Saturday, December 1, 2007

What's an anomaly?

I thought that maybe running 14 miles in 1:57:26 (8:23) with M last Friday might have been an anomaly--a good training run time created by running with a considerably faster runner, having a huge tailwind for half the run, and benefiting from the subtle ministrations of M talking me past the wall as I started my typical plodding routine around the thirteenth mile.

The truth is, I haven't been pleased with my running for awhile. I was starting to suspect that maybe I was falling prey to, well, getting old. Or that perhaps my pre-race dinners of Cheez-Its and Millers were starting to catch up with me.

So this morning I set out to recreate that run alone, as part of a slightly longer run that simulated a metric marathon being held tomorrow in Columbia. That way I would save two hours driving time, gas and the $40 entry fee. I call these runs "virtual" races and I do two or three each year. 26.2 KM is 16.28 miles, BTW.

Off I set from MP 7 on the W&OD Trail behind my house. Last week's splits are listed in my last post. Today they went like this: 7:59, 7:59, 8:07, 8:13, 8:19, 8:20, 8:18 to the turnaround at MP 0 in Shirlington. 57:16 (8:11) for seven miles compared to 55:44 (7:58) a week ago. Not bad so far. I have run in three actual 7-mile races, and this would still be my second best one.

Coming back I headed into a strong wind (again) and slowed down considerably: 8:44, 8:52, 8:47, 8:50, 9:01, 9:07, 9:02 for a fourteen mile total of 1:59:42 (8:33) compared to last week's 1:57:26 (8:23). So running with a faster runner is worth about 10 seconds per mile. (Left: Looking WB on the W&OD Trail about 400 meters before the bicycle bridge.)

I stupidly hadn't brought water and I longed to go into my house at this point to get some, but I knew that if I stopped now, I'd never return to the run. I had brightly brought a solitary Gu though, and although it was hard to get down sans water, consuming it in the twelfth mile revived me and enabled me to finish the run.

A further mile out, and back again, and a guesstimate quarter-mile route to the 7-11 store brought me to the end of my virtual metric marathon in 2:19:58 (8:36). I have done one actual metric marathon and I missed beating that time by 15 seconds. Dang! I got some work to do.


jeanne said...

Running with a faster runner would only make me 10 seconds faster per mile? Somehow I was hoping for like, 1 minute per mile faster. Or more! (I'm greedy.)

Nice going on the metric marathon, which I now what that means!

Sunshine said...

Thanks for the cheering ... Do we ever all need encouragement!
I'm not much of a "rules" type person.. so I figure that "not skipping more than one day" can mean there are some 1-mile out and back deals in there. I do know we are going to have to resort to the dreadmills in December.
But hopefully the new custom indoor track from Europe will be installed in our little community club in the next few weeks.

And hey, Man, you are not getting old yet!! You love running too much
to be getting old.

Rainmaker said...

I like that section of the trail. I often park my car near MP 8.5 at the school there and then head out on my bike from there toward IAD.

Pretty nice solid times, especially given some of the little rolling hills near there.