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Running by Feel

September 4, 2009

Being Garmie-less has its inherent challenges, not the least of which is not knowing how far I’ve gone on many of my runs. Tuesday’s speedwork was a five-mile tempo run, which I ran by running an easy mile, then clocking a fast middle segment I was pretty sure was about five miles, then running another easy mile home. Thanks to the fact that I run pretty familiar territory most days, I’m mostly sure of my mile markers. The plan called for 8:17 pace for the tempo portion of the run. Not having run speedwork for a few weeks, I knew that pace would be impossible to keep, so I set out to hit 9-minute miles instead. When I got to the end of the 5-mile loop and looked at my stopwatch, I knew the time was short of the 45 minutes, but I can’t do math on the run, so I was home before I knew that my pace for the run was 8:32–not bad, considering.

Ran with Little G Wednesday, so she marked our miles. That evening I sat at the computer and very carefully mapped out a seven-mile course, noting all the mile markers. I played with my ipod and figured out how to mark the splits on its stopwatch. In the morning, I tucked an old playing card with all the mile markers written on the back in permanent marker. In the end I didn’t need to look at it, though–as I passed each one my memory was good enough to remember it, and I clicked the ipod’s center button to mark another split and keep going. My splits were imperfect, as sometimes the mile marker fell on an inexact spot, but at least I had some rough estimate of how my pace was*.

Tomorrow is long run day. The training plan calls for 16 miles, my longest run of the season so far. The plan is not to even mark my splits. I’ll map a course that gives me 16 miles, click my stopwatch as I set out, and click it again when I hit the ending spot. I won’t worry about how my pace is from mile to mile but only about completing the distance. There are excellent reasons for it. It’s the first weekend of September, typically one of the hottest, most humid times of the year in southeastern Florida. So I don’t want to be fast, I want to be well. In addition, I haven’t run anything longer than 12 miles in the last month. I’m not worried about finishing the distance, but I definitely don’t want to be looking at the clock. Little G is unavailable to help pass the distance, so it will be an exercise in endurance and stick-with-it-ness.

*It was highly variable. Some miles may have been marked long and some short. Besides, since I was running with the ipod, I went ahead and listened to music, and nothing throws off my pace more than having music in my ear. Fast-tempo song? I’m at 8:30. Lazy-daisy ballad snuck into the playlist? 10:45. No problem on this run, though. This 7-miler was the end of nine consecutive days of running, a total of 57 miles, and my highest mileage in a long time. I wanted to do it to get back into training mode, but I needed the easy relaxing miles, and a music run was just right.

As for the playing card, it didn’t make it through the run. Even with that laminate they use on them, it just didn’t stand up to the humidity and sweat. It was in wet, torn shambles by the time I got home, and I was disappointed. They don’t make ’em like they used to.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2009 7:18 am

    i think i lost my garmin… so i haven’t ran with it since friday. though i’ve only had it for about 2 weeks it’s already very different to run without it! although your miles were ‘off’ its still nice to have a rough idea of how you were doing. i was thinking this morning on my run how i used to run without a watch period! i’d just look at the clock in the house before i left and when i got home. oh how times have changed 😉

    like the new look!!

  2. the Ringmaster permalink*
    September 8, 2009 5:35 am

    Hey, I hope you find your Garmin, Lindsay! Funny how we change our habits up little by little as we run, huh?

    Thanks, I’m still getting used to the new look myself!

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