I had been almost dreading my 4 mile run at target pace - 9 minute miles - for about a week before it came up on the schedule. My runs previously had all been about a minute per mile slower than what I was aiming for so I wasn't too sure how it was going to play out. Back in September or so, before I started having trouble with my hamstring, I had put in a couple 3 mile runs at about an 8:30 per mile pace, but that was a couple months ago and at a shorter distance. Usually I get amped before my runs in the morning, but that day was a lot more intimidating than even my longest distance runs so far.
It turned out great, though. I got the audio cue at a half mile that I was cooking at under 8 minute mile pace on average. That was a great relief to know that I could still get down towards my target pace, but also that I didn't have to sustain quite the pace that I started out at. I don't know if it was the weather, the adrenaline, or listening to a description of Genghis Khan's rise to power, but the whole run felt good. Better than I could have hoped for in the time leading up to it. I'm still not sure that I'll be able to get to where I can maintain that pace for a half marathon, but I don't have any reason to get discouraged yet. I've also still got plenty of time before I was planning on trying to get a race in.
Today's easy paced 3 miler was certainly a welcome reprieve because I could feel the past couple days of hard running and circuit training starting to catch up to me. Tomorrow's rest day will be nice as well, but my goal is to get in a good lift and maybe a round of the circuit as well. I've been somewhat neglecting my strenth training for my upper body, but I have been better about strengthening my legs so that's an improvement at least.