Boston Marathon Training. Several years ago Kim told me if you have a chance to see family, you should do it. I finished my meeting in Miami and it went well. There is an opportunity to close additional business in Tampa, as well as take a few moments to see my brother. It is possible that I could close this business on the phone, though this is a reference account and right now, every client counts. They have five new centers that will come on board this year alone and again it is an opportunity to see family. I point the rental up Alligator Alley and head off to Tampa. The mileage suggest a nearly 5 hour drive, though it is a straight shot at 80 mph+ I make it less than 4 and the drive is easy, allowing me time to make several business call.
Arriving in Tampa, I drive past my parents old house, it was recently painted and I think how much they would have liked the color. Arriving at my brothers house it is a sea of activity, though not nearly as hectic as it was the last time I visited. It is good to see family and I immediately know I made the right decision to come.
A quick trip to the store for a six-pack, my brother and I watch the Twins/Tigers game and a cold beer lubricates the conversation. I am tired and I vow not to stay too long. The game goes into extra innings, but with the last few days travel, I am running on fumes. I head out at the top of the 11th, but not before I borrow a pair of shorts.
Arriving at the hotel, I lay out the shorts and immediately go to bed, my brother call to let me know that the Twins won the game. It will be fun watching the Twins versus the Yankees. As I lay in bed, I am considering my options. I know that Wednesday is Tempo day. As I always do when I travel I bring a pair of sneakers jeans and a T-shirt, I hate traveling in a suit and jacket. So I lay there knowing I will be running in a pair of non-running shorts and a pair of running shoes that were retired over a year ago.
Waking at 5, I am tired, just not enough sleep these past few days. I am running through my mind my options, 1) run in the old shoes and cloth shorts or 2) wait until I get home and squeeze in my tempo run… and it hits me, I have football for Wil at 5:00 and Jack at 6:30 seeing as how my flight lands at 3:15 that afternoon, I know the my choice has been made. I am out the door.
This is a familiar run, from the hotel to the Courtney Campbell Causeway, to the start of the causeway to the bridge and back. The run is supposed to be 1 mile warm up, 6 miles tempo at 7:45 followed by a 1 mile ez cool down.
I shorten the warm up, and start the tempo part. Thankfully the shoes have a little more cushion than I expected they would, I do not forsee any problems. It is dark out and I am in the dark. Though I know this run, I only know the finish miles, 6, I have no land marks, and no mile markers. I will be doing this by feel, essentially I am in the dark figuratively and literally. I am not too worried though. Two weeks ago I did my 18 miles on feel and did a great job keeping pace. As I run I feel good at first. Though as I look at the distance to go, I think I might be going too slow. I am having difficulty judging my speed. I pick it up. I think I was running too slow. I start to notice my left quad is feeling fatigued. "Really," I think to myself, I thought we were done with this problem. I continue to run. I can see my turning point ahead. This run is taking more out of me that I expected. I hit the turn around and expect to be at an easy 23:45… wrong, I am at 24:10. Holy crap. I think I said the “F” word too!
I am blown away that I think I might be running too fast and here I ran too slow, worse yet, I am not feeling that great. I head back and think I need to pick up some time. I am running and I am working hard, much harder than I should be working. What is going on… I am 4 minutes on the turn around and my left leg is done. I’m not even at mile four and I am trying to figure out how my left leg makes it back to the hotel. No real choice, and everyone learns to live with pain I just keep running.
My mind starts to stray and it is all negative. I stop the bad thoughts and look for the good. I pick my head up and though it is still dark, I see the houses across the bay as people are turning on lights and just getting up to start their day. The water is calm and there is a flight line of planes in the distance heading to and from the Tampa airport.
The distraction works for a while, but everything is falling apart on me , my leg, my head, trying to focus and just get this one done. I am still behind and the last ¼ mile I pick it up. I finish with a per mile pace of 7:47. The pace was supposed to be 7:45. The reality is it could have been 8:00 minutes per mile! I want to scream! I do my cool down, though I cut it short, I am very angry and disgusted.
Now, I know that there will always be days when you are “on” and days that you are “off” but today I was no better than a two pack a day smoker out for his first run. This was horrible. Sure, I got it done and it is in the books, but what did I gain and what did I learn. This is a six mile run at a pace only 15 seconds faster that my marathon target and I almost did not make it, actually I did not make it, my pace was slow by 0:02 per mile.
Two weeks ago I am flying on a 5 mile run and can not slow down, this day everything was falling apart. Was it the lack of sleep, the two beers (doubt it), the travel, the old shoes, diet… basically, what the hell.
This run left me with a lot of questions and doubt, but no answers. Saturdays long run should be interesting with Jay, 13 miles at an 8:15. The thought creeping in my mind is all this slow running is teaching me to run slow.
The meeting I went to Tampa for goes well and I believe I have secured a long term client and picked up 5-6 new facilities for the coming year, a good thing. I share a few minutes with my brother over breakfast and we talk about my frustration from the morning run. That is the last I think about it until now. A plane to catch, emails, work and an evening filled with football.
Both the boys do well and it washes away the bad parts of the day. Good to see Kim and the boys though I just see them for a few hours. Getting the boys to bed, I sit watching the Yankees beat the Twins as I work through emails and proposals. It will be a short night, tomorrow I head to Chicago with less than four hours sleep. I will miss my second Masters Swim Class. Dang.
I'll try to find a gym while in Chicago. Need to work out of this.