Tonight I ventured back to Seward Park for the 2.4 mile loop. I also incorporated RunningStrides with is a concept from Chris Carmichael's TrainRight website (I have no idea if they came up with this or not). Essentially you warm up (I generally do three minutes of walking/jogging) and then do a number of repititions of 100m runs at 5k pace with a one minute rest in between.
The goal as I understand it is to get your system to start the lactic acid cleansing response (lactic acid is the byproduct of anaerobic exercise - it is what makes your musceles feel "full" as you increase exertion). Your body can transport away a certain amount of lactic acid as you exercise (if you are "more aerobic" you are working "with oxygen" and therefore producing less lactic - if you are "more anaerobic" you are working "without oxygen" and producing more lactate). There is a point where you are working anaerobically enough that you begin to produce more lactic acid than your body can transport - this is the anaerobic threshold.
This may or may not have done the trick (one would think 3-4 weeks of consistent training is finally paying off) but I did a great run and felt good for the first time this year running. Based on my time I did about a 10 minute pace which is still awfully slow (I used to be a seven minute miler).
The takeaway is that I'm starting to see good results. We'll see how things progress over the next couple of weeks.