A Good Time with A Tempo Run

I had good work outs last week. I successfully completed a 5-mile tempo run at a 8:00 pace for the first time. While Ben ran with a couple new (and very speedy) members of our running club, I ran with Nell, James, and a few other people. On Tuesday nights, our running club runs between 3 to 6 or 7 miles at various speeds depending upon who shows up. I decided to run with Nell and James because they intended to run 5 miles at 8:00 pace, which was exactly what I wanted to do. I decided to stick with them as long as possible and if I couldn’t keep up, let them go.

We ran out usual 5-mile loop in Liberty State Park. Now that it’s getting dark earlier, running in the parking lot is getting to be a bit more dangerous because of the speed bumps. Nell and I usually trip over one or more of the speed bumps. The lot is run down, so the speed bumps are not clearly marked. James held a flashlight and tried to highlight each speed bump as he went over it. I really appreciated it. I’m sure I would have tripped over more otherwise.

For most of the run I stuck with Nell and James. After two miles, I desperately wanted to slow down, but I told myself that I can clearly run 4 miles at an 8:00 pace because I did it at Bayonne. So I stuck out the pace stubbornly. Meanwhile Nell and James were animatedly talking about lots of topics. They tried asking me a question and including me in the conversation. I grunted a one-word answer. Between that and my heavy breathing, they quickly figured out that I was working hard and in no way could participate as a conversant. So I just listened to them while running. In the last mile where I had told myself that I could slow them if I did 4 miles at the designated pace, I told myself that this was the last mile and I can do anything for a mile. As painful as it was, I kept on running at the 8:00 pace. In the last quarter mile, Nell and James ran faster and peeled away from me, but I could still see them. I noticed that every once in a while, James looked over his shoulder to make sure that I was all right. Another gesture that I appreciated. While I know I can take care of myself, it’s always nice when others are looking out for you.

At the end of the run, I was thoroughly delighted to see that I successfully completed my tempo run.

Mile splits

  1. 8:06
  2. 8:06
  3. 7:53
  4. 7:49
  5. 8:05

Total time: 39:58

Our running club has a tradition of going out for dinner after running, which is always a lot of fun socializing time. Ben was delighted that I nailed my tempo run. James moonlights as a pacer and described to us his pacing philosophy and what he does as a pacer (fascinating stuff. I intend to interview him for a future post). He told Ben that he listened to my breathing and that I sounded labored in the first couple of miles, so he slowed us down a bit. Then I sounded better, so he sped us up a bit. And you can see this from my splits. Ben pretended to be jealous that I completed my first successful 5-mile tempo with another man.

In mock seriousness I proposed to James, “Will you be my forever pacer?”

James accepted. Ben pretended to take offense at my affrontery. Then I turned to Ben and said, “Don’t worry, you can still be my boyfriend.”

Speed work on the treadmill is also going well. I can now reliably complete 2 miles at an 8.6 mph (~7:00 pace). I plan on slowly working on increasing the distance on the treadmill while keeping the speed constant.

Over the weekend, I did my first road race “double.” They were two separate races, but I raced a 10K on Saturday and a 5K on Sunday. I hadn’t ever completed two races in a single weekend before. I’ll write a race review of these in the next couple of days. I wondered what it would be like to race the day after a race, and it wasn’t so bad since the distance was fairly short. I imagine I wouldn’t have been so chipper if I had completed a half marathon the day before. I give lots of respect for people who go out and do these race doubles and even a hat trick, such as the 5K, 10K, and half marathon at the Runner’s World Half & Festival.

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