Sometimes you wake up and want to run fast. This morning, I woke up and wanted to run fast.
I headed out my normal route up Vermont, taking it easy but slowly getting my heart rate up. I hit the crest and cruised down into the flats. I hit Mariposa and I opened it up.
De Haro past Mariposa is a gradual decline and I felt fast. Veering right past CCA I finally found the best route across 7th Street and into UCSF. I slowed momentarily crossing the street then zipped around the circle and into the new campus, skirting the wooden skeletons now scattered throughout Mission Bay.
Glancing at my watch, I picked up the pace, bit by bit. I learned in New York that I actually have the gear to run at 6-minute pace, but I'm not really sure how long I can hold it. In the marathon I backed it off every time I got there, so now that I have my running life back I can explore myself and see what's what.
Looping around to Terry Francois and The Ramp, I dug into the wind and pushed it even harder. My breathing was labored, but controlled. My legs felt strong. It easy early enough that traffic wasn't an issue and cars to dodge were few and far between.
Reviewing my pace on Strava, I actually ran much of the way sub six. I'd pop above six around the turns and periodically, but I spent as much time below as I did above. Pushing it up Illinois and the gradual incline through DogPatch, I started to tire. I could feel the pace wearing on me, so I wore back on it.
I hadn't set out to run each mile faster than the one before, but that's what I did. And with the final mile up Cesar Chavez with a healthy little hill and cars to dodge, I'm pretty happy with the way it shook out.
8:26, 6:22, 6:10, 6:06, 5:59. Not bad.
I shut it down at Kansas and walked back to my house, realizing that in all the months of marathon training, I had done maybe one or two actual training runs. I put in miles and fought through pain, but I hadn't really trained. Hadn't finished a lot of runs spent. It felt fantastic and I look forward to many future tempo runs, now with a 5-mile tempo loop and goal time to match.