We decided to run our miles as follows- slow, sub-9, sub-8, sub-9, slow. We each ran our warm-up mile to Woodley Park and then, as we crossed the bridge on Connecticut Avenue, picked up the pace. I spent a while telling her about things and felt the impact of talking while running an 8:40 mile. We agreed that we would not talk during mile three. When my watch beeped signifying the end of mile two, we took off. About a tenth of a mile in, I looked down at my watch and we were running 7:09. Holy shazam, let's slow down! We revealed afterward that we both felt like vomiting at that pace. But of course neither of us would have admitted that at the time.
We slowed down some and ran the rest of the mile, finishing it in 7:56. I'm not gonna lie to you, it was tough. But we pushed. And it was definitely key to have Nikki pacing me. We started talking again and slowed our pace. Halfway in, we remembered that we were supposed to run this mile in under 9 minutes so we had to speed up a little and finished it in 8:59. Then we ran our cool down and stopped to talk for about ten minutes before returning to our respective homes.
On these evening runs, which we've done many many of, we normally spend our time catching up on life. But tonight we talked almost exclusively about running. About our pace, about future races, about exotic locations we're going to travel to together for future races, about outfits for upcoming races, about running blogs and about people who get married during marathons. I guess we're serious runners now. Or we're just crazy obsessed. Obsessed or not, I think it's a good sign that our "slow" miles were 8:50 and 9:14. Serious runners for real.
In an e-mail to me tonight, Nikki wrote, "Thanks for pushing me to do that run! I feel good!" which is funny because I thought she pushed me. I guess that's what good friends are for. Pushing each other and selflessly hiding the fact that they're on the verge of barfing in order to not slow the other one down. Or maybe they're just for pushing each other. Either way- we're good friends.
The sky was much darker than it appears in this photo. Because... alright, I'll tell you my secret... this was photoshopped. Luckily, we're good enough friends that I can demand that Nikki send me various post-run photos to document my first ever tempo run. You should know that she took them all, even the jumping picture, with a self-timer. So if you weren't impressed by the fact that she ran 26.2 miles last month and ran a 7:56 mile tonight, then you should be impressed now. Next time we'll try and actually run into rock creek park in our neon clothing and take a photo high-fiving in front of the bridge. But for now, this is what you get.
I recovered with a mug of hot chocolate, a plate of pasta, and some frozen goods on my knees. And now I'm off to google bright winter running clothes. Because if there's anything tonight's run taught me, it is that I need to spend more money on gear to keep me safe at night.
Do you train with tempo runs? Do you wear reflectors, lights, or bright clothing to make you feel more safe on a run in the dark? Did I fool you with my high-five picture??