Easy like Sunday morning…

crown-737673.jpgI used to hate to run in the morning… well really I used to hate training in the morning… okay that’s not the whole story… I used to hate mornings in general..

As a younger man I was not a morning person… and I used to drink… kinda excessively and kinda on a regular basis… Hangeroverish and morning training do not good friends make…

But… things have changed… as of a couple of years ago…. no more liquor for me…

I then found that I could ride in the morning… but… only if a nap was imminent.

Dec%2B2010%2Br2t%2BIMG00180-20101204-1020-741530.jpgThen I met this girl… she is a morning person… and I started training with her… in the morning… really early… I liked this girl a lot… but before 0730 every day… liking just barely won out… on a daily basis… breaking up with her so I could go back to bed and get some sleep… cycling, swimming, Lifting were all crappy in the morning… but… running was the worst… I hated it… but… I liked her so much the rest of the time… that I kept on showing up

Well… then it was my turn to be the pusher… she had never run more than 15k at a time… so I started taking her on my long runs… we did a couple of long runs on Sunday afternoon… but other commitments soon drove us to settle on Sunday mornings… before church… oh… and get this… church starts at 0830.

But a funny thing has happened… I started liking these early morning adventures… it started with us sneaking thru a swanky gated community… then we added a loop through our outside mega-mall… which is really cool in the cool darkness at 0545 on a Sunday… then we added a loop or 2 of a trail system nearby… running in the woods in the grey mist of dawn is spine tingling… Last week we ran out to the beach… and saw the sunrise over the ocean

Now… I look forward to Sunday morning all week… seriously… like a kid at Christmas… I talk about it all week… plan, scheme, map, discuss. It is our own little epic adventure… and yet… it’s like our little secret at the same time…

This week’s installment really started on Friday… when the speedwork we’d put off on Wed and Thursday was re-inserted into our training schedule.

We did 7ish miles with the 4.5 in the middle at 7:15 pace… I did push it on the last full mile to get a 6:59 just for “fun”

Judi did 4 ~7:45s… and only took one wrong turn.

On Friday evening I met Mark for a couple of loops of the UNF trails…. We got in 6 miles in 54ish minutes…. And had a nice chat along the way.

That said…. And done… my legs were cooked

Dec%2B2010%2Br2t%2Briding-743588.jpgDawn on Saturday was clear and crisp (35ish F). We did not, however, attend but instead slept in until about 8:30 then rode the Baldwin rails to Trails loop at around 10:30 when it had warmed up 20 or so degrees. Beautiful fall scenery at a nice relaxed pace… 42 miles

Sunday morning… I kid you not… I woke with a start… raring to go running… only to look at my watch which read 0230… I thought to myself… “Dangit… gotta sleep 2 more hours”

Alarm went off at 0400… finally it was time…

And we had a plan…. Loosely based on this:

http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/marathonlongrun.htm

basically… we run together for the first 13 miles… then I turn around and run back .5 miles… reverse direction again and try to run Judi down… we both would pick up the pace for the last 5 (for her) and 6 (for me) miles. I was hoping to do a nice crescendo from about an 8:30 pace to a 7:20 over the 6 miles…. Judi was just going to run…

the course was mapped:

http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=4181528

We hit the road at 0450… ran the first 2 at 10:15 pace… Judi asked me how I felt about a half mile in… “my legs are tired” was my response.

That does not mean that we weren’t having fun tho… miles 3-8 quickly passed under our feet… we stayed at about a 9:45 pace… while talking, laughing, listening to music, and dancing… we even saw a couple walking down one of the streets in Jacksonville Beach drinking beer and carrying a cooler at 0545 on a Sunday morning… now *that’s* hardcore.

After a store stop around mile nine we started to slow a bit… we had tuned into a headwind… our tired legs were just slowing down… and I, for one, was trying to gather myself for the discomfort of running hard for the last hour. Miles 9-12.5 slipped to a 10:30 pace… It has been months since we have run that slow….

No matter…. We stopped at the top on the Atlantic Blvd Bridge… “Shook hands”… and parted ways. I was not ready… and did not immediately pick up the pace much… maybe to a 9:30…

Mile 14 I tried to up the pace… my legs said “no”… my head said “yes” my legs said “maybe” then my head said… “that’ll have to do” and off we went to run a 9:05

I tried to up the pace again for the next mile… Really working hard and managed to drop it down to an 8:35… I had planned to be sub 8 for the last 5… it just was not to be… I was giving it all I had.

Somehow I managed to keep edging my pace down 8:20 for mile 16, then 8:16, and finally mile 18 was a 7:56… I wanted to up the ante one more time… I really wanted a 7:40 for mile 19 but I did not have it in me… I used every mind game I knew and only came up with an 8:11… I finished up the last .82 in just under a 10 pace… like the beaten man that I was.

Oh, and Judi…. I never even caught another glimpse of her… she had finished, stretched and gotten in the shower by the time I came rolling to a stop.

Now… you may think… that I feel defeated… and in a way I do…. I did not meet my goals and as a goal oriented person I am disappointed in falling short… but… that is so not the case.

For three hours, ten minutes, and 12 seconds on Sunday… I was a runner… doing what I love… with my favorite person… testing myself… and I can hardly wait 5 more days to get out there again.

12-5%2Bsplits-739939.JPG

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