Today I had good company on my run! I haven't been able to meet Mary for a run since starting my new job a couple of months ago so I was happy that she agreed to drive over to Kezar falls for a moderately long run today. The plan was 15 miles with Fartlek for 6 miles in the middle. I knew Mary wouldn't go for Fartlek or any type of speed work today because she considers herself out of shape and fat right now. But I thought I could probably sneak in "marathon pace" for those middle miles.
I chose a loop in Parsonsfield of just over five miles. The first four miles are on gently rolling hills on wide dirt ATV trails and the last mile is on pavement for a steep half mile downhill followed by a steep half mile uphill. This is a challenging loop, but with good footing (necessary for my road marathoner friend, Mary.) I figured we could stop to hydrate and fuel each loop.
Neither of us time our runs very often, but today I asked Mary to time our loops, secretly thinking about our 2nd loop being at marathon pace. We ran the first loop at a good clip, talking the whole way about all the big changes coming up in Mary's life...moving to Maine, getting married, selling her North Conway house, etc. The loop went fast and we ran it in 43 minutes with a bathroom break! Yay, close to 8 minute pace (which I'd be damned happy to call marathon pace these days.)
Next loop we started getting hot and tired. But as we talked about racing and PRs and past adventures, our egos kicked in and our pace picked up a bit. We started our usual fantasizing about all the great running we could still do if we got motivated. Mary even went so far as explain her great plan about "getting serious" and "training hard" when we entered our next age groups. And the more excited she got the faster our pace got. Good, this was supposed to be our marathon pace loop. This one went by in just under 41 minutes which was less than eight minute pace since the loop is longer than 5 miles.
The last loop brought us back to reality as we were very hot and tired by now. We told each other we would slow down, but we didn't. The conversation was replaced by panting and an occasional grunt or groan. This loop was almost exactly the same time as the one before, plus I had stopped to pee again. We were both happy with 15.6 miles in right around 2:05. Hey, I'm only 15 months away from being 50, a sub 3:30 marathon would be great