|Five loops with one variation|
Things looked fairly bleak this morning when I looked outside to gauge weather conditions. It was raining, not a surprise, but I was still disappointed. I'd prepared myself for that possibility and my plan was to run outside as long as the rain remained moderate. I put on water-friendly running gear, including my ASICS running rain jacket and C9 running tights before heading out the door.
Once outside, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the rain had completely stopped. I didn't know how long that would last, so I planned a route that kept me close to home in the event of a spontaneous downpour. I'd run this 1-mile loop a few times before. The first half has a 2% net incline and the second half has a 1.5% downward slope. I like it because, though modest, I get most of the elevation done by the half mile mark.
Since I frequently whine about the lack of visual stimulation I get from running in my neighborhood, you'd think following the same loop five times would be especially tedious. Surprisingly enough, I like this route because the cycle is so compartmentalized. Push through the first half and cruise through the second. No time wasted thinking about whether to turn left or right. Follow the loop, repeat as required.
I did vary one loop a little just for a change, but the rest were the same. I had a couple of situations when another runner entered my path, going in the same direction. In both cases, I was faced with the challenge of either passing them or being left behind. My competitive side kicked in and I took off in hopes of putting some distance between us. I was able to gain a lot of ground both times, especially when I was on my last mile and I pulled out all stops. I kept my pace in the mid-8 minute range for the last half mile.
It never rained during my run, but the skies opened up soon afterward. Despite that couple of faster segments, I didn't end up with a great overall pace. Some of that may be due to my failure to stop the Garmin when I finished my run. By the time I discovered that mistake, a minute or two had elapsed and this distorted my data.
Even so, I was pleased that I was able to turn up the jets when the situation required it. Of course it's easy to beat someone in a foot race when the other person doesn't know you're racing them. Can I maintain that intensity throughout the whole 5K next Saturday? Probably not, but when it counts, some tactical speed could come in handy.