Wednesday, October 10, 2012
I got in 70 miles last week. By the time Wednesday rolled around I was pretty tired and I struggled through the workout, which was 4 x mile with 2:00 rest. Although I essentially hit the times (5:03, 5:01, 4:53, 4:51) I never felt comfortable (or looked comfortable - according to Coach Jerry) doing it. On one hand I thought it was good that I'm able to run workouts well on tired legs, but I was also concerned that this type of training - go hard, 2-3 days easy, hard, repeat - might be wearing on me.
On 3:30 on Saturday morning I woke up in suburban Maryland and beat feet to BWI. There I caught a 6:15 flight to Boston. The flight was late and my sister was late in picking me up at the airport. No big deal, normally, but we were all scheduled to race a low key 5 miler in Warner, NH -- at 9:30am. The race isn't very competitive, but it's super hard due to a mile-long hill somewhere in the middle of the course. I ran it back in 2004 and while I wasn't in great shape, my time of 27:47 was indicative of the ups and downs. My sister did a great job keeping the gas pedal down as we raced through a gantlet of cop cars along the state border. Our estimated time off arrival ticked down from 9:35 to 9:26. We might just make it.
I got to the race with 15-seconds to spare (my sister and Emily were about 15-seconds late) and proceeded to warm up for the first 90-seconds of the race. My goal was to run a 5:10, then as close to a 5:10 for mile 2 (Army pace), then just grind through giant Bean Hill as best I could and simply workout for the rest of the race. I hit 5:10 for mile one, but my legs were tired from jumping out of the car without an adequate warm-up. I hit mile 2, alone, in 5:14 then proceeded to run up...and up. A quarter mile later, I made a sharp left and hit an asphalt wall. It was the type of hill you normally would turn away from if this were just a run, but unfortunately that wasn't a possibility today. My pace ground to a halt and I just shuffled ahead as best I could. The hill leveled off about a half mile later, at which point my forearms were burning. My watch beeped - 6:02 mile. Damn. The course then turned to dirt and it rolled up and down along the ridge of the big hill I just climbed. I split 5:24 before beginning my mad dash down the hill towards the finish line, a mile covered in 4:48. I ran 27:07 for the 5.1 mile course. I got in a 3 mile cooldown before gorging myself on the great fall eats at the festival.
The next day I ran a rolling and beautiful 15 miler around Lake Pleasant in New London. It was a grindfest, especially the 1.5 mile long hill I had to run to get back to the inn, but avoiding hills in New Hampshire is hard to do. All that aside, NH is one of my favorite places to run.