Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Red Fox Meets his Match: Alligators

Last week got away from me (something to do with the long weekend blending into the short work week) and I forgot to post, but alas I will update the masses in this post.

On Monday (1/12), I awoke to freezing rain. Sick of this nonsense, and perhaps getting a little soft, I decided to forgo my run. I think I made the right decision though; I slipped twice while walking to my car. Plus, I intended to make this a down week, because I was traveling to Florida for the long, holiday weekend and running would surely take the backseat to other stuff.

On Tuesday, I got in 9.5. The trails were still rough going at times.

On Wednesday, I ran the TV Repair Loop backwards and got in 9. The trails were still dicey.

On Thursday, I woke up late and got in a quick 7.

On Friday, I ran the Walter Reed Annex Loop with Sam. Thankfully he didn't bitch about the mud this time. We got in just shy of 11. That afternoon, I flew to Florida.

I planned to run a hard, albeit short, tempo on the bike path in Venice on Saturday. The goal was to run 2 miles in 10:00 (or 9:59). Although I don't want to run too much speed until February (at least), the draw of a warmer climate was too much to resist. After a 5 mile warm-up, I took off down a concrete bike path along the Intracoastal (essentially a canal that boats can traverse through). The weather was good (mid-50s), but I was battling a nasty headwind. Thankfully, my dad was on his bike so I had some guidance. I hit the first mile in 5:09 and knew my plan of sub-10 was doomed, but I did my best to keep up the tempo. We then left the path and made a serious of awkward turns before venturing back to the path. I finished with a 5:07 (for 10:16). I was pretty spent, and later my legs would ache like all heck from the hard concrete, but I suppose it was a good effort. I cooled down 4 miles making it an 11 mile morning. After the run, I waded into the Gulf of Mexico and cooled off my legs.

On Sunday, I ran "long" at Myakka State Park. I've run here before - nearly 6 years ago - and recalled the basic "set-up" of the park and its trails, but needless to stay it was still complex to comprehend. I tried to explore the swamp trails as best I could, but my time was short so I only got in 10.5. I did, however, see 15 alligators and some giant sandhill cranes.

58 for the (down) week.

On MLK Day, I ran an easy 9.5 on my last day in Florida, the last 1/2 mile or so on the beach.

On Tuesday, I ran 7 around the NIH at night. I find it very hard to run during times I'm not normally accustomed to. I was huffing and puffing and really never felt comfortable during the entire jaunt.

On Wednesday morning, I ran an easy 8.5 around Rock Creek Park. Near the end of the run, I saw a beautiful red fox booking it along the creek. Its nose was to the ground and it appeared to be hunting.

On Thursday, Sam joined me for the Walter Reed 11 miler. Nothing of interest happened.

On Friday, I ran from my place down to Cabin John, did a 4+ mile loop or so, then ran back. 9 for the day.

On Saturday, I slept to 8:45...and it was glorious. It took me another 2 hours to lace up the shoes at Old Angler's Inn. I got in a very easy 8 on the trails and towpath.

On Sunday, I met Dix, Charlie and Sean at the end of Sycamore Landing Road. This is becoming something of a habit. Greeting my arrival was a still smoldering fire the middle of the parking lot. Some ass clowns had thrown in a bunch of trash - beer bottles, beer cans and some flammable tins - and then had walked off. Who in their right mind would pitch tents in a muddy parking lot in the middle of nowhere and build a fire, was the question on my mind. The plan was to run from Sycamore to Edward's Ferry, run the Duel Ferries loop, then continue back to our cars. Knowing the other guys had worked out on Saturday, I planned to push the River Road section solo (from 5:30 down to 5:10). After 8 miles, I put in a 5:42 then quickly got down to 5:30 pace, but I never got too much faster than that, unfortunately - 5:32, 5:27, 5:28, 5:32, 5:25. Several times, I tried to dip down to 5:15, but it just wasn't happening. The "hills" during the last 2 miles of River really got to me and I was breathing very hard. In fact, I began to get a side stitch and almost threw up at one point while attempting to push through it. Essentially, I was red-lining, but boy, the pace sure didn't "match" the effort. Needless to say, it was a good tempo. By the end of the run, my legs were coated in a blue-colored mud (a result of the crushed stone on River) and I was in dire need of fuel. I got in 17.5, which was my longest run in over a year.

70.5 for the week.

I'm happy with where my endurance is, but I really need to get faster. Tempos on Hains Point in February seem to be a good solution, I think.

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