Saturday was a full day of household chores in the morning and volunteer work in the afternoon, with a bit of grocery shopping after the volunteer gig. I got in a 5K walk in the morning, and still barely got my 10K steps in. This is a new experience for Saturdays, which used to be easy days to get the 10K steps. There's no mystery as to the change; this happened because I made Saturday a non-running day before the long run on Sunday.
In contrast, Sunday is turning into a slam dunk day for the 10K steps. It doesn't matter that I get home after church, lunch, and shopping at 2 PM with only 2400 steps on the pedometer; that long run will push the step count well over 10K. That was part of the point of moving the long run to Sunday; when Sunday was a non-running day, it was challenging to get the 10K steps in with under 3K steps by noon.
The plan for today was to run 9 miles, or a little further. I got better weather than last week, 33° F with W wind 15 mph. I like running at around freezing, and the wind wasn't strong enough to be a major nuisance. Most importantly, the shoulders were clear and dry, while the sidewalks were clear and mostly dry. Yes, the forecast had lake effect snow showers; but you have to grab the opportunities you get.
The snow flurries I set out into soon faded to cloudy, and I had two brief periods of running in sunshine. Late in the run, it was through snow flurries again, but there was no accumulation until the flurries got heavier during my walking cooldown. As I came inside to stretch, the snow was just beginning to stick to the shaded part of my driveway. That's good timing; I got my full run in with good footing. I have a coating of snow on the driveway now, but I can deal with that in the morning.
With good footing and good weather, I managed to hold my pace down for the first two miles. It felt like I was plodding, but I got it done. Then came the hills. I'm not good at controlling my pace on hills. I naturally run slower going up, and then I want to run faster going down to maintain the average. In practice, the average speeds up. And it did, for miles 4 through 7. Miles 8 and 9 were flatter, and I was content to plod some more; then I was close to the end and just enjoyed running. Got back to my driveway with a little less running time than a week ago, so I ran to fill out the time and 9.5 miles, a compromise between consolidation and adding a mile. Could I have kept running another mile? I'm sure I could have. But it wouldn't have been the smart thing to do.
The elevation (variation of 110 feet between highest and lowest points) and splits, per RunKeeper:
Total run was 9.51 miles in 1:12:06 for an average pace of 7:35 per mile. That's a shade faster than a long slow run should be, but at least I started slow. And I'm feeling pretty good, so I must not have overdone things too badly.
There was some minor grumbling about the cold (what cold?) from the bad foot early in the run, then it quieted down. The hips and thighs held up well. Nothing really grumbled until I slowed for my walking cool-down, when my calves mentioned that they had been working pretty hard. That's new for now, and reminiscent of when I went through 5K training. Fortunately, the walking cool-down made the calves happy. I gave them extra attention when stretching, and everthing feels okay now. If my legs feel as good tomorrow as they do right now, 10 miles next Sunday won't be a problem.
I need to start mapping some routes for longer distances. I'm beginning to be confident that I'll be able to work up to a half marathon distance by the end of April, even with being busy at work and putting in 8 hours of volunteer work a week during tax season.
It occurred to me along about mile 6 that if I were running this far in the summer, I'd have to carry water with me. Hmm. If we get unseasonably warm weather in April, I'll have to figure out what to do about in-run hydration for the long runs. But for now, I'm glad to have weather that lets me run for 72 minutes without worrying about getting dehydrated.
Life is good.