Thursday, the sun returned, but that wasn't the only thing. It also marked the return of competitive training runs with my coworker Dan. Last year (especially the fall), we were running at the same level and ran alot together. During our runs, rather than taking it easy, we would continually take turns pushing the pace. If I was feeling tired one day, I would just do my best to keep him in sight and vice versa. Admittedly, we both got burnt out from training so hard and by the end of November we both toned it down quite a bit. But, we both liked how much faster we got by training this way. So on Thursday, I told Dan I was planning on doing a longish run and he said he was up for the challenge.
We decided on a 10 mile run (exactly 10 mapped out online) on the roads from our office. With the temperature climbing up to 60 degrees and the sun out for the first time in a few days, we hit the road. Our first mile was 7:15. I wasn't sure if Dan could keep this pace up since he hasn't done a run more than 7 miles since November. To my surprise, he surged ahead. My legs felt like they were working pretty hard to keep up. I definitely was going a little bit faster than I would if I was alone. He kept it up and I was trailing a couple of seconds behind, waiting for him to fall back. I was hoping he wasn't overdoing it. He has a Garmin watch, and his strategy is to keep his heart rate steady throughout the majority of the run. This is because Garmin can't keep the mileage accurate - "lying" about the real pace. I either laugh or get infuriated every time his watch beeps denoting a mileage marker that I know is wrong. At about 5.5 miles, we entered my favorite neighborhood to run in. It's a great distraction from how my legs might be feeling. There's a river, a tidal bay, Narragansett Bay, and views of the Jamestown and Newport bridges, not to mention the interesting homes and estates. At the 8 mile mark I checked my watch and we were in the high 56 minutes. I now knew that this could be a PR for me and Dan if we pushed the last 2 miles. Push it we did, and we finished in 1:10:32 - good for a 7:03 mile pace. We were both extremely pleased. That's a very fast pace at that distance for us.