Since the tri I've been going on (and on) about how I just don't believe I run as fast as my times seem to indicate. When I've run with Anita I'm still at my 12:30+ mile, but with the shorter runs with Olivia have been more in the sub-12:00 range. With much faster miles thrown in. I've been denying that there's any way I ran that fast (fast is relative, ok?).
Last night's run was with Olivia and Claudia. I knew there was no way I could keep up with them. I can run Olivia's slowest speed, but Claudia is just way too fast for me. I figured I'd run to the stretch with them then let them go on their way while I moseyed along behind. In fact, I almost blew off the run entirely because I was in no mood to run alone. In no mood to run, actually, I just wanted to go home and veg. But I knew that if I waited until I felt like running, until I felt inspired to run, until I was motivated to run -- I wouldn't be running again until maybe spring. I showed up dressed and ready to go.
We ran starting from the other end of the trail. That meant that our outgoing leg was a strong downgrade, the return would be upgrade. I felt very comfortable as we ran along and mentally thanked them for being slow enough for me. We chatted and talked and blabbed until the stretch, then kept running at about the same pace. I thought that we'd been running about a 12:15 and was happy they were being so cooperative. At the turnaround, about 1-1/2 miles, I looked at my watch and was surprised at how fast we were going. We took a turnaround walk break, then started running again.
The return was tougher and felt like we were going faster and harder (and uphill). My breathing became ragged but I wanted to keep up so that I'd have company and could be part of the conversation. At the last block I let them edge ahead because I was concentrating on not blowing a gasket or passing out. Then I decided that I couldn't let them smoke me like that (where did that come from?) and went for the finish sprint. At that point I was certain I was toast but I finished right behind them.
It turned out that we ran our last mile at 11:18. Wait, I don't run that fast. Even funnier, we ran the final .2 at a 9:58 pace. Our overall average, including our walk break, was 11:36/mile. Faster than Olivia and I have been running. Granted, I felt like crap afterward and it took me quite a while to catch my breath and I was dripping sweat as if it were raining. But 11:36! That should translate to a long run of 12:30/mile, right? Obviously I can't redline for more than a couple of miles but I should be able to go a bit faster, longer.
I'm still in denial. Possibly Mr. Garmin is incorrect? Maybe the trail is really shorter than we thought? Maybe I'm reading the times wrong? Or maybe I'm in better condition that I'd thought and my times are getting faster.
The one odd thing is that after Tuesday's run I got a bad headache that woke me in the middle of the night and kept me from falling back asleep. The same thing happened last night. I don't know if they're even related to the runs but it's possible that something about the extreme effort is causing it. I think I could be a bit dehydrated although I've taken care to drink lots of water afterward. There will have to be some trial and error because this is unpleasant. Any suggestions?