Friday, October 30, 2009

Birthday Meatball

Day 68

Boston Qualifying Training.
Last night we all enjoyed singing Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law, Harry. Though it was not his Birthday yesterday, we wanted to give his gift. Minus a cake, Wil had the brilliant idea to stick a candle in a meatball. With the "Birthday Meatball" in place, we all decided to sign with really bad Italian accents. Good thinking Wil, a new tradition, the Birthday Meatball!
It is amazing the power of a good nights sleep. I went to bed at 9:30 last night and work feeling fresh, healed and ready to go. Grabbing an arm full of gear, drinks and cloths, I slip out into the dark. I am wearing a long sleeve shirt, though immediately know it is too much. Sitting in the car the outside temp is reading 61 degrees! It is down right balmy for an late October morning. The bottle drops done, I navigate to LTF. Pulling in I see a heard of runners, Brian (aka Patrick), Michelle, Ann Marie and others. Jay is getting out of his car.
I chat briefly with Brian and Michelle… “Six done” I ask… a quick and spirited, “Six, ha… Ten!” replies Brian. It is 4:30 AM and I quickly do the math. They have been up for a while, though both look energetic and ready to take on the next ten. Man this is great! It further “amps” me up and I feed of their exuberance.

Pulling into the lockers I am stricken with a sudden moment of panic… MY RUNNING SHOES ARE NOT IN THE BAG!!!! OH SH…..!

My mind races with the implications… no run.. a run tomorrow… is there time to get my shoes and get back… not likely Jay is already here… WHERE ARE MY SHOES.

I spend about half a second of that nonsense and think… where are they, I remember that I took them to Minnesota. They are in my travel bag. Better, I left my travel bag in my car… SAVED!
Smiling to myself, I know this is going to be a good run. I smear some Aquaphor in those all important areas and out the door.

The heard of runners has grown and they are off on their next ten miles. Jay is setting the Garmin and we head of for our recovery 15. Hard to imagine, but 15 seems like a piece of cake when you stack it against a 20 mile run. We both comment on the warm weather and wish we had wore running tanks, though we both quickly acclimate.

We hit the first mile in or around 8:00 minutes and back it down to pace. The target is 8:20, though it is likely we only hit it once or twice. Our finish pace was 8:15 according to Garmin, 8:17 by my watch and if you take out a 1:45 for a Jay pit stop, 8:10!

Now Corey would be saying too fast… too fast, but the reality is at 8:17 with breaks we were closer to on, than off, there will be areas in the race that might require a pit stop, or a walk through a water station.

At one point in the early miles I feel my left leg struggling. I immediately stop the negative thoughts and take inventory of everything that is going right, the pace, comfortable, my conditioning, good, a talking pace, body, relaxed.

I listen to my stride, and adjust until the THUD, THUD, THUD of my left leg is gone. Soon my stride is balanced and smooth. I feel good!

The conversation is light today, but the miles click by quickly. Jay and I exercise control on the hills and open our stride up on the downhills. The entire run is about consistency and control.

Looking back I knew last week’s run and even the 10 mile tempo run would be difficult likely due to the extended travel. I think back to how bad I felt, the fatigue, the frustration. I was angry all week last week and worse the doubt it built in my mind.

I also thought about the solo track run in Minnesota and how I had determined I would use that hard workout to steel my resolve, to build my confidence and to strengthen my determination. It worked! I felt energized that day and carried it into the next two workouts. Yesterdays swim and this mornings 15 mile run.

At mile 9.6 I decide to change it up a bit. Rather than head back to LTF, I had placed an extra water bottle and steered Jay and I to a tree lined street with little to no traffic. The leaves were falling as a light wind hand picked up. This felt more like fall. You could smell the crisp leaves as they crunched under foot. I though back to being a kid and running and jumping in a pile of leaves. It made me smile and provided an extra boost as we finished the last 4 miles. I could have been running 7:30’s at that point I felt so good, but knowing better the pace was held and I enjoyed the scenery around me.

Looking over Jay too was gliding along as effortless as always. Jay is ready and would likely be able to pull a 3:20 if he really wanted to tomorrow.

Rolling down Academy, the run nearly done I keep drawing back to how effortless this run was. I considered how I refused to let my thoughts take a trip down a negative path. I know in my mind, this a great run and certainly one to build on for week number 11.

As we rounded the corner to LTF, Jay had an increased sense of urgency and nature was not happy. This prompted a by-pass of our typical stretching. This would be an issue.

As per usual Jay and I headed to our weekly breakfast, better yet, Corey would be joining us after his demonic 9 mile run at 7:00 pace. I was looking forward to hearing about the run and pacing.

As a good friend Corey was waiting on us… stretching! Where are Bob and Jay… We blew it.
Hate to let a good friend down. I tried meeting him afterwards at the bagel place but he had already left. Rats! This put a little tarnish on an otherwise great morning.

Pulling away from the Bagel shop, I think about the day ahead, work and plenty of it, a couple of critical meetings. Better football practice for Wil and Jack. The day will end late and tomorrow will start early.

Wil’s game is at 8:30 and Jack’s at 4:30 tomorrow. I expect it will be hard for the boys to concentrate, as they are excited about Halloween and truthfully so is this 44 year old kid.

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