Wiiiiiiinnnnndddddyyy today! Ran 6 easy miles today with a friend from work. He is training for his first marathon and we have decided to run on Monday's together after work. I thought this would be great, I could help him along in his training and get some company on my easy runs. Well somewhere about mile 4 he let it slip that he ran a 12K leg of a marathon relay last year and averaged 6:30/mile! OK, so I can't be much help to him since he can run circles around me and I have gained nothing but someone ELSE to try and keep up with. So much for easy runs on Monday's!
Being an engineer I couldn't help but try to calculate an equivalent pace for running 8:20/mile into a 30 mph headwind (how big a geek am I, right). After much mental effort I decided that if I just turn around and run with the wind for awhile at the same effort I could probably get an accurate estimate of the answer from my Garmin 205 (God bless GPS). The problem with that is trying to maintain equal effort with a tailwind. It is very hard to hold yourself back when you are being pushed along by tornadic winds. I have never been that great a judging effort anyway. I know there are some runners and running programs that base training on perceived effort instead of a precise goal pace per mile but I would really suck at those! I am one of those runners that can run an easy 7:30 pace one day or run a hard 9:00 pace on another. Maybe that is my body speaking to me but sometimes it's hard to find an explanation for the difference in pace.
Since I really enjoy laughing at myself I will post for the world an example of how my mind works, or, in this case, doesn't work. I ran a 5K race this weekend here in my wonderful adopted hometown. I am NOT a 5K'er. Way to short for someone as slow as me, but it was for a good cause and I had friends that were running it so I thought I would use it for some speed work. My best 5K was 20:18 which I ran last fall on a relatively flat course here in the wonderfully-pancake-like terrain of Oklahoma. Although I don't do 5K's normally, this time was close enough to 20 minutes that I now have a goal of breaking 20 minutes. It's not something I am actively training for but I want to do it someday. Anyway, I started this race on Saturday and felt pretty good. My trusty Garmin was indicating a 6:33 pace at the 1/2 mile point so my 20 minute goal idea popped into my head. OK as I write this next part, I want you to remember that I am an engineer and I perform hundreds of complex calculations everyday at work. So I am about a mile into this race and I am trying to figure out what pace I need to run to break 20 minutes for a 5K. After much mis-guided thought, I determine that I only need to run 6:40 per mile to finish right at 20 minutes. So I figure I'm ahead of pace! yea for me! I can slow up some, this is easy. I go through mile 1 at 6:33, mile 2 at 13:01 (OK I still didn't get it yet figure I can coast to the finish right?). For the last mile I didn't check my watch and concentrated on running hard since the last mile had some rolling hills. (This is the really funny part) I checked my split at mile 3 which told me a ran a 6:49 and I was ecstatic! I'm gonna make it. What I failed to look at was my total time (which are the biggest number on my watch, but hey, I was happy) which at mile 3 must have been 19:50 giving me 10 seconds to run the last .1 miles! Since the finish was at the top of a hill and around a corner from the 3 mile mark I was able to live in my happy-fantasy world until I rounded the corner. At that point, I was dashed against the rocks of reality when I saw, in large red number, something like 20:40 on the race clock! I was totally bummed! How could I be so dumb. Then I remember who I was dealing with and chalked it up to another fine day in the life of Willie.
Thanks for listening