Where we last left off, I had a rough second week of training and I re-committed myself to Hard Work.
Monday – 11 miles
Since I arranged my training plan so my long run day was early in the week (usually Mondays), on Sunday night I laid out all of the stuff I’d need for a responsible attempt at 11 miles on Monday morning. I had picked up some miscellaneous gels, chews, and electrolytes at Bull City Running Company when I was buying my foam roller, and laid those out with my clothes, shoes, Garmin, giant (for me) 16oz water bottle for the next day.
In the morning I triple-checked to make sure I had everything, and then set out in search of the American Tobacco Trail. The trail is to Durham as the Greenway is to New York, or the lakefront path is to Chicago. It’s a shared bike/running path where you can run mile after mile in the same direction; it’s perfect for out-and-backs, which are my favorite way to do long runs. Except, unlike the Greenway or the lakefront path, it winds through forests, it’s almost completed shaded by huge trees, and there’s almost zero traffic (at least, when I was using it).
It’s pretty awesome.
I haven’t been running with music lately and when I realized how quiet and empty the path was, I wished I had brought some. I’m used to people watching and dodging, and suddenly I was facing nearly two hours of running alone in dead quiet. But after the first two miles, I just zoned out.. I was having thoughts, but I wasn’t actively thinking things. Thoughts were just happening to me. I was just watching them pass by.
I love out-and-backs so much because I love having to make a choice early on about how far I’m really going that day, and being completely forced to stick to it. With out-and-backs, there are no shortcuts or shaving a mile off if it rains or I’m feeling crappy. I ran 5.5 miles out, and knew I’d have no choice but to run the 5.5 miles back. Mentally, it’s so wonderful to know I already committed to it, and the strongest version of me (first half of my run me) had faith that the weaker version of me (second half of my run me) would be able to do it.
There’s one bad thing about the Tobacco Trail: there is no water anywhere. After 8 miles of trying to sip daintily and make my water bottle last, I was getting so thirsty. When I got back on main roads closer to home, I stopped at an office building and drank and drank and drank from their water fountain before running the last mile home.
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – 3.41 miles
I had heard that Bull City Running put on a Wednesday 3, 4, or 6.2 mile run starting from my neighborhood brewery, so I showed up ready to run some miles. I meant to do 4, but it was so packed and a little chaotic at the beginning that I missed the four-mile group leaving. I set out with the 3s instead. I immediately noticed how great I was feeling, so I slowly made my way to the front with the boys. Our route was very hilly, though they didn't seem to take as much out of me as they have in the past. This was supposed to be an "easy" run but I ended up splits in the low 8's. Whoops!
Thursday – 7 w/5 at HM pace (8:36)
A strange cool front came in this morning, and even the voices on NPR were excitedly suggesting that we all go outside and run around while it's so cool out (low 60s). I had my first tempo run of this cycle on my schedule and couldn't believe my luck. For whatever reason -- maybe it was the cool, nonhumid temperature, or maybe I just had a residual amount of confidence from the day before -- I felt good enough to try to hit my actual HM pace from Wisconsin, instead of the "adjusted" HM pace I planned to use while I got back into shape.
8:21, 8:32, 8:31, 8:28, 8:29
I felt awesome by the end and could have done a few more.
In the evening I took my bike to the shop to get it tuned up after its traumatizing trip across the country. It's had a longstanding shifting problem (the Ergo shifters are just old). The guys at Bullseye got it shifting so well, I thought I'd bike to the event....
...completely forgetting that it's a whole different thing to bike commute in a non-city than in a city. I was the only cyclist on the roads the entire way, and once I got there, there were no bike racks or anything at all a to lock my bike to. Since bike commuting was my main way of enjoying my bike, I wonder how living here will change how I cycle?
Friday – 4.12
Just an easy run that felt harder than it should have, probably because of yesterday's tempo.
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – 4.6 miles with 8x100 strides
The strides were so fun. I can't believe I've never tried them before.
Total: 30.2 miles (running only)
77 more days!