Saturday, March 20, 2010

Beautiful day and a 20 mile long run

Today, I woke up feeling great.  My knees felt great after my epson salt bath last night and 7.5 hours of sleep.  It was 56 degrees and sunny this morning, a perfect day for running.  I started running at 7:32 AM, which was great because it was bright and sunny out.  I wore shorts and a t-shirt.  My plan was to run 15-20 miles today (my schedule said to do 13 today and 22 next weekend, but I have a lot of things going on next weekend, so my thought was that if I felt good I would do 20 today and 13-15 miles next weekend).   Central Park was packed with runners, definitely the most crowded day of the year (and probably the most crowded I have seen it).  With the NYC half marathon tomorrow, many seemed to be out for an easy run.  Unfortunately, I didn't get in to the NYC half via lottery, so I won't be running tomorrow.  I really wanted to run this race as it starts in Central Park, runs through Times Square, and finishes at Battery Park, running down the West Side Highway.  Maybe next year.

I felt great this morning.  Once again, my early run felt great.  The splits for my first 5 miles, in order, were 8:24, 8:02, 8:10, 8:10, 8:19.  The pace for these miles felt very easy again, and I was forcing myself to slow down for all 5 miles. It is a pretty damn good feeling when I can run these times while trying to run slower and taking it easy.  My average heart rate for the first 5 miles, in order, was 142, 142, 151, 146, 148.  For me, these are outstanding heart rate levels for the speed I was running.  I'm a big believer in my average heart rate being the key to easy (or hard) workouts.   My fitness level is at a level where my heart rate levels are lower, and this, in turn, is why I can run faster and longer at a faster pace.

Today, I ended up running 20 miles.  I ran into my friend BGR and we ran about 5 miles together, which was great (for me from miles 9-13).  Overall, my pace was 8:23 per mile (my previous best was 8:34 for 20 miles) and my average heart rate was 154.  Click here for the splits for each of my 20 miles from my watch (and average heart rate).

I felt great during the run except from miles 5-7, when my right knee was twinging a lot.  It hurt.  It went away after mile 7 (not sure why).  When I finished the 20 miles, I kept moving for about 90 minutes, never sitting down, as my right knee was definitely sore and my legs felt tight.    The knee pain went away after about 90 minutes when my knee loosened up.  I rolled it out when I got home to loosen up an obviously tight IT band and I am icing my knees as I write this. 

We shall see how my knees feel over the next few days (the 2nd day after my long run always results in the most soreness). 

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