Today I ran twice. I know, I know, I haven’t run for a few weeks due to some calf issues, but now that I come back I run twice in a day? What can I say, go big or go home!
In all seriousness, it was more that there were two group run opportunities that I really wanted to try. The first was at 6:30am – a coworker who is new to running asked me to be his running buddy, so we’ve agreed to start meeting before work to run around the lake near our office, and then take advantage of the showers/locker rooms in the office to get cleaned up for work.
Schedule-wise, it actually worked out pretty well to do this. I packed up my work clothes and toiletries the night before, so in the morning I just threw on my running clothes, brushed my teeth, grabbed my clothes bag and my work backpack, and headed out the door – all in less than 10 minutes. I drove to the office to meet my coworker, and then we hopped into his car to head for the lake a mile away. (Now that I know how to get there, I’d definitely consider running there next time.) And then, it was time for our run.
To make the distance manageable, we broke the 3.1 mile loop up into a few different shorter segments. We ran the first mile at a steady pace, then stopped and dropped for 30 pushups and a quick breather. For the next mile, we again went at a steady pace, this time stopping at the end for some tricep dips on the benches at the adjacent playground. And for the final mile, we used a walk-run method of 2 minutes walking and 2 minutes running – allowing us to improve our run pace to be a full 90 seconds faster than it had been during the steady state runs. It was definitely fun to mix it up like that! I got the idea from this Traveling WOD, and think I may start trying to do more runs where I incorporate calisthenics and intervals.
But tonight, after work, I was determined to push the pace and see how much I could sweat. There was a group social run starting at Luke’s Locker – the same place I had done the not-so-great morning run a few weeks ago. This time, they didn’t announce the distance or route in advance, so I had no idea what I was in for. Turns out, the Thursday group is way more relaxed than the Wednesday morning group – instead of it being a loop course, people leave the store and head to the Katy Trail head 1/4 mile away, and then just head down the trail as far as they want before returning. Also, unlike the Wednesday morning group where my 9:30 or so pace found me at the absolute back of the pack, tonight I found myself leading the way along with my new friend Paul. He was pushing the pace a little faster than was comfortable for me, though constantly asking me if it was okay. The honest answer was that it was fine – I was sweaty and out of breath and couldn’t really sustain a full conversation, but I so rarely do that to myself in a run that I think it was exactly what I needed.
Result? 4.8 miles in 40:29, with mile splits of 8:32, 7:55, 8:17, and 8:47. I like that bell curve of fast in the middle, and I was seriously proud of myself for pushing it so much – especially in the Texas heat (which is definitely better than summer, but still not exactly ideal). It was neat to see how much I could push myself, and while I ended the run feeling sweaty but accomplished, I also knew that I probably had it in me to go a bit faster – particularly if I had come in well-rested.
I’m so excited to see just how well I can do when I try, and also quite excited about the half marathon that I’ll be running here in Dallas on Sunday morning. With a lot of rest (ha, we’ll see with the weekend I have lined up) and cooler temps, maybe I can really crush this? We shall see!
But for now… I am spent. Bedtime!