Breakthrough workout this morning. Finally it is starting to smell like the Trials. I would not say a Trials Qualifier is in the bag, but using a soccer analogy, before I had to pass a couple of very good defenders and then trick the goalee, while now it is just the goalee.
Ran with Nick and Jeff. Standard 5 mile tempo. Was not expecting much starting the day with 64 miles on the odometer for the week already. Last night I felt sluggish. So the plan was to run all of it at 5:40, slower is OK if 5:40 feels too hard. Then a kick with 400 to go. This would measure how hard the tempo really was and give a very reliable indicator of fitness without actually pushing it over the top.
Felt sluggish in the warmup. Then we started the tempo. First quarter did not look promising - 1:27, did not feel particularly easy. Next quarter in 1:25, felt harder than the first, but sustainable. Again nothing special. Then 1:22, and another in 1:22, 5:37 for the mile. Nick and Jeff were setting the pace, and I was just following them. The pace did not feel hard, but I've had so many days like that where 5:30 pace early on felt easy, and then after 2 miles I could not sustain it. So I was not getting too optimistic.
Next 0.5 in 2:43, and it feels OK, still like a marathon pace. This is encouraging. Nick saw were ahead of the pace and eased off a bit. Next 0.5 in 2:47, 5:30 for the mile, 11:07 at 2. That felt way too comfortable. HR still hovering around 150. 2:49 for the next 0.5, 13:56 at the turnaround. Still feels comfortable, but I am crossing my fingers. Jeff started to struggle and fell back. Oddly enough, we traded places from last week when it was I who struggled exactly the same way - the breathing is fine, but you just cannot go any faster.
Nick picked it up a bit. 2:46 for the next 0.5, 16:43 at 3 miles, 5:36 mile. Still feels like marathon pace, maybe a tiny bit too aggressive, HR made its way to 157. Steady pace for the next mile, 5:33, 22:16 with a mile to go. The uphill quarter in 1:23, that brought HR up to 163, but it did not feel 163-miserable. Next quarter in 1:24, feels more threshold like, but still not quite there, then 1:23.
Finally the last quarter. The moment of truth. Was I just fooling myself telling myself the pace was easy, was this a mental game, or a real gain in fitness? Ran 69 seconds - this removes all doubt. The fastest I've ever been able to do off anywhere close to that pace before has been 76. This gave us 5:19 for the last mile, 27:35 for the 5 miles, which is a course PR for me, and the last 2.5 in 13:39.
Ran 0.1 during the day to find Joseph who escaped from the house on his toy motorcycle. He did not get very far, but this is our family escape distance record for all ages, not just 2 and under. In the evening ran to Reams to get Jacob some diapers, then a mile with the kids, and then 4.04 with a stroller and Jacob in it. Met Scott Hillman and his wife Esther. Scott is going to join us tomorrow.