Friday. Oh wonderful Friday. I went to bed last night dreading the run this morning. Dreading might not be the right word, it seems that with every long run, I have a bit of anxiety, not because I am worried about the distance, rather it is how I will feel. Besides, this 10 mile run is half the distance of the runs I will have coming up in the next two months. Perhaps it was the fact that I would be running solo. I used to love running solo, but recently I have come to enjoy running with my friends. As I typically do, I woke up minutes before my alarm went off.
Grabbing my gear I was out the door. As much as I thought I would be running solo, the moon was big and bright this morning. Nearly full, the moon was smiling down on me as I trekked off into the night.
The pace felt good, I expected that I would hit about an 8 minute pace, though I had hoped it would be better, especially as my target for Chicago is 7:32 for 26 miles. But Chicago is months away and right now it is all about fitness. I check my breathing, and I felt good. My legs, not too bad considering the workout I had on Wednesday. All systems go… Somewhere between the second and third mile my calf knotted up, sharp and painful. What was that? I kept running and in flared up two more time, a bit of a nuisance, and it hurt, but no stopping, I just ran through the pain and it went away.
Running solo gives you time to think, there is peacefulness running solo and your mind is able to clear out the clutter. This is especially true on a longer slower run, the faster runs, tempo and track, my mind is like a siren going off the whole time, but long runs I get some great thinking done. Today was fitness. I have been sitting on three (possibly two) legs of a four legged stool when it comes to fitness. I am getting all my runs in, my head is in the game, but my cross training has been weak lately and my nutrition has been garbage. Almost literally garbage. Wings, chips and beer the night before a long run, really? I’m smarter than this. I felt great during my marathon training for Huntsville because I was aware of my food intake, however, lately I just intake food, any food. My weight is up to 181 again and I feel it, it is like wearing a fat suit of lethargy. This week has been better as I am cross training again, but the next month I need to make a conscious effort to better my food choices, not diet, not starve myself, but just eat better.
With my mind clear, I focus back on my running. Six miles have passed and I feel pretty good, The toxins are working their way out of my body and I am going through my checklist on form, breathing, good, upper body, relaxed, good, left leg is a little sloppy, rather than a smooth transition, I am heal striking and slowing my pace, I correct my stride and the pace smooths out, it almost seems easy.
After a while I look at my watch, I’m nearly done, an ascent up Mount Westside crest that hill and it is nearly downhill for the last two miles. The hill is more labor than I anticipated, but I chalk that up to my lack of cross training and keep on pushing up.
The finishing miles are uneventful, done, 10.1 miles, 1:15:25 for a surprising 7:24/mile pace. Somewhere I must have picked up some speed while exercising out my food demons. Not a bad way to start the morning.