In case you didn't realize, I live in a sauna. A sauna named Virginia. It is at least somewhat warm, year-round. In fact, as long as you are running during daylight hours, it's very likely that you don't need to own a pair of running tights.
In some ways, this is awesome. I can almost always get outside for a run. I'm never afraid that I am going to get frostbite and if I time my runs correctly, there is almost no chance of heat stroke. (Unfortunately, it can be really challenging to run at 3 a.m.)
The major problem with the warmth of the area is that I never get an accurate gauge of my running "potential."
Think about it. Numerous studies have shown that runners perform best when the temperatures are between 41 and 55 degrees. Do you know how many days fall in that range in Virginia? About 6.
Thus, I have run very few times in "ideal" conditions. In fact, it's rare that I race when it is cooler than 60 degrees. The two times I did in recent history, I ran wicked fast. Like a 33:50 marathon PR fast.
Recently, though, I have felt like I just can't find my speed. I am currently training for a sub-4 marathon, but most days I struggle to hold a pace that would just give me a PR. I know that this is mostly due to the fact that the average temperature when I run is around 78 degrees with 70% humidity. That take a toll on your pace. And your confidence.
Honestly, I was feeling unsure about my ability to run strong during Hood to Coast. My final leg is the longest of any on the course (8.09 miles) and I will be running it alone. Without an iPod. On close to no sleep. And above all, I don't want to let my teammates down.
So, yesterday, I set out on a run in Rhode Island. 6 miles in much cooler temperatures with little humidity. I left the iPod at home and hoped to mimic what my Hood to Coast legs will be like.
Mile 1 felt easy. 9:24.
Mile 2, I knew I was going to run 8 instead of 6. 9:05.
Miles 3 and 4, piece of cake. 9:01. 8:49.
Turnaround, then mile 5. 8:50.
Mile 6, couldn't believe there were only 2 miles left. 9:00.
Mile 7, Spotted a deer, a fox and DEM. 8:51
Mile 8, I so have this. 8:50.
Do you know what my goal marathon pace is?
Do you know what 8:50 felt like?