"It's a little self indulgent..." - My mom
"After I read a sentence, I get mad at myself for caring what you're doing." -Karl Dusen

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Cool weather gives me magical powers"

That is the assessment from my friend Pokey Litten after last week's cold wave. I certainly identify with it- I'm a different runner in cool weather, so I am hoping for a cool marathon- I might not survive an honest effort in the 70 degree range.

It seemed appropriate to take it a little easy after a 127-mile week, but it makes a lot more sense in theory. I woke up and ran five miles in McConnells Mill State Park on Sunday, but the terrain was a lot more dramatic and I was beaten up from the long run the day before. When I got back to the campsite, Max Louik, his lovely wife Kate and Ian Glinka were driving around in a golf cart, and they challenged me to a race, about 600 meters long. I totally destroyed them!
After a long drive back to Virginia, I contemplated going out for an evening run. I went from lying on the couch to standing outside in shorts and my running shoes four times, but in the end I saw no point to running eight or so miles.

I slept in on Monday, as it my now practice, and took my spikes back to the Lemon Road School yard for another fartlek workout, but my feet remembered the blisters all too well and after my first 25 seconds I felt like I was straining too much to run fast. I ended up running some strides with the spikes on and heading back home, for five miles.

I slept in again on Tuesday, possibly could have gotten three miles in, but opted to lie around the house before work. In the evening I set off for an altered Fineview Park, totaling 10.6 and averaging 6:56 pace. A decent pace, considering the heat, about 87-90 degrees. I felt myself slip into a pretty fast clip in the middle few miles. Afterward I felt good for the first time since Saturday.

The alumni race will not be quite the tour de force that once seemed potential. The big guns are all sitting out, on both sides- only the freshmen and Levi will be racing for the Richmond team and Molz is sitting out. He just ran 1:08 on Saturday for the Patrick Henry Half Marathon in Ashland, so I suppose he needs a little rest. Emily Ward won her race too, in a PR time. I had been planning to run that until Joe’s wedding conflicted. William and Mary will send some athletes, perhaps Rad will run, but I doubt it. At least without Llano, Benford, Quinn, Wilson and the like running, I won’t be buried behind guys who will make me feel like I’m standing still on those soft fields. I think I should be able to break 16:00, just the drop in mileage alone will be a relief for my legs. About 40 fewer miles will certainly help.

I am certainly ready for a break from this traveling- Aside from the weekend of the Crystal City Twilighter and Riley’s Rumble, I have been out of town for at least part of the weekend since early July- Reno, Rockville, Pittsburgh, Pembroke, Cumberland, Lancaster/Wyomissing, Portersville and now Richmond. I’m not sure if I should go to Philly to watch the half marathon, but if I can somehow be of help to the guys, I might as well go and enjoy it.

I’ll be taking a side trip, while in Richmond, to Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains for a long run. As far as I know, it’s just Molz, but I hope Lauder will be coming along on his bike. No matter the temperature, it will be dryer there. We’ll be running 12 normal miles, eight at marathon pace (5:40 for me, I hope) and three easy. I hope we’ll drive part of it first and drop off some water bottles, I don’t want a dehydrated nightmare like last weekend (it wasn’t a nightmare, but it certainly wasn’t ideal.)

I ran a relaxed 3.5 mile Fisherman morning run at 7:25 pace, half of my usual Wednesday morning fare. It's currently 97 degrees as I get ready to head to Bethesda for a repeat of the workout from two weeks ago- six alternating miles on the CCT. I'm really going to be putting my momentum on the line from the last few workouts, but I won't assign too much to the outcome if things don't go well. If they do, well, then I'll be surprised! I can take solace in my pattern of following bad workouts with good races and unfortunately, vice versa. The looming alumni race reminds me too much of my early-season struggles in college to adjust to the heat and humidity.

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