It's really funny/curious how little things add up to affect great change, even when it comes to running. Last Monday night I had a decent dinner, got to bed early, woke up before the 4:00am alarm Tuesday morning to run 9 miles, ran it in a pretty swift (for me) 1:16 under good conditions -- cool-ish and low humidity, and felt great.
This Monday I had a blah dinner that aggravated a knot I've had in my stomach for a while. I got to bed late-ish, had to drag myself out of bed to turn off the alarm I didn't hear for a minute and then ran the same 9 mile route as last week, but it was 10 or so degrees warmer than last week with high humidity and, I don't know, barometric pressure or something. I don't know if you can even feel that, but the air was just different this morning. It's supposed to rain today so maybe that had something to do with it.
I ran an identical route 3 minutes slower this week. My only goal was to keep it under a 9:00/mile pace (even though I was supposed to run it at a 9:17), and I was at about 8:47 so it was all good. But still, 3 minutes is a lot I think.
It turns out this is yet another step back week for me. I "only" have three 9 mile easy runs to complete. Nothing long and nothing fast. Next week is my last tough week before I begin my taper to marathon day. Although if I can't complete a 20 miler a week from Sunday I'm going to be a total wreck about trying to complete 26.2 on October 11. I seem to be putting an awful lot of pressure on myself over a dumb run. That I'm paying to participate in, even.
Anyway, to break it up some, and since I feel pretty good that I have the 9 mile distance aced well enough, I signed up to run a 5K race on Sunday morning. It's for a good cause (prostate cancer) and it'll be nice to be part of a race again; it'll be my first one since June. Plus, I could use a new t-shirt.
It's also reasonably close to the NCR trail, so once I finish the 5K I'll head over to the trail and run another 6 miles to get my 9 in for the day.
I'm really looking forward to running for fun again after my marathon.