What I am thinking about this morning?
The body is really sore from yesterday’s fun with the wood chipper. I’m not sure why, I have been using it to do brush most of last week, so I should be muscled into it by now. Oh well, it must have been the bigger limbs that were going through the hopper and steeper banking I was on, either way this morning I am more tired and sore than usual.
Which means that I am probably going to skip out on the monthly fitness check scheduled for this morning on the track and do something a bit less intense. I am not sure what yet, maybe doing the Middle Road Loop and working the hills a little harder or going to Quarry Road and playing on the single track over there, while trying out the Salomon Speed Cross 5s that I got a while back.
I will make up my mind, probably while walking Bennie. I do want to do something for about 6.0 miles. Which is about what I would have run if I had done the fitness check.
What Did I do?
I ended up doing the Quarry Road 10K course.
It was a great choice, it gave me an opportunity to check out my racing shoes on a longer run, it gives me an idea if my fitness is getting better. While I didn’t go at a racing effort, I managed to stay in that comfortably hard range that gives you confidence that you still can do more.
I hovered right around the pace I wanted to maintain for the entire run and finished with an average pace of 8:30. Which was spot on what I wanted to run.
There wasn’t any question about whether I could run that pace, it was more just keep putting the feet one in front of the other. I would push a little harder on the downhills and not work as hard going up the hills. I know, but I am trying something different, especially during training and if it works will use it during races.
While there are no killer hills on this course, it undulates a lot and some hills are just enough to get your attention.
Coming up Lloyd Road, I could see another runner heading down the road from Colby. He didn’t seem like he was moving that fast, so I figured that I would catch him. He had me by 6-7 telephone poles, but I was gaining on him going down the hill, and then he turned off, before my turn, so I didn’t catch him.
Wait, wait, there is he just took a short-cut came out half-way up the hill leading up to North Street, as I was turning the corner. Once I got on North Street, he was about three telephone poles ahead of me. I closed the gap between us to two poles, and then he looked back and saw me.
He sped up.
I was attempting to maintain a certain effort level. Once he sped up, I was already at the pace I wanted to maintain, and doing more would have committed me to something closer to race pace — that wasn’t the purpose of this run.
I maintained my discipline. Something that in past years, I wouldn’t have done. He pulled away to a four telephone pole lead when he finished at the parking lot at the Quarry Road turn-off. I waved, with a thumbs-up and a smile, as I went by.
He had come at the right time and helped me through a tougher section where I would have slowed down if he hadn’t been ahead of me.
Going back into Quarry Road, I worked on running the tangents and noticed that my left heel was a bit sore. Which was unusual because that doesn’t bother most of the time, so I finished using more of a forefoot landing (I can run that way if I focus on it).
I did chuckle when I got home and saw what was in the bottom of the shoes, right under both heels.
A few rocky hitchhikers.
The first mile and last mile of the course is a dirt road and somewhere along that dirt road, I picked up three hitchhikers in the outsole of my shoes. Judging from the way my left heel felt coming back into Quarry Road and how smooth the rock was, I would say it was on the way out. No biggie, but towards the end, I did have to run a little more on my forefoot than I usually do because the rock was jamming into my heel with each step.
Overall, I was thrilled with the quality of the run and how my body felt for the 10K distance. It isn’t that easy of a course, and the undulations do take it out of the legs a little more than you think if you just look at the terrain map.
If it weren’t for picking up those hitchhikers along the way, the 361 Flames were outstanding. I zero issues under my forefoot, so my issues with the forefoot in other shoes is their issue, not my feet issues. Which is something that I was worried about. I just have to find trainers that work as well as the Flame do for me.
I really didn’t feel like mowing the lawn for an hour and a half this afternoon, but it needed to be done. So, after my nap, I walked behind that old lawnmower and thought about what I had done this morning and some more about the direction I want to go moving forward.
While I might be older and closer to the middle of the pack nowadays, I know that have room for a bit more improvement. My time this morning was almost 2:00 minutes faster for a 10K than I ran before my injury back in March, and a couple of minutes faster than the last time I ran this course.
Which means that even with all the time missed due to injury, that my rehab is going well. It also tells me what I am doing is starting to work. I just have to keep training smarter than I have in the past.
That is what I need now, is hope…hope that I can continue to make small improvements, if I train smart and stop being my own worst enemy.
Come with me now, the best is yet to be.