That picture above? I ran through there five times this morning.

I was disappointed last Sunday about doing an extra 1/2 mile loop at Twin Lakes when I got to 8, not having been significantly over 8 for several years. It ate at me during the week.

Yesterday, on a flat course I died late and my plan to go 9 ended when I got to 8.5, completely spent. But I regretted not going another 1/2 mile. It ate at me for the rest of the day.

Today, back at Twin Lakes, by mile 2 there was no way I was getting to 6. By mile 4 I was feeling better and figured 7 was not a problem. By 6 (4 laps in), feeling better still, I started wondering about doing 2 more laps to get to 9. Near the end of lap 5, decided not to risk it so added a 1/2 mile loop to get to 8 and decided to try one more 1/2 loop and got to 8.5 and then, still not straining much, decided to throw caution to the wind and start a final 1/2 loop, which was finished.

I don’t know why I was so spent yesterday and not so much today. Humidity likely played a part. Yesterday I was very tired all afternoon. Not so today. For the record, today was 9.03 at 1:11:03 for a 7:51 pace, yesterday was 8.5 at 1:06:55 for 7:50, last Sunday was 8.04 at 1:04:10 for 7:58, and last Saturday on local roads was 8.06 at 59:50 for 7:24. I put that last thing in as an indication that I’m showing some speed although I’m trying to keep it slow. But once I get into a particular pace, I tend to stay pretty close to that figure throughout, so if I’m a little quick early, it can be trouble.

In fact, I’m also feeling smooth on my runs, flowing nicely. I stretched a 5-miler to 6 on Monday and decided to go for a very easy 4-miler on Tuesday and ended up running the last two miles at a hardly-feel-it 7:06 pace. But back pain returned on Wednesday — a muscle pain that hit me the prior week but went away — so I skipped Thursday and Friday. It did not bother me on Saturday, but I felt a twinge briefly at about 7 today before it went away. I have, though, been having some back issues, perhaps from how I’m sitting, and sometimes feel it while standing. Not pleased about that. I don’t know whether it is running-related. Although it has appeared on a couple of runs it tends to just pop up during the day.

Still, 9 today is 9 today. I hope to race the Tuckahoe Challenge in three weeks — it’s a mile then a 5K (which was a 5-miler when I’ve done it before.