Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Red Fox Magical Forest

"Follow me," said the white rabbit.

Without hesitation I obeyed, but, before I knew it, the rabbit had disappeared somewhere in the green underbrush. 

Upon entering the Red Fox Magical Forest I knew spring was in the process of being sprung. Brilliant sunshine flickered through the still spartan canopy above. Birds of all shapes and sizes chirped and cooed. My eyes grew wide. My legs felt heavy. There was still dirt on my calves from workout I ran the night before...

On Friday night, I met the Outlaw, whose becoming my chief training partner, in Crystal City for PACERS' weekly summer race series. My goal (our goal) was to run 5:00 pace; ideally the pace we'd like to hit the following weekend at the Pike's Peek 10k. I got to the race a little lsater than I expected and quickly donned my running clothes and found the Outlaw already running back and forth near the starting line. I got in a hurried mile warm-up and began to wonder if this was going to be a good idea. My stomach felt a little "off" and I worried a quick pace might upset it. Outlaw and I took off guns blazing. We were joined by some other harrier, but by the time I hit mile 1 (4:40) I had opened up a sizable lead. "Too fast," I thought, "WAY too fast." That being said (or thought), the pace felt surprisingly easy. I relaxed a bit and Outlaw came up behind me. The course - with it's many 90 degree turns, and switchbacks - is quite technical, but we did our best to run tangents and give the lead Vespa chase. My stomach started to feel a little "off", but I was resigned to finish the race. I hit mile 2 in 9:46 (a 5:06) and kept that pace going for another half mile or so before slowing down considerably. Outlaw came bounding past me around this time and together we took aim towards the finish line. We went back and forth a few times, but in the end I got the better of the NY Yankee fan. My last mile was a paltry 5:17 and the finish time had me at 15:48. Yikes.

Considering it was a workout, the time didn't bother me, still I hate dying so badly in a race. The good news is that I have found a little bit of speed and I hope to put that to good use next Sunday on the fast, flat and straight Pike's Peek course.

I ran 3.5 that morning and got in 11.5 for the day. My runs leading up to Friday were fairly slow and easy; recovering from running ten miles on the asphalt. I hadn't done a workout on Wednesday, hence my decision to run the 5k on Friday night. By the time I got home (two train rides and another 1.5 miles of walking) I was quite cooked, so I opted for an "Irish Shower" vice an American one.

...which brings me back to the Red Fox Magical Forest...

I was tired, but the going sure was pretty. When I reached Sunfish Pond, I saw turtles warming their carapaces under the hot sun, but they scurried into the cold, mucky water as I scampered past. I saw a woodchuck a short time later. The rolling terrain left me breathless, at times, but it was good to get into the woods and away from the streets.

The white rabbit was right.

On Sunday I ran 15, starting at Edward's Ferry. It was Luff, JR, me, Wiggy and Texas Paul for the first 8.5, then Tex and I banged a left and continued on the Large Animal Loop (14). We cranked the pace down ever so slightly and our 14th mile was 5:07. Fifteen for the day. Seventy for the week.

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