Today I was blessed with winter weather just good enough to preserve running conditions. I shoveled an inch of light fluffy snow off my driveway, and headed off to church. By the time I got home, the shoulders were mostly clear thanks to daylight and waste heat from traffic.
When I set out to run, it was 26° F with W wind 12-15 mph. With decent footing to run on, this is weather I understand. I dress for it, I warm up, I set off to run slowly. I actually managed to hold the first mile to over 8 minutes, and mile 2 announced itself right at 16 minutes. Then came the hills, and as usual my average pace increased. But with the slow start, the splits didn't get terribly fast.
The plan was to run 10 miles. I had mapped out a variation of last week's run that didn't quite get there, adding a small hill near the end of the run. This had the advantage of giving me an opportunity to bail out for less distance if I couldn't handle the full 10 miles.
The first seven and a half miles were pretty uneventful. They went much as planned, with decent footing and traffic behaving nicely. Then I began to get some twinges in my right thigh.
If I weren't training for a race, I probably would have slowed to a walk around 8 miles and figured that it would take longer to build distance. But I'm training for a half at the end of April . . . and Mr. Testosterone got the better of me. The plan was 10 miles, and I went for 10 miles.
Late in the run, I added a minor variation to the original plan, running down an almost-clear sidewalk that I had expected to be unfit for running. This variation got me back to my driveway right at 10 miles. By that time, I was ready to slow to the walking cooldown . . . at which point my right hamstring complained a bit. Oh, well. Too late to do anything about that now.
Cooled down, stretched, rehydrated, and refueled. Had a bunch of household tasks to do, and I was pretty creaky walking around doing them. Four hours later, it's not so bad. This feels more like a training phenomenon than a true injury; tomorrow I should know for sure.
The run timed out at 10.01 miles in 1:18:04, for an average pace of 7:48 per mile. RunKeeper shows a variation of 113 feet from the low to high points of the run:
While I did speed up in the middle of the run, none of the splits were outrageously fast:
Looked at my records, and if I count the week as ending on Sunday my mileage went up by 10% from last week to this. That's the most that you're supposed to increase weekly mileage according to many training plans, and it might have been a shade too much for me right now. I hope to get away with it, but the better part of valor would be to not increase the long run very much next week. If all goes well, maybe ten and a half miles, while holding the other two runs at their current distance due to the time constraints of running on a lunch break.
Today, I couldn't have run 13 miles. Perhaps I shouldn't have run 10 miles. But I was able to run those 10 miles today, when two weeks ago I could not have. This is progress. I think I need to build the mileage more slowly than 10% increases each week; but I also think I can do that and be prepared to run 13.1 miles by race day.