The past two days have yielded some very interesting insights to my running.
First, before I began yesterday’s workout I looked at the planned progression. Miles at 8:15, 8:00, 7:45, 7:30, 7:15 x 2 (holding my target pace), 7:00, 6:45, 6:30, and an 8:00 (cool down). It was pretty amazing to think of 8:00 as a cool down. For some that would be faster than race pace. For me, I can certainly run that pace, but after what I had already run it would not feel slow. I knew that ahead of time. I also added it up and it turned out that it would add up to 1:14:30 or a few seconds faster than the racing PR my running mate for a Thanksgiving weekend 2 person marathon relay had just run in the Army Ten Miler. I knew I could hit everything down to the 7:00 but wasn’t sure of what would come next. Was I deterred? No. Just knew that it was time to go out and “do it”. I thought of St Sebastian and how he just kept doing what he did. I thought of the recently passed runner who always knew that just keeping up was very important. And I headed out.
The miles at first came pretty easy. 8:06 for the first mile. That was out to York Rd, down to Northern and over toward Loch Raven. That was somewhat downhill after I got out of the neighborhood. The second mile was similarly easy at 7:55—over to Loch Raven and around the square block that includes the post office. Both were a little faster than planned but not by extreme amounts. Third mile was 7:40—headed down to and across Belvedere. Pretty much running flat. Then I ran a 7:28—going across Belvedere toward Northern again. Now, it was time to see if I could run the race pace that was planned for the next two miles. I did—as I ran over to Charles, up Charles, and across Stevenson toward Dumbarton (7:12 and 7:09). At that point I found it difficult to get down to the 7:00 I was supposed to have for mile 7 (I ran 7:06 fighting up hill on Dumbarton back to York). Then I ran a 7:02. I was disappointed in that one as I got to Sherwood/The Alameda and headed back to Northern for one last time around. Finally, I was able to use the downhill on Northern headed back toward Chinquapin to get a 6:45. That was an interesting mile as I saw a tire on a car blow out on Northern Parkway. Fortunately, the driver had a cell phone and the driver of the car behind it must have heard the sound of the tire blowing out. So, no one got hurt. I didn’t get my 6:30—when I mentioned it to my relay partner she agreed that I probably wouldn’t get much sympathy for not being able to run a 6:30 as the last of nine miles of progression. I finished the run headed home with an 8:03. I was surprised to hit the last one near 8:00 as I felt beat after the 6:45, but near 8:00 miles come pretty easily for me at this point. I learned a lot about getting my mind ready for a progression run, sticking with it, pushing through, and getting the time I was aiming for. Despite the missed three miles (adding on 6, 17, 15 and 3 seconds), I had run under by enough on the other six miles that I got 2 seconds under the projected time. It was quite a workout. For yesterday’s answer to #WhatMakesYouSoar it was certainly not the good weather yesterday. It was warmer and more humid. But it was hitting the overall time goal and pushing through and the feeling of satisfaction of a goal achieved.
Today’s run was completely different. I stayed in DC overnight for work with a 9 AM meeting in DC today. I was out the hotel door just past 5:30. I ran 7 miles in 1:00:05 or an 8:35 pace. Such a difference—over a minute a mile slower. And I actually took about another 10 for the run as I stopped to take some pictures. It has been a long time since I ran in DC. In fact, last time I ran I found a group from DC’s Back on My Feet to run with. Which was a great way to see parts of the city I had not seen. Instead, today I ran toward the mall. Started with two photos of myself to show my faded blue shorts and blue running shoes. Celebrating the cause of a friend who encouraged her fellow runners to think about Idic15 World Awareness Day. I then snapped the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the FDR memorial, the MLK memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial before heading back to the hotel. It was great to see the sites. I have been in DC as a tourist only one day in the past ten years. Last time we walked the entire mall was when Sherry was six months pregnant with Daniel—ten years ago. I did not run past the Vietnam Veterans memorial this time. I will make sure to do that next time I stay in DC. It was the first time I had seen MLK in person. It is quite imposing—particularly when it is dark and you suddenly come upon the lit memorial. I was also surprised at how little some of the trails in the area are lit. Today was a day just to run and enjoy. And take in what I don’t often have a chance to see.
As far as total for the year goes—now 1757 miles. I just continue to be amazed at how far that is. I am now back near I-40. The “detour” along NM 104 took me up to see Conchas Lake State Park. At least on the map application I’m using I don’t see any Catholic churches closer than the last city I was in. Does that mean the area is spiritually desolate? No, of course not. It just means it is an area in which I would need to simply enjoy taking in the scenery that God created and feeling the closeness to something greater than myself or anyone by seeing the beauty around me. The entire fact that I draw on what other people are thinking of running and what motivates them in life and that I am trying to tie together 2000 miles with thoughts and not just heartbeats reflects the “something greater” that I seek.