Didn’t see that coming

Why is it that the week before a race, my long run makes me question my ability to run whatever distance is upcoming?

We ran “only” six miles on Saturday, and it felt more difficult than it should have. Running alongside my two buddies helped offset my discomfort, but I still began to feel uncertain about the Austin 10/20 ten-mile race this Sunday.

Well, what a difference a few days makes.

On Sunday, on what should have been a two-mile recovery run, I accidentally ran five seconds faster than my time trial earlier in the week. Oops. Monday night after core class, I ran three miles at very near 5K race pace when I intended just to take it easy. And Tuesday night, my four-mile interval run averaged a full minute per mile faster than I’m hoping to run on Sunday. Not the fast intervals–the whole run. I know four isn’t ten and the transitive property doesn’t apply to distance running, but I haven’t strung together multiple miles at that kind of pace… ever.

I wasn’t trying to push hard–my coach had us taking it easy all week ahead of the race–for each of these runs, I never even looked at my watch until I was done. I ran by feel and it just happened20131030-102109.jpg

Back in October, I missed my 10-mile goal by thirty seconds, mostly because of the bridge at mile nine. I wasn’t originally planning to try to avenge that race at the 10/20, primarily because the weather is unpredictable this time of year. It is often humid and warm for this one, conditions less than ideal for me to run a PR race. But I’ve been stalking the weather forecast the last few days, and it’s looking like high 40s at the start. It’s expected to get to around 80, though, so it will likely warm up quickly and I’m not sure how that will affect me the second half. Still, I’m beginning to think that I might actually be able to race this thing… and maybe get those thirty seconds back.

The course has changed again, with (what I think is) the most difficult stretch moved to miles 8-9 rather than 2-3 like last year. So I’m working on my mental game to go with a fast-paced playlist–even though 20 bands line the course–and a little bit more confidence than I had a week ago.