Did you ever have a workout that did not go anywhere close to what you had planned but you still felt great about it? I just had one of those! When I finished, it made me think of how, as runners, we need to be adaptable with our workouts (even in the middle of them!), since sh!t happens. ;-)
This workout actually took on a life all its own as it morphed and developed along the way. I had to alter it several times during the course of the run. Originally I was going to run 2 x 3 mile intervals at ~6:50 min/mile. The beginning went great. First two miles were 6:45 and 6:45. I felt amazing. So good, in fact, that by mile 2 1/2 I decided to skip the recovery mile and simply do a 6 mile tempo run. I had a rhythm going and didn't want to break it. Mile 3 was 6:43 and I still felt super strong. By the middle of mile 4 I started feeling a side stitch. ARGH! It wasn't bad at first and I was hoping it'd go away, but I decided that if it was still around at the end of mile 4, I'd take that recovery mile I skipped earlier. I finished mile 4 in 6:39. I was getting faster!! But the stitch was getting more intense and I couldn't ignore it anymore, so I slowed down.
I still wanted to get in 6 miles at tempo pace, so after my one mile recovery, during which the side stitch mercifully disappeared, I picked my pace back up, intending to finish those last 2 miles. Since I was doing this workout as an out and back on the Paint Creek Trail, I turned around during the recovery mile and was heading back toward home. The out is very slightly downhill, which means on the return, I go back up. The only time I ever notice the incline is during speedwork/tempo runs, so of course, it got me today. I tried to keep up the same pace I had during the first 4 mile pick-up, but I was hurting after just one mile which I did in 6:53. I pushed myself an extra half mile (3:28) then had to recover again - I was getting pretty wobbly! This time I let myself take only a half mile recovery and then picked up the pace one last time. The final push was only a mile and that mile was all I had left (6:44)! I finished feeling exhausted but proud! With a 2 mile warm-up and 2 mile cool-down, I did a total of 12 miles today. Happy.
Close encounters of the feathered kind: At the very end of the PCT, just as I was about to turn the corner and head to my condo building, I got DIVE BOMBED by a red-winged blackbird!! The nerve!!! I know these guys are uber-territorial and just plain bratty and I've had them hover 5 feet above my head screeching at me before, but this guy went way beyond that! He swooped down to within inches of my head! I felt the swooosh! And he did it TWICE! Sheeesh!!! You'd think the crazy birds would be wise enough not to build nests so close to well-traveled trails!
I had no such problems with the cute little spotted fawn I saw frolicking on the trail earlier in the run. Awwwww.... :-)