So after coming up short with request for friends to help pace, I went out "Amelia Earhart/Charles Lindenburg" style and clipped off sub 6's for a half-marathon PR of 1:18:07 (avg 5:57). The interesting things about today:
-I ran in 12 oz New Balance 769's (not flats)
-1 water break, half a GU
-Relative comfort of the run, and ability to run further
-Thinking about a sub 2:40 at Long Beach
5:58, 5:46, 6:01, 6:04, 5:58, 5:56, 5:58. 6:01, 5:54, 5:53, 6:00, 5:58, 5:49, :44
The course I ran today seemed flat in theory, but there were a few bumps along the way that took me off sub 6. Overall though, for as fast as I was moving, I still was far away from a burnout. This was a little surprising because I had felt sluggish from taking antibiotics all last week. Towards the end of the run I felt like tacking on another 3-5 miles at that pace wouldn't have been impossible, but may have been more than I wanted to push my body for the workout. Talking to a couple different 2:40 marathoners, I've come to realize how easy it is for me to over train for the relatively short marathon based on my typical training for ultras. With 4 weeks to go, I'm going to try to save the "fast twitch" muscles with shorter workouts.
After today, I'm pretty sure my trainers have a speed limit of 5:50, but I think with a pair of flats or performance trainers, I'm clear for clipping off sub 5:45's consistently. (Btw, I don't know if anyone has an input on the new balance 904's or Nike lunar racer's but I'm open to any input about the two.) I'd feel comfortable doing this for the first 10-15 miles or so at Long Beach (I admit 2:30 marathon pace is very ballsy, and my goal still is just to come close to 2:40). I think though with a good first 13-18 at 5:45, I can set myself up for a solid 2:28-2:40.
Today I felt like I found a "endurance of speed" that I didn't really believe I had. I thought maybe I could gut out 6:15's, but something inside caused me to believe I could do a little better. And once you clip off one sub 6, you want to try and do another, and you do, but you worry a little and start to ease back to reassess, but you know inside you want another, and another, and another.. So you do it.
For all of us, there's that next level that we dream about, but are never quite sure we can live at. I think most of the time we look at jobs and life in general with a tendency to be cautious and hold on to what we have. It's efficient, and keeps us from worrying too much about dealing with failure. Whether or not failure is imminent, risk is risk, and the older we get, the less we like it. Sometimes though, living beyond your perceived abilities is so exciting and rewarding that you can't bear not to try it. You find you sleep more peacefully at night, wake up hungry to attack the day, and you don't doubt yourself as much. This taste that life takes on is so flavorful, that you know you're far past the simple city pleasures of food, drink, social events, and bed (no offense to those that do).
I feel like my running and everything else right now is starting take on this risk-filled adventure. There's a different feeling to partial differentials and morning commutes and interactions with friends. It's how life is meant to be lived.