My youngest son came home from Boston for the weekend. His birthday was the 14th and his mother planned a little get together for him. Little did she know, he actually came home for a couple of runs with dad on something other than cement.
We planned a 3.2 mile fast loop (well fast for me anyway) and a longer 8 mile loop on Sunday. I had to work Saturday morning and he called as he seemed quite anxious for me to get home.
We would rather had run on trails but being Saturday and hearing gun shots in the distance, we decided it would be better to stay on the road. This particular 3.2 loop is on secondary roads with a stretch of dirt, a good mix of two quick tall hills and two long gradual hills with a slight downhill that makes for a fast finish.
It was pouring on my way home in the early afternoon but by the time we dressed for the run it was just misty with a rolling fog cover. Somehow I made the mistake of over dressing and labored through the run being much too hot.
The last hill was taking it's toll on me as my breath never seemed to quite be enough to satisfy my cravings. It seemed even worse as my son breezed up the last hill while commenting, "hey this hill is much easier than I remember"
I answered back in very short broken sentences, "yeah.....just...wait... until tomorrow....after .....running 7 miles.....gasp..gasp) I guess I meant that this is actually only half a hill the way we run it as the dirt road breaks out about halfway up this quite steep and very long hill.
Tomorrow our 8 mile loop will bring us to the base of this hill at about mile 6.5 and after two other quite tall hills. I squeaked out a little laugh right before I realized I would be running the long hill with him.....damn we sure better slow the pace down for the run tomorrow.
I felt much better after we crested the hill but I must have still seemed marginal as he offered to slow down if I wanted to. I refused, I wanted to get a speed workout and that is what I would do.
Funny because a month ago this speed would have been more like a training run....anyway today it is surely a speed workout. I started feeling stronger and by the time I hit a half mile to go and the very welcome slightly downhill grade, I was on top of things. My stride felt better and my breath controlled.
I managed a small kick at the end and then tried to catch my breath on the cooldown.
3.2 miles @8:23 pace
av HR 145, max 169
50 degrees and misty fog.
I usually get out early on Sundays for my run but my son wanted to sleep in before running and I had some leaves left to rake at my mother's so I went there first which managed to deplete my energy stores considerably.
Upon return just a bit before lunch time, we suited up for our run, this time I was careful to dress a little chilly for the start and my oldest son decided to join us. I was anxious to do a long run as I havn't been able to get many runs in since the layoff. I wanted to see how much base I lost in the process.
It was like old times running with two of the boys though I knew I would be slowing them down. It started out really easy and comfortable. The pace was perfect for talking and they both seemed quite content to blab away rather than speed up.
The weather seemed perfect and I warmed up after the first mile to a very managable pace. We talked about some of their meets when they were in school and remenised about track days. It made me wish I had run track in High school. I had no stories to tell.
In the first three miles there are three good size hills and I felt fine on the first two but labored a bit on the third. I was glad to crest it and get a nice flat forth mile to re-coupe. That didn't go as well as planned, when we turned the corner it was into a good sized head wind. Where the hell did that come from?
I was feeling tired in 4 and 5 but seemed to catch a second wind in the 6th. I talked smack about the large long hill at 6.5 and how I was going to power up the thing and then sprint all the way to the finish.
The boys laughed as if they knew something I didn't ..... and they did. Once I started climbing the hill, maybe a quarter of the way up my second wind blew away...
That's right, what bad manners huh? I was left with a laboring breath and very little talking on my part.
The boys kind of forgot about me and around half way up, one of them looked back and noticed me lagging a bit. I could see him thinking that perhaps they should wait up. Having no part of them feeling sorry for me, I did the stupidest thing I could think of...... I took a deep breath and began picking up the pace...almost a hill sprint of sorts.
I caught up to them and they didn't seem to notice I had used every ounce of energy I could muster to accomplish the sprint. They just keep talking and powering the hill. To my surprise I kept up with their (easy) pace and finally crested the top with a sigh of relief.
I was feeling tired but refreshed and strong at the same time. I was working a controlled hard breathing and had no doubt I could continue this until the end, besides there was only 1.5 miles to go and only one more small hill.
1/2 mile to go and I started picking up the pace (which is normal for me) and at .1 I worked in my kick. Right to the end and still picking up speed. It felt great. Overall I was very happy with this run. Almost felt normal, I am so glad I picked up the pace on the hill, it reminded me that our mind is in control not our body.
I was convincing myself that there was nothing there and I was done but picking up the pace allowed me to get a little more oxygen flowing and actually became stronger for the finish.
I assume the boys held back on the kick so I would be in front at the finish...hey I guess I brought them up right! We walked a mile cooldown and then enjoyed a nice warm meal after showering.
I am actually quite content with the 8 mile run. The course is fairly difficult, I finished strong and the average pace was respectable.
8 miles @ 9:15 pace
45 degrees overcast and windy.
143 average Heart rate and 159 max.