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What it feels like to run under a 7-minute-mile

Posted May 20 2009 11:11am
With all of these hills in Austin and all of the hot weather and humidity we had last week, I' ve yet to have a "blow-out-the-lungs" kind of run.

I' ve been more concerned with getting through the run in one piece. And being new to town has slowed me down some as well. I' ve done several runs on the East and Northeast side of Austin with Team Rogue-issued maps in my hands. So I' ve been more worried about questions like, "Do I Zig here or Zag," than how fast I can go.

But this morning, I decided the lungs needed a good workout.

Yes, I still had the map of the Rogue Running map in my hand. And yes, the map didn' t properly name one of the streets I was supposed to turn on and I wound up running next to a graveyard. (Ironic, huh?) But I' m becoming a little more adapt at running and reading maps, and more important, these streets are starting to become more and more familiar.

And the weather was fantastic. As Jess wrote the other day, "This weather is going to drive me to injury!"

(For non-runners, this means: When it' s cool outside, you can run faster. But because many runners are just coming off marathons, or are building up a base for their next marathon, the hot weather is good because it makes us run slower, allowing our bodies to recover. Fast running equals little or no recovery and more susceptible to injury. Slow running equals more recovery and less susceptible to injury.)

Of course, this morning I didn' t care about running slow. At. All.

My goal for the 8-mile run was to do a one-mile warm up, then just let my legs go as fast as they wanted to go without turning the run into a race. In other words, a nice little tempo run, which is between my 10k and half marathon pace. I was making this the same kind of run I' d do on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I lived in Fort Worth and ran with my Lukes Locker buddies. (Ohhh, for the good old days).

Here are the splits..

1 - 8:48
2 - 7:32
3 - 6:50 by now, I' m warmed up pretty good. Breathing controlled. Avg. heart rate for this lap was 80%
4 - 6:58
5 - 6:49
6 - 6:38
7 - 6:54
8 - 7:00 ended the run with a half-mile cool down.

Totals: 8 miles in 57:32. Pace: 7:11.
Pace over last 6 miles: 6:52.
Avg heart rate for entire run: 81 percent.
Max heart rate: 89 percent.

This route had a lot of hills. (Every route in Austin does, it seems). But I was glad that I was able to be pretty speedy without my heart rate ever hitting 90 percent of maximum, which would then be 5K speed.

The run felt good, really good. I never had to "fight" myself to keep my speed below a 7-minute-mile pace. I' d stop at a light or for water, and then I' d take off and I' d easily get back into my goal pace. My lungs never felt too stressed and though my legs started whinning just a bit near the end, I could have easily done another few miles keeping a sub 7-minute-mile pace.

Tomorrow I plan on doing an easy 5-miler (keep my pace between 8 and 8:30 or even slower if my legs complain) and then I' ll rest Friday and run 14 miles Saturday. That will put me at 43 miles for the week.

*****************

Conversation I overheard while stretching this morning at the Team Rogue headquarters.

Lady 1: So, are you still dating the doctor?
Lady 2: Yes, and it' s going good. You know he has been busy lately. He had a lot of (inaudible) this week and last.
Lady 1: Oh?
Lady 2: And did I tell you about my involvement with a tri(athlon)? I' m going to host a triathlete this weekend.
Lady 1: Really
Lady 2: Yeah, see (the doctor) is participating. And I got online and it asked anyone wanting to host a triathlete should sign up. They asked me about my house size, bedrooms, bathrooms, part of town I live in. If I' m a smoker. And you know I told them Hell No.
Lady 1: I bet.
Lady 2: Yeah, so they matched me up with somebody and I' ll be hosting them.

"Whooopeeee," I thought to myself. I was only listening/eavesdropping because I thought Lady 2 was going to have a good story to tell about the doctor.
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