Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday "Hairy Balls"

Day 20

Boston Qualifying Training. The Tempo run. and the end of week three.

Well yesterday I was hit with the balance of life. In a perfect world we have all the time necessary to do all the things we want to accomplish, I do not know many people who live in a perfect world. There are always unforeseen challenges or events. The father, husband, employee/employer, athlete, coach, clearly there is a lot to balance and there are priorities. Family first, no matter what. Employment and doing a great job, critically important.

Yesterday training took a back seat. In hind sight, I might have been better to get up and push through the fatigue I was feeling from the previous day. I never made it to my run yesterday. Rather, starting at the point I sat at my desk until I left for Wil’s football practice, I was in back to back meetings, while simultaneously, grinding out 3 critical deliverables, for various clients and prospects. I literally finished and hit the send button as I pulled up to Wil’s practice.

Though I did not get my run in yesterday, I did finish the day strong with practice for Wil and Jack, and off to bed at 11:00. Late, but a solid nights sleep.

I woke up and was facing the Tempo Run. I believe this is the “key” run, for my training. It is also the one I believe is the hardest. It tests you physically and mentally and I know I was not ready yesterday. The challenge is holding pace, when your legs are burning and it hurts to breathe.

This Tempo run called for a 7:45 minute pace, 1 EZ, 5 at 7:45 and 1 EZ. Should be "EZ". However I was concerned, I should not have been, I had run 10 miles at a 7:30 pace only a few weeks earlier. But, with the recent slow runs, I kept thinking, what if I am getting slower. It was hard doing the 8 minute pace on the treadmill last week.

The moment of truth, I laced up the shoes, pulled on the ipod (thank you Steve Jobs) and I was off. I was running a new route, an out and back with only slight up and down hills. The first mile was to be EZ, I thought 8:15 – 8:30, the pace felt good, but I knew I was working, likely because I was warming up. I hit the mile marker and the time was 7:20… Crap… Too Fast.

It did not feel that fast, but, I was warm and knew now that I would not have a problem with 7:45, I backed it off and concentrated on keeping a steady pace. I really wanted to hit my projected times and I was feeling in the groove… first mile 7:16, WTF!!! How did I speed up?

Back it off, I kept telling myself, I turned off the ipod, thinking the music had me running too fast. Next mile, 7:14! At this point I am getting frustrated and totally blowing what I am trying to accomplish, finding and holding a pace. I really could have used Jay and his Garmin on this run. I am all over the place on my speed. Worse, my left leg, the one without the broken ankle, is beginning to burn, like a nail is being driven through the muscle. I am actually happy for the pain, I believe it might slow me down.

I concentrate on my right leg and balancing my stride, easy, glide. Trying desperately to give my left leg a break and relieve the pain. No success, I hit the next mile at 7:17. This continues for the next 2 miles and I finish with a mile cool down.

I had a target time of 7:45 per mile over five miles, I ran 7:16 per mile and my leg was on fire. Typically, I would be okay with this pace, actually a little disappointed that it was slow, but with my goal being a marathon, my disappointment was not being able to find and hold my projected 7:45 pace.

As I pull in the parking lot of LTF, I see Jay and Jeff, they are getting ready to bike for the next three hours, I had hope to join them as this is the only Saturday for the next 10 weeks that I do not have 2 football games on a Saturday. However, today is picture day and more importantly, I knew my run was far more important than the bike. I wanted a quality run. I talked to the guys about the busy week, sounds like we are all in the same boat of balancing family, work, coaching and trying to be an athlete.

Jeff and Jay look strong as they are primed for the half Ironman in Augusta. I am disappointed that I am not doing the race too, and that I am not riding with them today. However, I know my goal and that challenge waits for me on December 12th.

On the way home I see a farmers market selling flowers. They are big and bright, I stop and buy a bunch for Kim. They are colorful, the bunch has big sunflowers and field flowers, it also has these big round bulbs. I ask the guy what they are called, he said with a straight face in a heavy Asian accent that they are “Hairy Balls”…

I laugh to myself as I realize I am bringing my wife home a bouquet of Hairy Balls… I hope she likes them!

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