Tonight I headed to the Downtown Activity Center to meet up with the Rush group for the Wednesday night fun run. I wanted to get in 5 miles for the night but didn't really care about my pace or effort. I just wanted to get the time in on my feet as I am working on building my base back up.
I managed to get there a little early so I headed out to do a mile warmup on my own. I took it easy and even took a walk break since my legs were feeling a little tired to start out. I got back to the DAC and met up with the rest of the group. There were a couple of newbies who were hoping to do 3 miles. I talked them into going the 4 miles I had remaining with me.
We all headed out with the different pace and distance groups quickly separating out. My plan was to take the newbies out on a 2 mile out and back course. That way if there were issues it would be easy for them to know where we were. (Bad experience a few years ago when someone got upset that I didn't stay with them the entire run and they got lost on their way back!)
Anyway, we didn't talk much as they were both listening to headphones. They just tucked in behind me on the run and I definitely felt the pressure to be a good pace leader! Because I was not worrying about the pace I really didn't watch my mile splits. I knew the general route and distance and just kept it as casual as I could with an easy start. We hit our turnaround at the Roundabout in Memorial Park and everyone was doing good.
On the way back in, we had a long gradual hill that always wears me out around the 3 mi mark. Right near the mile marker there is a little section of stairs that connect a neighborhood with the street we were running. Normally I walk up the stairs and a few steps after...well tonight my running partners took the stairs and then started back up running. I missed that little bit of recovery that I am so used to! From there we had a nice downhill and flat section for about 1/2 mile and then we had a short hill to get back into the downtown area.
Around the base of the hill we caught up with the always awesome Ali Rush. Ali is a superstar runner and the wife of our coach Mike Rush. It's rare that I get to run with Ali but when I do she always manages to get me to push the pace and be a calming influence. Ali is recovering from being sick and had to cut her run short since she was coughing and struggling. Even with that, she paced us in for the last 1/2 mile and it was a great finish.
I got home and reviewed my splits and was surprised to discover that I had executed a near perfect progression run. I had no intentions when I set out to run a specific pace or effort so I was pretty happy to see the results.
Mile 1 - 11:46
Mile 2 - 11:37
Mile 3 - 10:55
Mile 4 - 10:51
Mile 5 - 10:28
Mile .20 - 9:59
Avg: 11:05 vs 11:30 last week for a pretty similar route/distance.
Another improvement over last week...I didn't run into the Magnolia tree branch on 2nd! Gotta take every win you can right!