Over the weekend I finally bought a watch to replace the one my sweat killed during the summer. A nice, cheap Timex Ironman Triathlon watch--perfect for a poseur like me. And it was on sale!
Looking at the Spokesman Review clock at the beginning and end of a run is okay for a rough estimate but it's not enough to answer the question, "Am I running faster?" My marathon training last year involved a lot of running (duh, Hank!) and I'd have to say that was my best year for running--except for the part where I had to train for and run a marathon. BTW, I am still on track for running one every 51 years.
Using my Bloomsday results as a guide--I've done the last 14--my fastest time ever was 1:01:45 and that was in 2008 which kind of confirms my "best year" hypothesis. Yeah, I'm getting all scientific here. My last three Bloomsday finish times are in the 1:01:45 to 1:12:08 range. For five years before that I was accompanying Steph so those times don't count. But before that, I was in the same range. I think it's safe to say I can consistently run an 8:30-9:00 minute mile pace for 7.46 miles of Bloomsday. Heck, for the first half of the marathon I kept a comfortable 9:00 mile pace. I don't want to talk about the second half.
Anyway, today I ran for four miles and got my split for each mile. I took my shoes off at the 2-1/2 mile mark which took a minute so I had to subtract a minute from the third mile, which also afforded me a minute to catch my breath so that's kinda cheating, but hey if I was to go totally Type A I'd be out there measuring the exact distances and marking them off with spray paint and I'd be wearing a heart monitor complete with GPS and an avalanche transponder so I think I'm allowed a little leeway here.
Mile 1 - 7:36
Mile 2 - 7:36
Mile 3 - 7:38
Mile 4 - 7:47
Total - 30:37
I find I need to warm up during the first 2-3 miles and then I get into my rhythm. During the fourth mile I was breathing easy and running comfortably at a pace I felt I could continue for...um...well...at least another mile. I guess the test would be to check my mile splits during a run to work.
I think the answer to the question is, "Yes, I am running faster." Now if I brought my weight from the upper end--but still in the normal range--of my allowed Body Mass Index to the lower end--a twenty pound difference--I could probably pick up the pace a little. But I love my mint chocolate chip ice cream. And beer.
Regardless, next year will bring my first under-an-hour Bloomsday finish.