I have been remiss in keeping up with my run reports. The past two weeks of training have been good. I increased my mileage as I have moved into Weeks 5 and 6 of my training schedule, wherein I run 4-2-4 during the week and 6 on the weekend.
Last week was my first week of running 4 miles in the morning. To my surprise it was easier than I had anticipated. It was invigorating, actually. I like my 4-mile loop a lot.
Saturday was my first 6-mile run. I mapped out a new route through the country west of town. It covered some familiar and unfamiliar territory. I was slightly apprehensive before setting out because I have not run 6 miles at once since...uh, 1993 or 1994. Putting those fears aside, I told myself that I have trained so hard and my conditioning was surely up to the task. I have successfully run over 5 miles at once, and the new route was only 0.63 miles farther than that. Less than three-quarters of a mile. Totally doable!
I followed the advice of my running friend and took a water-Gatorade mixture along with me. Holding the bottle in my hand felt awkward and strange and reminded me that I really need to hook myself up with a waist-mount CamelBak. I set out at my usual 10:00/mile pace. At the turn onto Conway Rd. I stopped briefly for a swig of water and to observe a pair of sandhill cranes that were hanging around nearby and making a terrible racket. Then it was back to the grind! Only this run was less of a grind than it was a pleasant stroll through some very nice countryside. Conway at Bush Rd. was mile 3, halfway through the route, and I hit the long paved straightaway with renewed vigor despite being nearly blinded by the sun rising in front of me. Perhaps I should invest in a visor hat or some cool sporty sunglasses, too? Ivey Rd. was a tree-lined pleasant surprise; I had never been there either on foot, bike, or car. When I reached the intersection of Werkner and Sibley Rds. I only had one more mile to go and I felt so fresh I decided to push myself and finish strong. I sailed past the "finish line" at the Department of Public Works yard driveway one hour and three minutes after I had started. Not bad, not bad. That's a 10:30/mile average pace, which is what I hope to do for the half marathon. I planned the route to end at the DPW yard so I could walk the rest of the way home for a cooldown. It worked out beautifully.
Tuesday and today I did 4 miles each morning. Tuesday I did 9:45/mile and today I did 9:30/mile. Today I decided to push myself a little to see how tired I would get if I kept up a faster pace for longer. I shifted to a faster breathing tempo sooner but otherwise I didn't feel any more fatigued than usual. I still had enough oomph to power up the little hill on Summit St. and charge down the short stretch between Summit and my driveway.
Sunday is the 5K race in Ypsilanti. I want to finish in under 27:00. I have been doing my short 2-mile runs on the treadmill at the gym with the machine set to an 8:34/mile pace and at the end of those runs I still feel fresh. If I can sustain that pace for another mile (and 0.1) I will definitely finish in under 27:00 and perhaps even 26:00.