My work had me traveling once again, this time a bit farther to our Nations Capital. I had arrived a day early due to travel logistics, so I planned on taking advantage to do my long run around the National Mall, one of my favorite places. The Active.com training plan had me at 60 minutes, so my hope was to see how close I could get to a 10k and see what running at sea level was like.
The last time I ran below 4,000 feet was last November and I ran my fastest 5k at a little over 26:30, so my thoughts were that I might be able to make some time and some distance. I remember the last words out of my wife’s mouth before I ran. “Take it easy on the first couple of miles and you will have no problem.” ooops.
Since I was staying out in Alexandria, I had to figure out how to first, get to the mall, second, what to do with all of my stuff. I remembered using the YMCA three day pass in Austin, Tx last summer, so I went online to see what they might offer. Sure enough, they had a similar program. This is an awesome thing to use while traveling, as you get access to awesome facilities and this would give me a locker and shower to use. Score one for the home team.
I found online that there was a route around the mall, including the Jefferson Memorial, was around 6 miles. Since I was starting about 0.75 miles north of the mall, I figured a lap around would put me close. Plan in mind, I found my way via the metro to the “Y”.
The nice part of starting at the “Y” was that heading to the mall was downhill for the most part. It had been a long time since I have run in an Urban setting, so I had fears of hitting the lights bad, breaking up my pace, however I actually sailed right on down to the White House. More on that later.
When I rounded the West Wing, my iPhone announced my first mile pace: 8’06″. Wow, I was flying compared to what I had hoped. What I wasn’t was winded, sore or even thinking I was on that type of pace. As I got onto the mall itself near the Washington Monument, I tried to ease up and just cruise some.
Mile 2 pace: 8’40″. Geez, this was actually getting me excited and scared, because I knew I had two goals of 1) 60 minutes and 2) 6 miles. Could I really run sub 9’00″ miles and make it 6 miles? I was also thinking about my fastest 5k pace of around 26:30, which wouldn’t that be a kicker if I could do better than that WHILE running a 10k type distance?
Mile 3 pace 8’18″. I have no idea what happened here. I actually was trying to slow down and I think that since I was actually passing many other runners on the path, I started racing on accident.
So three miles, 25:08, my 5k time was right at 26:00. Serious oops in my head but still was rather psyched. Could I actually get a 10k sub 60 minutes?
Mile 4 pace: 9’23″. Here is where things started happening. First, I hit a headwind. Not a Wyoming type of wind, but enough to have people flying kites around the Washington Monument on my way back towards Lincoln Memorial. Then, my right foot started to feel a bit off. Having played basketball long enough, I knew there was a blister forming. I have no idea why, as I had already put over 10 miles on my new shoes and didn’t have any different feeling on the fit. I think it might have been the fact of the gravel trail I switched to at mile 3, so i moved back to the paved trail.
Mile 5 pace: 9’53″. As I rounded the Lincoln Memorial, my legs were getting heavy. Part of me wanted to stop, mainly due to the blister, however the little soldier in my head was thinking about the battles reminding me of our countries heroes of days past. I had run around the WWII, caught a glimpse of the Korean War and ran past the Vietnam, which all reminded me of those people who dealt with more than a blister and that damn training kicked in. What was a blister compared to the lives given for our freedom. Damn that brain washing…
Mile 6 pace: 9’53″. This was three issues combined. I wanted to make the hour for the 10k, so I kept my pace realizing I was very close to my goal and very close to the end of my run. Then the strangest thing happened. Choppers! I know from my military background that D.C. is a giant no fly zone except for one chopper: Marine One. Obama was causing me to move, well him and the secret service agent shoving me along my way. I tried to get a quick pic, but the guy with the gun wasn’t in a mood to allow me to stay where I was and I wasn’t in the mood to mess with him.
End of run.
So minus the blister on my right foot, I was amazed. Not only had I gotten below the 60 minute 10k distance I did it with a minor injury and Presidents harassing me. Having oxygen to help fuel the muscles really helps in a run.
When looking at the pace chart, i was also impressed that I maintained a reasonable pace, even if I had started a bit faster than I had planned, but I never got below a 10’00″ which also was impressive for my run. I did this on my 45 minute last week, so now this showed me that I have the legs to do this at 6 miles.
The biggest thing I picked up on was that pace early helps and hurts. While I had plenty of time at the end, my legs were pretty well shot. I know that when I start going past this, as I basically am half way to the 13.1 mile distance I hope to attain for this fall, I need to manage my earlier miles to make it to my final ones. As always I should have listened to my wife.
She also kicked ass this weekend, however she is in Texas. She ran her own best 5k time of 29:08 and has a lot more in the tank (I believe) as she always starts a bit slower than she can handle. Soon she will be passing me up, that I know for sure.