Yesterday was my short zone 1/2 run and today was my mid-distance zone 1/2 run. Each week I have 2 zone 1/2 runs (one shorter and one long), 1 short speed run and 1 mid-distance run that is either speed or 1/2 depending on how much coach wants to torture me. Then I also have 1 ride which is either trainer work or hill repeats and one swim which is drills out the ass. (I just got informed that I'm doing a kick set the size of almost an entire swim. I was unamused.)
But something was wrong with this run. I kept glancing down at my GPS to check my time and distance, and between slow-downs for corners, those moments before you pause at traffic lights, and a few tiny hills, it kept flashing something close to my 5k pace. And I was in zones 1 and 2. In fact, my average heart rate stayed in low zone 2 the whole run.
How can I be only 30-60 seconds off my 5k pace in zones 1 and 2?
I finished the run with an average of 10:49. That's still a good bit off my 5k pace (8:40-9:11), but holy crap. I saw those paces on my watch several times. I've NEVER seen those on my watch during a zone 1/2 run. EVER.
Now, to a lot of you Speed Demons, this is tortuously slow running. For those of you, recall that, just around the time of my surgery, before and after they found my cancer, my zone 1/2 runs were 14-15 minute miles. That's 4+ minutes slower than I am running now. And that was only 2 years ago. Even if I go back to 2006 when I first started racing - 6 years ago - my zone 1/2 was 12-14 minutes/mile then.
My goal pace for this race would put me at MOST of the marathon in zone 1/2 at 11:21 per mile. I just did one of my FIRST 1/2 runs of the season completely SUB-11. Today's run of double the distance was smack on my marathon goal pace.
So my mind gets to whirring and buzzing and clicking (relax, this is normal), and I think the unthinkable.
Maybe I could finish this marathon in like 4:30-4:48.
That's 2 HOURS off my very first marathon in 2007.
And that's not a slow marathon anymore.
Anything under 5 hours isn't slow, but that's REALLY not slow.
And then my brain goes:
Hell, if I lost 4 minutes per mile in two years, in two more years I'll be running in zone 1 and 2 at about 8:30 per mile.
And that's when it hit me.
That's Boston pace.
I always said I had no interest in trying to BQ. But that was back when I associated that pace with my lactate threshold, dying, trying-not-to-puke pace. If I can be at Boston pace in zone 1 or 2, a BQ wouldn't feel quite that bad. Granted, I'd have to train to do it for 26.2 miles, but I've trained to do a LOT of things for 3-10 hours.
So it was decided. The Apocalypse is upon us.
Me, a former 6:48 marathoner, adding Boston qualifying to my 5-year plan. (And no, Ironman still isn't on it.)
Yup, end of the world is nigh.