I didn't feel great going over there--only got slightly more than four hours sleep, still felt a bit under the weather because of this cold--but by one mile in I felt absolutely fine, it really was a remarkably enjoyable run despite slight lung sponginess. (High humidity.)
Twelve miles, two Central Park loops (first one clockwise, second counter--the half-marathon in October is two clockwise loops plus one mile). S. and L. and I were joined by C. who is a super-speedy runner who hasn't done much distance work. He kept us up to the mark!
I really do love the idea of long slow distance training, but since we're not actually training for a marathon I find I do not have the heart to really successfully enforce it. The long run pace we're sort of aiming for based on my last half-marathon time is, say, 10:45 miles, but this is simply VERY difficult to get as a group. 10:00 miles is an alternate long-run pace in Jack Daniels' book (call it marathon pace), and I think it may have to be that we go with this for our fall long runs--we will see. Putting a faster runner into the mix definitely tips us in this direction, whereas if we added a slower one instead I think we could successfully bring it down to 10:30 or so.
Our pacing was much more uneven than these numbers suggest, I was constantly suggesting slow-downs that we then did not attain very consistently! My device gives pace at mile end as well as mile splits, and our fastest mile-end pace--as we had an enjoyable little surge at the end of the first six-mile loop, sort of mini-finish line feel--was 7:41. Average pace for the entire run was 9:50, max pace 6:27.
I must say I felt pretty great afterwards, very energetic still, and legs don't seem at all tired! So this is good--a twelve-mile run no longer seems absolutely-knackered wipe-out long.
Miscellaneous other thoughts:
Some slightly worrisome discomfort in the old stress fracture area. I have been having problems all summer with the muscles in the sort of front area also affected; this is different, more like where it originally hurt last November. (It was a double stress fracture in two parts of the pubic ramus, inferior and superior; inferior was the one I felt first, and where I was feeling it today.) Hopefully just muscle involvement, but I must keep a close eye on this and back off miles if it seems like it's a problem. In this case possibly just the effect of not having run since the ten miles I did last Saturday in the park with B.
Must get some new shoes! I put in these orthotics after the August half-marathon to counter the encroaching (oh, evil word, it wouldn't seem half so bad if it didn't have such an awfully unsavory name!) bunion on my left foot. Didn't have a problem adjusting, but I've been having much worse black-toenail problems than before--either I need to go a half size further up, or else switch to a different kind. And I also noticed last night that though I haven't been getting blisters, at the two inside-heel spots where I am vulnerable to blisters there are literally, like, BITES taken out of the shoes, like a hole has been worn in the foam. It would actually be worth trying to get a new pair and do a few runs in them to break them in time for this next half-marathon--if I get the same kind half a size up, a couple runs should be enough, but perhaps not a great idea to switch to something different right before the race. Hmmm...
I am in a good mood though! Running-induced elation, very satisfactory...