Brain catching up with the body

Before I say anything else, I have to tell you that during this run last night — no joke — a person in a full gorilla costume ran out from behind a tree and handed me a white, long-stemmed carnation. There were two gorillas doling out flowers to Green Lake walkers and runners, in fact.

I… don’t even know. Apparently this was not the first gorilla sighting at Green Lake, but my gorilla was black, not pink.

Anyway. This run was fun!

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It was a beautiful evening (the return of shorts before July!), and I was feeling super-happy to be outside. I saw my split for mile two and was like, “Whoa, I need to slow down! I’ll never be able to hold onto this pace for eight miles.”

I guess my brain hasn’t caught up with my body, since I was not only able to hang on comfortably, but was just a few seconds away from a sub-8:00 mile in mile six! Cray.

Whenever I think about how long a run is going to take me, I still think something like, “OK, six miles, that’ll take about 60 minutes.” Then I remember I don’t run 10-minute miles anymore, and I subtract five minutes. Last night, when I looked at my watch around mile six, I realized I could subtract 10 minutes.

It’s scary to think about setting goals based on faster training runs like this because I still feel like somehow this speediness is a fluke, and I would fall apart in a half-marathon or shorter race if I tried to run this pace. Yet I would be super-disappointed if I finished a race knowing that I could have run faster, but held back because of a lack of confidence in myself.

My upcoming 15K (9.3 miles) on May 18 will be the test! My PR from two years ago is 1:23:07, which is an 8:56 average pace. I remember that felt so fast and I couldn’t believe I ran sub-9:00 miles for 9.3 miles.

Could I shoot for an 8:00 average pace this year? Could I squeak out a few sub-8:00 miles? We’ll see. (I’ll still have to run 10 miles after the race for marathon training… those will be slow.)

Last summer I was recovering from a nasty sprained ankle, running 10+-minute miles, and training to be able to run a whole 5K without walking, with a secondary goal of breaking 30 minutes (I finished in 29:22). That doesn’t feel very long ago to me.

The trick will be to push myself and believe I can do it. I’ve done this before. I look forward to doing it again!

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