Well, I suppose the title of this post is a spoiler alert in itself, but new 4 mile PR! Man it feels good to be PR'ing in the midst of high mileage marathon training!
This morning had us venturing back to Brooklyn to run the NYRR Jingle Bell Jog in Prospect Park (side note, after a PR there Thanksgiving, seems that it may be a magical place for me this winter!).
After a sleepless night - thank you neighbors having the rager - 3 - 4 hours of sleep later I was out the door at 6:40 and ready to rock.
There aren't many races left between now and the marathon at the end of January, and I haven't been really pushing the pace too much lately in favor of higher mileage so I had it in my head most of the week that if I was feeling good (stomach mainly) I was going to just try and lay it out there.
Training today called for 8 miles so the plan was to run what we could prior, race and finish up whatever we had left after if any. As it would have it, the commute there took forever and we were only able to get just shy of 2 miles before heading to corrals as the Star Spangled Banner was being sung. Off the bat I noticed that it was going to be a crowded race. My stomach felt great, legs felt great, I knew I was going to go for it and just run.
The race began and off the bat I was fighting my way to try and get on pace. I legitimately hate when people line up with no intention of running anywhere near the pace that they are at. When I know I am just running a race for the hell of it I do not make an effort to get to the front. I spent the first quarter mile or so stuck at about 9:30 trying to get through the crowd. I was anxious to let me legs go but there was just no room to move around.
Finally the course widened and I was able to get to the outside and move along better. I started to push the pace and saw that I was in the mid 8's. I was feeling like I was pushing but not at that "uncomfortable" place where you need to be for shorter races. It also didn't help though that in the beginning is a hill so I wanted to be on the safer side and make sure I didn't totally wear myself down and pushed my pace to the low 8's. I saw that I was consistently around 8:10 or so. Felt "comfortably hard" to me.
Then we hit the downhill and I opened up. I looked down at one point and saw that I was in the low 7's. Felt great! As the downhill ended I kept on pushing - and my mile 3 split was 7:57, not too shabby!
Then...my legs started to ache. I could feel that my quads had taken a good beating with the downhill and they began to feel heavy. I did the best I could to keep up my pace but I was definitely ready to be easing up at this point. That last half mile or so I just tried to tell myself the end was almost there but I looked down at one point and was back around 8:35 or so. I just did my best to finish strong. And, the verdict is in! New 4 mile PR: 33:35, an 8:24 pace!
I am definitely thrilled for a new PR! Whether or not that pushes me into a new pace group (my ultimate goal for really pushing today, oh and the thrill of accomplishment) is yet to be seen.
I could have achieved a better time, I lost time in the beginning trying to get around the runners; and I didn't really get on that pace in the low 8's until after about the first mile.
But, I have been saying that I need to learn to "race" these short distances better. I am getting there. I definitely did it when I PR'd the 5K in Miami, and same with the Turkey Trot. However I will say I much prefer to go long any day than "sprint" short distances. I am much better suited to the mental challenge of double digit miles. And given the extent that I have raced them am much better pacing it out for those.
Overall, I say what is the worst that can happen...you go too fast too quick and have to slow down. Big deal. That is what happened today but hey it felt better finishing a race with a new record and feeling like I actually raced versus the what if I had just put in a bit more effort.
After the race we did the rest of our mileage so that we hit 8 overall:
I got home, showered, made myself the biggest chocolate pumpkin oatmeal pancake - took a fabulous nap and now this is what is taking place:
Food prep weekend addition, take 1. Is it possible to eat too many carrots...because I roasted a bag and lets just say they are slowly but surely being scarfed. I love how roasting turns vegetables into candy for me.
Plenty of sleep tonight and then off to do my long run in the morning! 16, 18 something like that. Let's hope the legs aren't feeling too tired after today.