I decided to join Emma for her long road run again this week, 15 miles at as easy (8:30-ish) pace. I had a little lingering tightness in my calves following Saturday's run, and due to the absurd cold on Sunday I decided not to bother running. An easy paced run in warmer weather (mid 20's) seemed like a good idea. Since Emma was once again recovering from an overnight shift at work and only got 4 hours of sleep before the run I was pretty sure we'd be able to keep it slow.
Most of the first three miles are a pretty substantial uphill on the route I had worked out, so there wasn't much risk of going out too fast. For some reason our trip to Scotland last November messed with my Garmin and everything got reset. Since then it hasn't been indicating my mile spits, and generally I don't really care so I hadn't bothered to figure out how to get the split thingy turned back on. Today I did want to try to keep an eye on our pace so I was left to do it the old fashioned way, but I've never been good at doing math on the run. I got as far as three miles, when I noted that we were averaging just over an 8:30 pace. After that I lost interest in trying to do the math and just tried to run at what felt like an easy pace.
Emma and I chatted as we ran, and I would hear her Garmin beeping at the splits but our two watches never coincide with distance (my piece-of-junk 405 is always shorter that her 305). We never actually discussed the pace, just both seemed content to be running together. Although I'd rather be on trails I'll take what I can get with Emma, and these days she doing most of her runs on the road as she's training for a road half marathon this spring.
I decided to wear my Brooks Cascadias today, they've got the biggest heal of anything I own right now which seemed like a good idea to reduce the strain on my achilles and calves. While most of my running is in shoes with a fairly low heel-toe differential (6 to 9 mm) I'll try to run in something beefier if I feel like I've over-worked my achilles. It seemed to work since the pain I had been feeling before the run disappeared quickly and wasn't an issue at all during the run. I bought the Cascadias in June, 2008 to wear for the Vermont 100. I actually bought 3 pair of them in 2008 so I could change out of my wet ones during the race. Even though I did a fair amount of training in them in early 2008 I've hardly worn them since the race so 2 of the 3 pairs still have a lot of life left in them. These days I like to use lighter, lower shoes on trails so the Cascadias have become my back-up road shoe. At this rate I should be able to get another 3+ years out of them.
Somewhere around 11 miles into the run Emma passed me and although she didn't say anything I got the distinct impression she thought I was going too slow. She's always been much more consistent than me and I'm pretty sure she wasn't trying to speed up, just trying to keep me from slowing her down. When we got to 13 miles we crossed Rt 302, and with just over 2 miles to go there was a noticeable increase in Emma's pace. Nothing outrageous, but I knew what she was up to. When we hit 14 miles there was another little injection of speed, and this time I responded by opening up my stride and pushing a bit more. I was surprised that after a 12.5 hour overnight shift and only 4 hours of sleep Emma was able to kick it in at the end of a long run. Wait a minute, that shouldn't surprise me.
The last mile came in at a 7:15 pace which was just what we needed to drop the average pace of the entire run to just below 8's. What I was truly surprised about was how good we both felt throughout the run, up until the last two miles it was really pretty effortless running. Of course having each others company provided a pleasant distraction along the way. Sometimes road running isn't all that bad.
distance: 15.1 miles
weather: cloudy, mid 20's