11 Miler, Thoughts on Pace, and Improvements

It sure felt weird this morning, going out for my 11 mile, around the block run.

I felt almost naked out there.  I was wearing my pack, my old Nathan Hydration pack, made filthy by my trail run on Friday.  It’s almost as dirty as the UD Wasp Pack, still not washed yet, from the HR Run.  But I wasn’t carrying a jacket, food, all those extras I’d been hauling around for months.

It was just me, the pack, 50 oz (or 70 oz) water bladder, the Zune with the latest 3 Non-Joggers podcast.  I had no particular goals in mind, other to run the route.

By run, I meant to run the uphills.  And I did.  These uphills are seeming pretty small these days, and I hope to be able to keep that in perspective.  My long uphill, on this route, is about a good 1/2 mile uphill.  From the valley to the ridgeline is maybe 3/4 of a mile.

It really didn’t bother me to keep the legs turned over in the running method either.  Now the day was cool and overcast, probably in the low 70’s, and I was nice and rested.  But how much of my previous history of not running the hills was mental, not physical?

So I go over to where I kinda keep my running stats, Runningahead.com 

I have noticed, over time, for my 10K (well it’s really 6.4 or 6.5 miles) around the block that my times really haven’t improved.  That’s been bugging me.  I mean, I lost weight, that should help improve my times, right?
Also, I have *run* the entire loop-and *walked the same hills* on the loop.  And my finish times are pretty much the same.  That’s kind of disheartening. What benefit am I getting, by running the hills, if I can finish in the same amount of time, walking the hills?

I mean, check the pace. I run this route about once monthly. My pace has not really improved since I started on this new route.  And today, with running all the uphills,  my pace is just about average with the other times, where I know I walked the uphills!
Here’s the screenshot of my *10K* Route:
My times really haven’t changed much, since August 2011 for this loop either.
Now I will have to admit that no run is exactly the same.  Sometimes Scooter the Dog accosts me, and I have to stop, sometimes there are a bathroom break in the first mile or fifth mile, I’d have to look carefully to see what the time of day is.  But bottom line, I see no real improvement on pace-on speed-in the last year.

And that is the frustrating part with me. I’ve got the stamina, the endurance. If I eat and hydrate right, I can go–a good long time. But can I finish a race within time constraints?

How can I get faster?  That is the question.  I’ve had this annoying quote in my head for the last month (now posted on the blog too): 

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”


So I need to shake things up.  Do something different. I want to improve on several areas, as an athlete.  I feel like I am in, (as close as an ultra runner comes to) an “off season”.  (Yes,  I do have a 50 mile race at the end of August.)  I want to work on the core, the arms, and tighten up some areas.  So that might mean more strength training, less running.  I don’t know.  What I do know is, that I want to improve. I can’t finish Hardrock doing the same thing I have been doing.  Yes, there are other races and goals besides the HR Finish too.  

It’s time to improve.

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