At mile 8, the *FUN* part of the workout began. With four repeats of 3 minutes hard (sub 8:05), followed by 3 minutes easy. I wasn't sure how this would feel, but it ended up being kinda easy ;) I think it's a sign that I'm getting stronger AND more comfortable with speedier paces, even during long runs or on tired legs!! I finished the run with 3+ miles in Zone 2 at around 9:30 pace, which was speedier than my warmup.
For the next week or so, I have the goal of running a couple different routes, and I also want to try a new electrolyte drink....Finally, I need to get back into the routine of doing two functional/core routines per week.