A few weeks ago I discovered the McMillan Running website (www.mcmillanrunning.com) and have been using their pace calculator to determine my pace zones for workouts. It's pretty cool. You just enter a race result (I did my 5K time from the Shamrock Shuffle) and it gives you estimated race results along with pace zones for long runs, tempo runs, intervals...
So far it has proven to be very accurate. I've been using it for my workouts as well as Cheri's, and we've both been able to run in the zones it's giving us even though we sometimes doubt we can hold that pace for a long time, but we always do.
Yesterday, I did the Black Earth Brick. According to McMillan Running, I should be able to run a 10 mile race in 1:11 - a 7:08 pace. I had my doubts on holding that pace for that long, but so for McMillan's has been accurate so I decided to stick with it. Since I rode hard on Friday and I was biking to the race, I figured I would shoot for somewhere in the 7:20-7:30 range. That's probably about the equivalent of running a 7:08 without biking before the event.
I was a little worried about my legs being tired from Friday's ride, but they didn't feel too bad in the morning, a little stiff and sore but not as bad as I expected. My plan was to take it easy on the way out and stay in the pack as much as possible. It was really windy so I didn't want to do any pulling. I just wanted to sit in and save it for the run. Things don't always go according to plan.
There was a group of maybe 40 or 50 cyclist and triathletes at Fleet Feet. I was planning on getting a group of triathletes figuring they would take it a little slower thinking about the run, and the cyclists - some of whom weren't running - would push the pace more. I headed out with the first group. The pace was pretty moderate, and I stayed in the middle of group. After about 5 miles, the pace picked up on a descent and I looked back and discovered we had become a group of 5 well out in front of the rest of the pack...oh yeah, I was with a group of cyclists, not triathletes...no aerobars in this pack. After the descent, the pace stayed at 20 mph the rest of the way and we had a really strong headwind. There were 2 cyclists up front who were pulling and having a conversation and they seemed content to pull the whole way so I hung in and took advantage of the draft. About 4 miles from Black Earth, one of the cyclists got tired of pulling into the wind and pulled over so that left the pulling up to me. I didn't want to do it, but I had no choice and I ended up pulling the group the last 4 miles into Black Earth...and that hurt. That wind was brutal.
Luckily, we had about an hour to kill before the start of the race so I had some time to recover. The race went really well, and I now have even more confidence in McMillan's than I did before. It's a great resource. I headed out running between 7:20-7:30 hoping to pick up the pace a little toward the end if I felt good, and that's exactly what I did so I'm really happy with my performance yesterday. Negative splits at a 10 mile race is a great way to boost your confidence and build enthusiasm for an upcoming half marathon. Here are my splits:
Mile 1 = 7:23
Mile 2 = 7:24
Mile 3 = 7:23
Mile 4 = 7:24
Mile 5 = 7:24
Mile 6 = 7:19
Mile 7 = 7:13
Mile 8 = 7:17
Mile 9 = 7:11
Mile 10 = 6:50
According to my Garmin, the course was 10.07 miles and my time was 1:13:15, a 7:16 average pace. I didn't stick around to see results so have no idea how I did.
Even though there was a tailwind on the way back to Fleet Feet, it was still a tough ride because the climbs on the way back are tougher...plus I was pretty tired from the run. Black Earth is only 15 miles from Fleet Feet - not the 20 that was advertised. I live 5 miles from Fleet Feet so I ended the day with 40 miles on the bike and 10 miles running. I'm glad it wasn't 20 miles to Black Earth because another 10 miles would've been a killer.
It was a great training day, but now my legs are really sore this morning. Good thing today is an easy day.