
- enjoy the view on the way back- feel proud that you started in Devonport three hours ago and enjoy the massive view of the distance you've covered
- try not to look at the evil sky tower- look at what's been, not towards the end
- once you finish the scenic part, you're nearly home. LOVE IT