Forty-five degrees with pouring rain and wind did not look very inviting for a run this morning. I told myself not to think about it, just get out there and do it. I was scheduled for an hour at 7:15 pace. I ran the flat eight mile Kezar Falls and Cornish loop with a mile around the Kezar Falls neighborhoods added on to make sure I ran the full hour.
My legs felt great after a rest day yesterday. I had a little soreness in the upper hamstrings from a lot of hills last week, and aching shoulders and arms from strength work last night. But I felt good and was running at what felt like a comfortably fast pace. I checked my watch at the 4 mile mark at Rite Aid and it read 29:20. As soon as I looked up from my watch I had to jump off the road because a crazy driver pulled out of the Rite Aid parking lot and started driving on the shoulder of the road straight towards me with no wipers or headlights on. I don't think he ever even saw me. Boy, do I hate running in town.
The pace was a little slower than hoped for, but I didn't think I could go any faster and still hold it for the whole run. So I just worked on staying steady for the rest of the way. I started imagining I was trying to hang onto the lead pack of women in yesterday's marathon. My imagination isn't so bold that I could imagine I was leading the women's pack, but hanging on to the back wasn't out of the realm of my fantasies. This second half of the loop was against the wind and the rain was really coming down, but I was living in my little pretend world and I felt OK.
As I get tired it is hard for me to push off with any spring to keep my stride open. Lately, I have been trying to increase my turnover when I feel my stride starting to shorten and tighten. So with a few miles to go, when my stride started to tighten up and my pace started to slow down, I started concentrating on a quick efficient turnover. This isn't natural for me. I tend to have a slower turnover with a long loping stride. My natural running form is not the most efficient in the world. For years, other runners tried to teach me to increase my turnover and shorten my stride. It just never stuck. But today I really focused on it and this allowed me to hold my pace to the end of the run. It absolutely uses less energy to run that way, but old habits are hard to break. I'll have to keep working on it.
I ended up with nine miles in 1:06:47. This works out to be 7:24 pace or so, a little slower than my hoped for 7:15, but I did my best and held a steady effort the whole way.