IT WAS EXCELLENT.
I was feeling AWFUL that I hadn't run since Saturday - on Tuesday, I was debilitated for about 14 hours by the most insanely acute pool-chemical-irritation eye-and-nose-streaming, it was OUT OF CONTROL, I used up every tissue and paper towel in the house and had to go and buy two more boxes, one of which I carried around with me to the rest of my work commitments (causing swine-flu-type flinching-away from various folks I encountered!) - and on both Tuesday and Wednesday, though there was a brief early-evening window where I could have run, the fact that the heating doesn't come on till Oct. 20 in the building that houses my office meant that when I got home I was so cold that I had to either take a hot bath (Tuesday) or drink hot tea (Wednesday) - couldn't face going back out. Probably this was also fatigue-related.
Today, though, I had a 12:30 date with C. and J. at the foot of Harlem Hill; it is rainy and 40 degrees, we had the park VIRTUALLY TO OURSELVES, it is lovely! They are faster runners than I, so it is a real luxury running with them - I can hold a suitable pace when there's peer pressure, but would not have the mental fortitude to run that fast on my own!
1 mile jog over, then the 6-mile loop; I figured I had then earned the right to walk the mile home rather than running it!
(Cold weather, perhaps, had left my quads in particular feeling very stiff.)
Nice, too, that I then bumped into several training friends at the corner of 110th and Amsterdam: first of all, cycling buddy R., who says he will ride with me in the spring and summer next year; and then H., who says that her legs are now recovered enough from IMKY that we can go for an easy run sometime soon!
I will have to go back and look at speed and HR data from last year's hard-effort park loops, but I was pleased with the time - I felt very strong, I was working pretty hard but I think the pacing was excellent and clearly my fitness levels are similar to or better than where I was this time last year (I've been running fewer miles, so I was a bit worried, but the general endurance work adds up).
1 mile warmup
6.1 mile loop (52:48 total; avg HR 163, max HR 181; avg pace 8:40)
It is quite hilly, so I think that would translate to more like 8:25 on a flat course. It is an appropriate tempo training pace for me.
I am keeping an open mind about marathon time goals - as I said, I am not convinced (I don't have enough data!) that I will be able to make my sub-4:00 goal, but I will have a clear spread of goals: 4:16 attainable goal (my time from last year, which I feel certain I can match if things go as they ought); 4:08 challenging goal; sub-4:00 dream goal. And then just see how I feel on the day!