Monday, September 17, 2007

What's My Name?

Due to some scheduling conflicts this past week (read: laziness) I had moved some of my runs back a few days and was facing an 8 mile tempo run on Saturday after having just done an 8 mile run on Friday. Combine that with the fact that I have yet to complete an 8 mile tempo run at the suggested pace (9:00 minute miles) and you have a recipe for a VW Jetta run if I ever saw one. I was not looking forward to Saturday's run, but I thought I would go anyway so that I could at least log the miles.

I started out with a nice slow warm up mile, knowing that this run was more destined for failure than that kid in my macro economics class who always wore a helmet and drooled on the desk. I began to pick up the pace at the one mile mark and for some reason unbeknownst to me I also decided that this would be a good time to play around with my stride. I have done this in the past in an attempt to get closer to 180 strides/minute, which appears to be some kind of magic number.

Instead of focusing on how fast I was going, I was focusing on shortening my stride and increasing my turnover speed. I got to the end of the first tempo mile in 8:45 which means that I was a touch too fast (that may be the only time you ever see that phrase in writing on this blog). At the end of the 5th tempo mile I was still on a 9 minute mile pace and was feeling pretty good. This is huge for me because lately I have been fading around the 5 mile mark on my tempo runs and by mile 6 or 7 I'm way off the 9 minute mile pace.

I took a Cliff Shot and kept my focus on shorter strides, faster turnover. I wasn't feeling tired at all, in fact I felt quite superhuman. I was up and over the hills that usually cause me problems without even feeling them. By mile 7 I knew that I was easily going to complete this tempo run at the suggested pace. Nothing was stopping me know. I finished up the 8th tempo mile in a time of 1:11:38 which is a pace of 8:58 per mile. Who's the man? What? I can't hear you. Who's the man?

This was a major breakthrough for me, and I don't often boast on this blog but I felt great after that run. I finished with a cool down mile bringing the total to 10 miles in 1:30:45 and even with the warm up and cool down added in that averages out to a 9:05 minute mile pace. This is the first time during my training that I've really felt like a sub 2 hour half marathon might be possible.

Of course, I came to find out later that Amy had just run a 15K at a 7:58 pace! Thanks a lot Amy! You couldn't let me bask in the glory of my 8:58 pace? You just had to rain on my parade! Some friend you are!


  1. Congrats to you, Vanilla. You **are** da' man! Amy's accomplishment doesn't change that one whit!

  2. you the man vanilla, you the the hell do you manage to count your strides...i have enough trouble keeping upright (as evidenced by the road rash on my right leg)

  3. You da man!

    I don't trust Amy anymore.

  4. That is crazy! I am very curious, too, how you can keep track of a stride count? Then, again, it may give you something to do to pass time. I was always the weird kid who had to count how many steps it would take me to get to certain places :P Anyway, you ROCK on hitting that tempo run pace!!!!

  5. I count the number of times that my right foot strikes the pavement in 30 seconds. Then I double that number because usually in between each right foot strike the left one strikes too. Then I double that again to get strides/minute.

    It's not too difficult, but it really messes up my breathing for 30 seconds.

  6. You da man, Vanilla!

    So the trick to running faster is moving our legs faster? Who woulda thunk it?!

  7. Hey, Amy makes stuff up, remember? ;) You are awesome!!

  8. I'll take your 8:58 pace if you don't want it!

    Awesome job!

  9. I'm sorry I made you feel bad, but your super-modelish good looks make me feel inferior every single day. So now you know how it feels.

  10. @Amy: And then you go and say something like that...

    ... and TOTALLY REDEEM yourself!!

  11. Congrats on the tempo run, dude!


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