Sunday, August 13, 2006

Uncharted Territory

The weather gods cooperated this morning and kept the temperature relatively low (83F/28C) and humidity in check (51%) and a thin layer of altostratus clouds hanging in the eastern sky kept most of the sun's direct light from toasting my skin after sunrise.

I mapped out an 8 mile loop north of my house for my attempt to increase my long run out to 16 miles. Once again, the Phoenix street grid system provided a nearly perfect loop (7.99 miles per lap). This course raises and falls 200 feet over the 8 mile loop and includes main roads with wide bike paths as well as narrow neighborhood streets.

I started out with 3 very slow miles (9:35, 9:22, 9:22), wanting to be careful not strain my hamstrings. I picked the up the pace to around 9:07 over the next 3 miles while running up the hill and felt strong as I topped the hill on the 6th mile. I held mile 7 at about the same pace and slowed down a little on mile 8 at the end of the 1st loop.

I stopped briefly at the end of the first lap and filled up with water from my thermos before heading out on the 2nd lap. Mile 9 was ok, but I started filling my head with all sorts of negative thoughts on mile 10. I had bonked on mile 10 last week. There was no reason to suspect I’d bonk again, but it has been 3 weeks since I’ve run over 10 miles in one run and the negative thought gremlins were working overtime. To overcome the negative voices screaming in my head, I forced myself to think about anything except running. I was delighted once my Garmin beep at the completion of the 10th mile; I’d made it past 10 and could get on with the rest of the run in silence.

I climb back up the hill over the next 2 miles, with mixed results. I completed mile 11 in 9:05, but mile 12 took 9:31; at least I was still moving forward. 13, 14 and 15 sailed by, completing both 14 and 15 in 9:05 . Then it was on to mile 16.

I’ve never run 16 miles, so I was in uncharted territory at this point. My pace picked up considerably on this flat section on the course as I turned the corner and started heading home. I actually felt as if I was being pulled along by a rope tied to my waist. At this point in a run, I usually feel as if I have a 50 pound weight tied around my waist, so this was a nice feeling. I hope I can figure out how to make it happen in a race! There is a short hill at the very end of this run, but I kept charging ahead and finished the last mile in 8:28.

Despite my hamstring problems at the beginning of the week, this turned out to be a fairly good week of running. I got in two good 8 mile runs and my first ever 16 mile run, plus the strangest speed session (sans watch) on Thursday. I hope your week has gone well.

Training for the week

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 6.0, easy, 9:03/mi pace
Wed - Rest Day
Thr - 7.3 miles, 5x800m w/400m recovery
Fri - 8.3 miles, easy, 9:11/mi pace
Sat - 8.3 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace
Sun – 16 miles, long, 9:16/mi pace

Total for the week: 45.9 miles


angie's pink fuzzy said...


Dusty said...

Congrats on the new distance - glad you had a good strong finish and that your hamstring is behaving!

carmen said...

Good job on venturing into uncharted territory! 16 miles deserves double kudos! You certainly did have an interesting running week. :)

I could totally relate to the feeling of dread with the worry of bonking. I had that feeling yesterday but made it as well.

D said...

Congrats on completing your first 16-miler at a nice steady pace with a very speedy finish!

Jim said...

Great job on pushing the envelope. It is hard to chase the gremlins from between the ears sometimes but one you do, you are well rewarded for it. Very nice weekly workout and mileage also. You have me inspired and looking forward to my 15 miler this coming Saturday morning!

DawnB said...

Phil you did a great job on your run. P.S. My marathon reports are even shorter :)

Michele said...

Wow, awesome job on the 16 miler.
You had a great training week, congrats.

Love2Run said...

See, that wasn't so bad. Amazing what you can do once you put your mind to it. Nice training progression you've got going!