Since Dan and Marc were both out of town this weekend, the task of organizing the group’s Saturday run fell to me. My schedule called for 14-16 miles at an easy pace with a few miles at a slightly quicker pace in the middle of the run.
With this in mind, my plan was to start at the Percy Warner Park main gates and complete three loops in Belle Meade of 4 to 5 miles each. The temperatures and humidity were expected to be higher than the past few days (which they were) so each loop ended back at the cars to allow everyone to grab some fluids. The plan was to run the first loop fairly easy, pick-up the pace slightly for the second loop, then do the final loop fairly easy again.
We ended up with a bigger group than I was expecting, which was great. For the first loop we did a version of Ed’s famous “Zig Zag” loop in reverse, which had a total distance of just over 4.5-miles . I ran most of this loop with Kelly and Aine, and we kept the pace very chill with splits of 9:17, 8:50, 8:46, and 8:40. Everything felt very comfortable.
Loop #1 – The famous “Zig-Zag” loop (in reverse) – 4.61 Miles
The second loop was just over 5.3-miles and was a little more challenging with regard to elevation change. My goal for this section was to drop the pace down around 8:00 min per mile, and again I was joined by Kelly for most of the route. We finished the fifth mile (started during the first loop) with a time of 8:22, and then reeled off splits of 7:59, 7:54, 8:19, 8:03, and 8:00. On the 8:19 mile, we ran backwards a couple of times so the following group would know where to turn, and this slowed us down a bit. Everything still felt very good, and I could have run faster, but I didn’t want to push anything today.
Loop #2 – 5.32 Miles
Our final loop was a little more challenging than I expected when I drew it up earlier this week, but the visual interest of running through the Belle Meade Mansion and Temple properties made for a fun route. We took the pace back down a couple of notches, and I ran this one with both Bob and Kelly. Our splits were 9:02, 8:32, 8:45, 8:32, and 7:33. I got a little carried away on the last mile back on Belle Meade Boulevard. Even though I started feeling the increased heat and humidity during this section, my legs still felt fantastic, and I broke away a bit at the end. I just ran what felt comfortable, and was pretty surprised when 7:33 poped up on my watch.
Loop #3 – 5.18 Miles
Normally at the end of a run I feel a rush of endorphins after I stop. Today I felt much worse after I stopped than when I was still running. Strange, but I think it had a lot to do with the increase in heat and humidity this morning. Overall, it was a fun run with lots of good conversation, and I felt pretty great throughout. My final total was just over 15 miles completed with an average pace of 8:27 per mile.