I derive a lot of inspiration from reading others peoples trials and adventures in running. At least two of my runs so far this week were made a little better thinking about some of you. After the frustrating week I had last week, the feedback was pretty unanimously in favor of more rest. I decided that this week I was just going to concentrate on the miles and not worry about the time. Does this sound more than a little bit familiar to anyone? I'm beginning to sound like a broken record even to myself.
Tuesday I headed on over to the track. Bryan joined me. He wanted to run some laps as well as part of his training for the bike tour in less than 2 weeks. David is my current inspiration for speed work. He busted out 12-400's this week. Man oh man, I'd be thrilled with 6 or 8. But now I have a goal. The old track had just gotten a fresh layer of new dirt. It was nice and soft but pretty rutted up due to the rain on Monday. I was forced into what is probably lane 3 to avoid the worst of it. I put in a 400, 800, 600, 800, 400, and one last 400. The 600 was supposed to be an 800 but I pulled up short with a side stitch. I don't remember having a side stitch since running as a kid. All my times are about 5 to 8 seconds slower than the McMillan calculator.
Wednesday I headed out for 6 miles. I fell into a very comfortable pace that I felt I could keep up for a long time. The main goal was just to stay relaxed, not pushed or hurried or stressed over speed. My final pace was nearing 9:00 and I felt refreshed afterward.
Before heading off to bed last night I mapped out an 8 mile route beginning at our church. My plan was to put in the miles right after the meeting, stop at home to shower and head into work a little late. When I got up, I started thinking about how it has been staying light until nearly 6:00 p.m. When I leave the meeting I get to work early so I decided push the run to the afternoon, leave work a little early and take advantage of the longer days. Only one obstacle lay in my way. The forecast called for rain. I don't pay much attention to the forecast, but at 4:00 the rain began. I was initially bummed and wished I had run in the morning. It wasn't raining then. But then I thought about Steven. He has commented often on his blog that if you won't run in the rain, then in his area, Oregon, you'll miss a lot of runs. I decided that if he and Mike could run in the cold rain in Oregon, I could run in the relatively balmy 60's in what we call rain.
I was out the door at work 4:45 and off to the Santa Fe River Trail at the dam for 8, in the rain. I had at least packed my baseball cap to keep the rain off my glasses. I pulled into the lot and lo and behold I was the only car there. I headed on up on top of the dam, fell into a groove and rain be damned. Luckily the weather was just showers, no winds or lightning. I was just one solitary guy out enjoying the weather. By mile 3 I was about as wet as I was going to get. You guys know what can happen running in a wet shirt. I've suffered through this before and bloody, sore nipples are no laughing matter. As a preemptive strike, I flipped the shirt up over my head. I'm usually too self conscious for this but I wasn't likely going to be seeing anybody else in the next 5 miles (I didn't) and any possible embarrassment on my part or theirs would be worth not suffering the dreaded rawness. Running bare skinned in the rain is not such a bad thing. I felt downright primal and the best part is I'm sitting here now pain free.
The pace for the romp in the rain, 8 miles in 1:04:32, 8:04 miles per minute. Where that came from I can't quite figure out. I was just out for a easy run and got rewarded with a near 8:00 pace and it felt easy. Last weekend I couldn't keep up an 8:00 pace for more than a few feet without feeling as though I was going to die. Running is such an unknowable thing sometimes.
I've been chasing a mileage goal for a while and this was supposed to be the week to get there. But with the extra biking I'll be doing with Bryan and the 20 miler on Saturday, taking Friday off is probably the prudent and wise thing to do. Thanks for the advice and the inspiration and hopefully we'll all keep learning something together.