I thought of a different post titles while I was running yesterday day. See, it didn’t start off too well. Actually, the first part of the run was very fun and exciting, but the faster pace didn’t lend to me to thinking I could finish 10 miles.

For a long run, my goal pace is a 9:45 average, which I have come close to the past 2 Thursday Runs. My Tempo Run pace has been right at 9:10 average pace for about the past month. So when the first mile of the 4 miles was 8:50, I panicked a little.

I had arranged to run with one of my former classmates, and for the sake of privacy let’s call him, uh, David. He’s a Hokie. No, really… a Virginia Tech Hokie, the sworn enemy of University of Virginia Cavaliers. Well, I went to grad school at UVa so the whole mystical rivalry stuff is not that intense with me, but I do love to see UVa beat Va Tech on the gridiron. Anyway… David is a smart cookie and has gone on to pursue his Doctor of Philosophy here at UT. I bumped into him the other week and we arranged for him to come run with me for at least part of my run.

The plan was to meet at the Aquatic Center, run the MSQ Fab 4 miler course, come back to Aquatic Center, he’d go home and then I would run 6 more miles down on Neyland and James White Greenway.

Side Note: Someone asked the definition of “Greenway”. Here in Knoxville, it’s an Asphalt pathway for none motorized use. Typically they run through parks or other “green” areas. The Sidewalks in Knoxville are non existent, so this is the safe way to run. They do have a thing called “blueways” which you can think of as a bike lane in the river for canoes and other non motorized boats.

The first mile was 8:50 and I was worried. The next mile was in 9:02 and I was hurting. David, however, was running just fine. He was a cross country runner in high school and running a very respectful 18 minute(ish) 5k (3.1 miles). Yeah, my PR is 21:56 for the 5k. I would guess that he could run a 19:30-20:00 minute 5k if he ran one today, but that’s just a guess.

I was praying for stoplights, cars and any other traffic that would give me precious seconds to rest. Even stairs were a welcomed treat. We finished the 4 miles in 35:58 for an 9:00 minute average.

Now what is good is that running with David had forced me to run faster than I would run on my own. So, while I felt like crap and wasn’t sure if I could run even 1 more mile, I knew that it was going to benefit me. Right now in the training, doing Tempo Runs over Long Runs isn’t that big of deal. Plus, I knew the same run at the same pace in a month would be a totally different story after some more training.

So, David went home and I went back to my locker to contemplate what I was going to do. I knew that I had enough left in me for at least 2 more miles. Out and Back and Done. So I drank some Powerade, picked up my new 1 mile map for the beautiful mile marker now living on Neyland Greenway and headed out.

The first mile felt like I was going to DIE. I SOOO wanted to stop but by the time I was really contemplating stopping, I was heading down the big Lake Loudon Hill. The first mile was 9:40… WOW! That’s 5 seconds faster (so right on target) than my target pace AND I ran a fast 4 miles before this. So, I kept on.

At the 1.5 mile marker, I still felt good and was able to get some water in me. I thought, well… if I made it this far, I could see the new mile markers and maybe turn around at mile 2.

I hit Mile 2 in 9:22. WTF! I’m now splitting the difference between my Long Run pace and the Tempo pace that I ran earlier. But if I made it this far, I could see the new mile markers and turn around at mile 3. Starting to sound a little Forrest Gumpish, huh?

Mile 3 in 9:38. Turning around, I was so thankful that I wore a hat. I never wear hats, but I had gotten a CoolMax hat as a finisher at the 2006 Knoxville Marathon and so I wanted to get some use out of it. Note to self: Get Extra CoolMax hats – they rock! As I was running West into the sun, the hat made it very easy to see and shield my eyes from the sun. This made it easier to run as my face and neck weren’t scrunched from trying to avoid the sun and the hat was also keeping the sun out of my eyes.

Mile 4 (which is 8 overall for the day) in 9:20. I am now just moving my feet in a constant rhythm heading back to the aquatic center.

Mile 5 in 9:10. I was motivated to run this last mile a little fast because I knew that the last mile I would have to go UP the Lake Loudon Hill and it’s not User Friendly. I did stop at the mile split to regain some energy. My mouth was dry as I didn’t have any water on me and wouldn’t get anymore until I was finish.

Mile 6 (total mileage for the day = 10) in 10:24. The hill really wore me out. I tried to take in chunks, but it still wore me out. I finished in 1:33:32, very tired and very pleased at my effort for the day.

I thought about how there was a point when everything looked bad, when I wasn’t going to be able to run 2 more miles much less 6, but I started off slow, my body adjusted and it turned out okay.

I’ll be gone all next week, so I won’t have much opportunity to run, but I will be doing lots of walking! My legs aren’t that sore today either, which is a little surprising.

I did fore go my Brick workout today and have decided to swap my Tuesday swim to Friday and move my Brick to Tuesday. This way when I am pretty beat up from the week, I can hop into the pool and get some less impact exercise before the weekend rest.


First 4 Miles: 9:00 Avg Pace
Last 6 Miles: 9:39 Avg Pace
For all 10 Miles: 9:22 Avg Pace

About planet3rry

I'm a husband, father and runner in the Knoxville area. I love the way that running makes me feel and how it has changed my thinking. I am always looking for the new PR whether in the 5k or the marathon