Surprise 5K — November 12, 2021

I have decided that on my runlog posts, that I won’t bother with doing one for most of the routine easy or recovery runs, where I simply go out to put in the mileage and not much else happens along the way. Not too many people including myself are interested in the thoughts of an old guy running slow on a daily basis. If something interesting happens, I will write about it. For most of them, publishing a post about them is more work than it is worth and my paper log will be enough.
Friday’s are the day that I usually attempt to run the Middle Road Loop, but today I didn’t feel like it. For some reason or other, I kept thinking about taking out the 361 Degree Flames for an easy run to get them over the 25.0-mile mark and making them the first shoes I review on this blog (I explain myself in this post). I haven’t run in them since I did the 10K time trial back in September.
We were expecting a pretty good-sized storm this morning, so I couldn’t procrastinate getting out the door too long. I was still thinking about what I would be doing. Finally, I reached in the drawer where I keep the Flames and put them on.
361 Degree Flames
As soon as I put them on, I knew that I had made the correct choice, but I still wasn’t feeling like doing Middle Road. When I get this way, I end up doing laps on Philbrick until I’ve had enough. So, I got out the earbuds (it makes the time go by a bit easier when doing laps), put on my race day playlist, and headed out the door.
Surprisingly, I started out easy and stayed that way for a ways.
It didn’t last.
The 361 Degree Flames do not do slow. 
While I wasn’t putting a lot of effort into the run, I was still running right along at a fairly high cadence. Then I got the bright idea of picking it up for a harder 5K and seeing how I felt after that.
Even with the slow start, the first mile wasn’t too bad. During the second mile, I picked up the effort level to comfortably hard, turned the music up a little more, and kept cruising. 
About the top of the hill, it started to sprinkle, and by the time. I got back to the house, it had begun to rain steadily. In some of my other go faster shoes, I would have been hesitant to keep running at that pace. However, the Flames weren’t having any issues with grip, although the breeze was picking up quite a bit, so I attempted to keep it at a comfortably hard pace.
I was starting to tire a bit and could tell that I hadn’t done sub 8:00 pace for an extended time for a while. The last mile was a bit of pick it back up, slow down a little, pick it back up when I realized that I was slowing down again routine, certainly not evenly paced.

Raining on Philbrick
The rain was coming down hard enough that my glasses were a problem, and they ended up in the side pocket on the running tights. Then I was running fast enough that I needed to take off the gloves and hold them instead of wearing them. 
I was thoroughly soaked through when I ended the run, but I still had a smile on my face.

What I learned

This also turned out to be the fastest 5K I have run this year. I know, nothing spectacular, but it was my first sub 25:00 minute 5K in a while. Especially, when I wasn’t planning on running fast and the conditions deteriorated quite a bit during the run — I’ll take it. Who knows maybe I am starting to get back in shape — even the bathroom scales played nice this morning.
Every time I wear the 361 Flames, they do impress me a little more. While I am not sure how much I would take them beyond the 10K distance — maybe a half because they are fairly firm. However, for whatever distance I do wear them, I feel confident that I will run well, not have my feet bother, and will most likely run faster than I do in most other shoes.
When you add in the good gripping outsole, it just extends what I would use them for. Now to find a race or two to use them in, but first, the COVID-19 hospitalization number have to come down — a lot. 

Thinking Ahead

Yeah, even though I am vaccinated and boosterized, I don’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling about being around lots and lots of people. Even if they are mostly other runners and are being asked to provide proof of vaccination to race that day. Unless the numbers come down significantly before Thanksgiving, I don’t see me running the 5K over at Cony as much as I want to. 
Then I will have to decide on whether to do the Millinocket Half Marathon on December 4th. Right now, based on the location of the race, and the State’s hospitalization numbers, that isn’t looking all that good either. 
Quite simply, I am not going to let my guard down in the latter stages of this thing, to only have it knock me on my arse or worse. I do understand that the risks are much smaller for me to not be really sick or die from COVID-19. However, with the numbers being as high as they are, the risks are higher than I am comfortable with. At the same time, this pandemic isn’t over yet, and I will continue to be very conscious of where I go and what I am doing when I am out in public.
Racing — as much as I want to do it, it might not be the right time yet for me. To be continued, I am certain. It is all about what are the correct choices for me at this time, not other people.

Come with me now — the best is yet to be.

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