Thursday, May 2, 2013

A PR finally! Well, emphasis on the P

It doesn't technically count as a PR, since I wasn't running a race (and I don't think you can count something you run on your own as a PR), but yesterday was a personal commuting PR.

Since my route to and from work is always the same, it seems legit to keep track of my personal record times.  I wouldn't put them on my racing spreadsheet, but it's still nice to know what my best time is.

And that way if I'm ever in a real hurry to get to work, I can do a good guess at how fast I could manage it. 

Anyway, yesterday's commute to work was my fastest yet by more than a minute.

I had a solid week leading up to it: 

Saturday (last week) was a 5k race.  30 seconds off my PR, and good enough for 2d in my Age Group.  I was quite content since a.) my PR is 2.5 years old and is a very challenging time (for me; cake walk for others of course); b.) the course Saturday was hilly (my Garmin data showed a total gain of 130 feet) (and a loss of 135 feet, since it finished a bit downhill from the start, but who likes to think about elevation loss, 130 feet is a lot of climbing for a Dallas 5k); c.) the weather Saturday was warm (my Garmin data now shows weather, and it was 64 degrees, w/ 77% humidity (my 5k PR was also from a warm day, but we'll ignore that...). 

Sunday was 10 miles with friends.  I was thinking it would be a VERY easy run.  And I wasn't even sure we'd go all 10 miles, ending up with maybe 8 instead.  But one particular guy showed up and really had his heart set on his first 10 mile shake-out run since Boston, so the distance was indeed 10 and the pace was faster than I expected.  I held my own, but my average was only about 30 seconds slower per mile than my goal marathon pace for Berlin this fall. 

Monday was just boot camp with a new-to-me instructor.  The workout was good, fairly unremarkable.  We did dips, which isn't a frequent exercise for me and always leaves me sore.  The instructor wrapped up early and then did 5 minutes of stretching, so I felt cheated in my workout.  But it was good.

Tuesday was a morning of sleeping in.  Since my speed work with my coach ended on Saturday, the goal is to relax a bit and maintain until I start Berlin marathon training on May 19.  So instead of hearing the alarm at my usual Tuesday 4:45, I slept until 6:45.  Lovely! 

Tuesday's morning commute to work was unusual because I ran with two separate friends.  First, a friend met me right by my house, and we did the first 1.3 miles together.  It was wonderful, but over far too soon, but she's building her mileage slowly, so she had to u-turn.  Then I ran solo for maybe a mile.  Then I had another friend who was coming to meet me, running from her house toward me, u-turning when we met up, and then she ran me all the way to my office, then she u-turned and ran home solo.  I ran their paces and we were running very easy, so it didn't feel strenuous.

Tuesday's evening commute home from work was with my accounting buddy.  She'd had some shin pain, and I'd been traveling for work, so it had been a couple weeks since we'd walked/run together.  We did more running than usual since we'd worked later than planned and she u-turns to come back to her car at work after about 1.6 miles, and I didn't want her in the dark solo more than was necessary.  I was very impressed with the running pace she held, and we mixed in lots of walk intervals.  The first mile together was her fastest mile ever.  After we parted ways, I picked up the pace and clocked a couple of my fastest commuting miles to date.  Felt good!  It's a downhill trek home, and I got lucky with the traffic lights. 

So that brings me to yesterday.

I got up and went to boot camp.  One of my favorite instructors, fairly challenging workout.  I found myself quitting multiple times on some of the ab work, and I always see that as a good sign.  There was some running, but not much; a few intervals of about 60 seconds each. 

After camp, came home for breakfast, straightened up the house a little (houseguest arrived yesterday for two weeks approx!).  Then set out for my commute.  Little did I know it would be a record-breaker.

I ran about 30 seconds from the house to a rental car agency.  I had to drop off the keys for hubby's rental car and have it checked out.  I stopped my watch for that, and it took about 3 minutes.  So there is an asterisk by this PR.

Then I set out solo for work.  There were people doing landscaping along the running trail, and they all appear to have been instructed in safety protocols to turn off all lawnmowers, trimmers, etc. when anyone is running nearby.  Since they're ON a running trail, it's probably hard to get much work done that way!  But it's very considerate, so I tried to run very quickly whenever I was near anyone who was waiting for me to pass before resuming work. 

I saw my first mile time, and it was about 45 seconds faster than usual.  Not super fast for me, but decent.  Well, somehow I started doing math in my head and I forgot what my first mile split was -- instead I was thinking it was about 30 seconds faster than it was. 

I had to run hard for the first half of mile 2 because it is leading up to a busy intersection and I know the light well.  Based on where the cycle is when I first get a glimpse of it, I can figure out how to pace so that I rarely have to wait at the intersection.  I much prefer to slow to an easy jog for a third of a mile or so, and then cross without stopping, rather than run at my normal pace and then stand around at the light.  There's lots of traffic and I'd never even hope someone would yield to let me go. 

Unfortunately yesterday, when I saw the light, it was in the toughest position -- it meant either run very hard and I'd catch it, or run very, very slowly and I'd catch it.  I elected the former, and I took off.  I timed it just right and crossed after it had been green for several seconds, but before it turned. 

Then I was just on a roll.  I figured I'd see what I could do for mile 2, then I'd slow down. 

Mile 2 was about 90 seconds faster than usual.  So given that I'd mentally rounded mile 1 down by an additional 30 seconds by mistake, I was thinking I was really ahead of the clock.  In reality, I think I was about 2:15 faster than usual, but I was thinking it was nearly 3 minutes. 

I felt good, so I kept going for mile 3.  Unfortunately, the light in mile 3 is long.  Even when it turns green, it's only green for about 5 seconds, so I pretty much have to be right on top of the intersection when it turns in order to catch it.  I came to a dead stop to wait.  But then it looked like there would be a break in traffic, so I went in front of a car waiting to turn (possibly irritating him, but I don't think he would have attempted the turn, given the oncoming car), put my hand up and darted ahead of a car headed toward me.  I don't think the car had to slow down at all, so it all worked out very well.  I'd only been stopped at the intersection about 10 seconds, but I rounded it to 30 in my mind and told myself to run hard to make up for the 30 second stop.

Mile 3 was my fastest yet!  And from there, it's just the balance -- uphill, downhill, across a street with traffic and no light, and then through a parking lot. 

I saw I'd maintained a decent pace up the hill, so I decided to push downhill.  I held my 5k downhill pace from the weekend and managed to catch the street crossing just right -- not a car in sight.

My prior AM commute PR was just over 31 minutes (AM commute is uphill, the PM commute is downhill and is always significantly faster, even when I run easy).

Yesterday's AM commute:  29:58!  Boo-yah!  Speed work finally paying off it appears!  It was also the first time I'd "let" myself run the AM commute hard.  For the last 3 months every Tues and Thurs morning commute was within about 90 minutes of finishing a hard group run.  And every Wed morning commute was dialed back effort to save my legs for Thursday. 

The personal PR was thrilling and put me in a great mood at work all day. 

This morning I'm planning a much more relaxed commute in about 20 minutes...  Anyway, this post is exactly why I blog.  Way too much detail I felt like I needed to share, and it's hard to dump all that on a friend or spouse.  Hubby congratulated me on the PR, but somehow, I don't think he'd be interested in hearing about the long traffic light and how I thought the extra 10 seconds might impact my overall time...

1 comment:

  1. Well done! I love all the nitty gritty details in this post. Every now and then I try to describe an awesome run to someone and I see the eyes glaze over. I get so excited though and I agree that's what the blog is for. Enjoy your run this morning.