Seventeen Saturdays: Episode XI
Seriously? I’m done with week ELEVEN?
I have run through a season. Oh, I know technically fall doesn’t start until late September, but with my brother back in Teaching Mode and my daughter starting school on Tuesday, this weekend sure feels like the end of summer.
I woke up this morning not looking forward to my scheduled 16-mile run, and with no good reason, other than that I was going to be running my least-favorite hill twice.
Adam and I ran the 10-mile loop into North Canton and back, and then I continued on for our old six-mile loop, with an extra hook thrown in to make up for the fact that I wasn’t’ running up our street and back.
The first seven miles went by pretty easily while we talked, but Adam built up a sizable lead on me in number eight. It didn’t’help that I got caught by a traffic light: I didn’t stop, but had to go about four car lengths down the intersecting street so I could cut across. He really got ahead of me after the hill climb, but I wasn’t interested in pouring it on since I was looking at another six miles to run.
After he broke off for home and passed me the stopwatch, I checked the time and saw that at 1:28:30, I was 10.28 miles in, so I was averaging about 8:37 per mile. Considering how I felt at the end of last week’s run, where I was totally drained and barely managed to keep my pace under nine minutes, I was encouraged by today’s progress. Of course, I did have six miles to go…
I wasn’t sure where the next few mile points fell, but I knew where the final three would be, since I was finishing up along the same stretch as the four-miler I did twice this week. I didn’t look at the stopwatch again until I finished up mile 13, and I was there at 1:53:03. I hit the 14-mile point at 2:01:21, making for an 8-minute, 19-second mile that I felt pretty good about.
It took me longer to do the next one, and though my lungs felt fine, this is where I really started noticing the aches and fatigue in my legs: a poke in the ankle here, a groan in my thigh there. Still, I kept it under nine minutes (8:54), and when I crossed into frontier territory, the clock read 2:10:16.
I’d already done the math: At nine minutes per mile, I would have taken 2 hours and 24 minutes. Here I was, a mile to go, and well ahead of that, and I have now run further than I ever have.
I rode this energy up that freaking hill and down the other side, and even thoubh my legs and feet were sore, I felt so much better than I did on Saturday No. 10, and my finishing stretch I felt like I was flying up our street without resorting to panting and grunting and hyperventilating.
I did my last mile in 7 minutes and 52 seconds (again, I’m pleasantly stunned, considering an 8-and-a-half fifteenth mile was beyond my reach seven days ago), finishing up at 2:18:08 – that’s 138.13 minutes, which is a pace of 8:35: That’s 24 seconds per mile better than last week!
In fact, looking back at last Saturday’s entry, I realize that even though I ran almost a mile farther today, I only added a minute and 39 seconds to my overall time – wait, can that be right? (I actually printed this out and showed it to Adam to make sure the numbers were solid – he’s the math teacher, after all.)
He backed up my calculations, and once again, I’m amazed at how these small progressions add up with the miles.
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