Took an extended lunch break today to knock out Week 8, Day 1 run, which consisted of a 5-minute walk, 28-minute run, and a 5-minute cool down. And, I'm very excited to say, it was the best run so far of my 2012 5K training :) I'm not sure what contributed to it (perhaps its just that I'm becoming a better/more accomplished runner, perhaps??), but I did do a couple of things to make it a bit more varied today. Specifically, I programmed a different playlist (see below) as my former one had started to become stale and predictable after several sessions having used it.
Second, I took a vastly different course, running instead through upper Hillcrest's hills and then down the length of Lookout Drive (until it terminated its easterly direction and went downhill north -- that's where I turned around :)). This route included a pretty substantial uphill grade on the northern boundary of Mount St. Mary's school on Hillcrest Avenue and then some rolling hills down Lookout. The inclusion of the hills was purposeful as I want to start making my routes more challenging and more muscle-burning.
Now for the encouraging part: despite the increased difficulty in grade and length, I actually bested my average per mile time (which includes the ten minutes of walking) from 14:37 to 13:25 per mile! And even more encouraging, I checked my GPS app at the end of my 28-minute stretch and was clocking a blistering (for me) running pace of 12:53 minutes per mile! All in all, I covered 2.84 miles in 38 minutes. That's just .3 miles from a complete 5K.
So, yeah, I feel pretty damn good about myself today. I was beginning to have doubts if I was going to be able to get to the point where I could actually complete a 5K from start to finish without walking, and while I've still got some work to do over the next 13 days (which should give me at least 4 more sessions), my hope has been restored.
As for my playlist, I went with some more varied artists (and songs I have not listened to in a while) to "surprise" me when they turned up as the next song on my run.
Lightning Crashes by Live (warm-up)
Who Made Who by AC/DC
Immigrant Song (Live) by Led Zeppelin
Ice Cold Ice by Husker Du
Mountain Song by Jane's Addiction
You've Got Another Thing Comin' by Judas Priest
In the Middle by Jimmy Eat World
Lick It Up by KISS
Don't Stop Believin' by Journey
Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane (cool-down)