I decided to try running fast last night. And all I did was prove to myself how slow I am.
I was almost completely out of breath two minutes in. I looked down at the Garmin and saw that I was running in the mid nines -- slower than I was running at the end of my long, slow run yesterday. Granted, I was running up a hill and, like an idiot, I didn't warm up at all. But still. Out of breath at 9:30 a mile?
A quarter of the way through I got up to 8:14, and after the halfway point, on a long downhill, I clocked a 7:14 average. But I felt like I was all-out sprinting. Certainly not a pace I could carry for 26.2 miles.
Is this because I'm getting older? Because I had a brief smoking relapse during the campaign? Because I'm still relatively early in a consistent fitness program?
I didn't have my heart monitor on. If I had, I fear it would've been pretty darned high.
When I had it on during the long, slow run on Sunday, I kept hitting 168 during the running parts. According to the standard heart rate formula, it should be at 150 or so when I'm training at that effort level.
The next day I called the physical fitness experts at my gym and asked them if this was too high. They said that there's some flexibility in those numbers. That a better gauge is the conversation test, meaning if you can talk while you run, you're doing OK. I'd say I could definitely talk during my run on Sunday (though I had no one to talk to), so I guess I was doing OK.
They also said that the more I exercize, my heart rate will go down. That over time I'll need to gradually increase my threshold by adding distance or adding intensity.
Well, having tried the intensity last night, in a sloppy, impatient way, I'd say it's best I hold off on that for now and just stick with plan of slowly and carefully adding more miles.
Also, I think I should get a thorough check up. Like other runners across the world, Ryan Shay's death has me feeling uneasy.