I got up at 6:20am this morning with the plan to finish a 20 mile run before general conference at 9:00am. I should have known better than to think I could get out the door quickly as after I got up I ended up needing to massage my calf out, perform some hip exercises to try and relieve the stress on my calf (its odd, but it seems to work most of the time), and take care of Anita including diaper changing, play time, feeding her breakfast, etc. In sum, I didn't get out the door until almost 7:40am, so I only had the time to run 12 miles before conference.
I finished the 12 miles in 1:17:25, starting out in around 8:30 for the first mile, and then speeding up until I was running around 6:30 pace. I sped up a little more after 7 miles, and I averaged sub 6:00 pace for the last 5 miles. I will count those 5 miles as marathon pace miles, because despite the somewhat slow speeds these miles still felt like there was a decent effort involved. It was a strange feeling, as on the one hand I felt like I was barely working, while on the other hand the effort felt much more difficult than I would have expected. It is like there were two physiological systems fighting with one another, and toying with my perceptions, as the one system was performing adequately and the other struggling.
PM: After the priesthood session of general conference was over in the evening I went out again to make up the mileage I missed in the morning. I ran 8 miles in 51:59, running a 4 mile tempo from miles 2-6 in 22:07-09 (I missed the ending mile marker because it was dark so I am not completely sure about the finishing time). The first 2 miles of the tempo were rolling with a net uphill, and the final 2 miles followed the same path in reverse. The course is not fast, but for my purposes it works, as the uphill/downhill segments are generally not so steep that they completely throw off pace one way or the other.
The results of the tempo (not the finishing time) were rather strange, as my heart rate seemed just a little low (160-165bpm) during the first two miles (5:44, 5:43) considering the effort (I was expecting high 160's). My heart rate is usually higher when I am running uphill, and it was actually lower than normal despite an honest effort. During the second half of the tempo my HR began to drop, first into the low 160's (160-161), and then progressively lower until it was hovering in the low 150's (150-154). The effort felt no easier, and my time for the third mile (5:27) was relatively equivalent to the first two miles (when adjusting for net incline/decline). During the first half of the fourth mile I continued to experience the same issues, although my HR stopped dropping. I felt like I was working pretty hard, yet my HR was not rising as high as it should have (indicating lack of recovery). This caused some alarm, as I really backed off the mileage this week to try and give my body a break. However, during the second half of the 4th mile I began to feel more relaxed, the pace began to feel easier, my HR increased, and I sped up. I finished the last mile somewhere between 5:12-5:14.
So, suddenly I was feeling the way I expected to feel for the entire tempo... what was wrong earlier? I can't really make too big a deal of this all, because in the grand scheme of things it probably means very little, but it is still rather alarming when my body does not respond the way I expect it to, when I have so much experience watching my body consistently respond in the same manner. I feel more strongly now that the decision to cut mileage back this week was probably the correct decision to make. I just need to manage things correctly so that I am ready for the Santa Barbara marathon come November 12th. Total time for the combined runs today was 2:09:24 for 20 miles.