Last time I checked the calendar it was mid-March and I was still in Wisconsin.
So when I headed out for my 8-mile run this afternoon I was a bit confused. It was sunny and temperatures were in the 50s. I'm not complaining about that. But I was dressed in a pair of running shorts. SHORTS people! As in a piece of clothing I probably haven't worn (outdoors) since September!
I'm still not complaining though.
The long run was actually scheduled to be Saturday, but when my alarm went off and I could hear the rain pounding and the branches from the bush next to the window crashing against the window, I made the decision to postpone the run. After the 6-brutal miles I logged on the treadmill Thursday night, there was no way I was going near that thing any time soon. Besides, I had a wedding to go to Saturday afternoon and the weatherman told me it was supposed to be nicer Sunday.
Postponed it was.
The wedding was a blast - lots of dancing in a pair of heels made me worry how the legs were going to feel this morning though.
So I slept in today and waited for the temps to creep up a bit before heading out. It was right around 53 degrees when I finally left. And sunny. And it didn't look windy. So I threw on my running shorts and layered a long-sleeve tech shirt over a tech T-shirt and headed out.
Yeah, that windy thing? Totally wrong. The constant 25 mph winds made me think about cutting the run in half, but then my iPod started playing Kanye West's "Stronger" and just hearing the lyric, "That don't kill me / Can only make me stronger." Yes, there's a reason why I use that song as my "kicks me in the butt" tune.
So I kept running along the 8-mile route I had planned.
The first four miles actually went pretty well. I kept a nice steady pace and at the turnaround point I stopped for a few minutes and had a chocolate Gu, some water and stretched a bit. Then it was back to the road for the final miles.
Immediately I knew why those first miles didn't seem awful. Turns out the gusty wind? It had been at my back, meaning for the next 2.5 miles I was running straight into the wind. Talk about tough. But I kept putting one foot in front of the other until I could finally turn the corner and have the wind hit me from a different direction. Granted those last two miles were just as tough since the legs were starting to get tired. At least it wasn't a combination of tired legs and nasty wind to contend with. I ended up finishing the 8.1 miles in 1 hour, 32 minutes.
For my long runs, I'm shooting for paces in the 10:30 to 11:30 minute mile range. And today's run kind of fell there. My average pace was 11:25/mile and the splits were:
Mile 1 - 10:05 (always tend to start out too fast, gotta work on that)
Mile 2 - 11:00
Mile 3 - 11:04
Mile 4 - 11:34
Mile 5 - 11:39 (hello wind)
Mile 6 - 11:56 (wind, you're starting to get old)
Mile 7 - 12:04 (the wind disappeared, but the legs are starting to get tired)
Mile 8 - 11:58 (are we done yet?)
Mile 8.1 - 1:08
Like I said, I expected to slow down the last two miles, especially since I haven't run anything over 6 miles since I trained for the Fox Cities Half Marathon during the summer of 2007 before The Monster came and caused havoc.
I've got two months until the starting gun goes off at the Green Bay Half Marathon. As the mileage goes up, I expect some seconds to disappear from my pace. I'm kind of liking where I'm at at this point in the training schedule and am looking forward to the next two months.
And Mother Nature? It'd be nice if you didn't give us those strong winds on race day.