Sunday, March 9, 2008

Different Outcomes

So sue me ... I did run yesterday. The snow melted and the roads cleared, so off I went yesterday afternoon on a run to Belmont and back.

I sweat heavily when I run, so I always train with water if I'm going more than five miles. Wanting to simulate next week's race, I didn't bring any water, figuring I would hydrate at the Athlete's House, which always has water. The 3.5-mile leg out went well ... I was at 30:00 even, but needed a drink. Alas, no water, and my plans for the leg back went awry.

The 3.5-mile return was rough; in fact, I didn't run hard and didn't run all of it. I didn't want to pull something or cramp. Chalk one up for being smart, but obviously I was frustrated. I don't like crummy runs before races. So I vowed to go at it again Sunday, and went to bed early.

I felt OK this morning, and decided to run the PWP 5.8. The weather this morning was incredible - high 30s, sunny and a very light breeze. When I warmed up (with Gatorade in hand and GU in pocket), I thought I might try for a sub-50 minute run. I took off feeling alright, but didn't exactly smoke the first mile, which is a gradual uphill climb until a steep 150-yard ascent. I reached in 8:45, not my best. Some skinny tall dude appeared behind me, eventually catching me at mile two. Another fit fella passed me as I neared Three Mile Hill; I wasn't struggling, but I knew I wasn't on my A game.

I usually think three things at the base of Three Mile Hill - "That looks easy," "This will take work," or "Uh-oh." Today was the middle. The two guys who passed me stayed within sight, but I really had to press and breathe to keep moving up the hill. I stopped watching my time, instead tuning in to my iPod and getting in a rhythm, albeit a slower one. Continuing on, things got more difficult ... the 50:00 goal was probably gone, but now I had to tell myself not to stop. The GU soon kicked in, and I reached the top at 3.3 miles. Sanity and oxygen returned, and I got moving again.

At the next hill, I felt better, passing some runners and walkers, realizing I wasn't really running that slowly. I made it to the 4.8-mile mark, finally looking at the watch - 45:10. The rest of the run is downhill, and I felt like I could cook it. Downward I bolted, feeling optimistic. My new goals were to run a 7:00 last mile and finish at or near 52:00.

With less than half a mile, I was holding good form when I passed three people who waved at me. I recognized one of them, who looked at me astonishingly as I went by with almost no time to say "hello," which I did manage to say. I laughed inside, thinking she probably thought, "Isn't that the same Jimmy Brown who used to pound cheetos on Sundays?" Yes, it is ... gotta go!

I finished in 52:23, running that seven minute mile (or a shade over). Confidence restored I'm not a wimpy runner, I walked down Belle Meade Blvd. to let the lactic acid recede. I thought about the week's totals (24.3 miles) and and plan for this week (probably three runs, the last of which will be no more than three miles simulating race pace).

The kids and I went to the VU baseball game this afternoon, joining several friends and their children. VU won 9-3, and Will scrambled successfully for another foul ball, which he asked Coach Tim Corbin to sign after the game. I told Coach thank you for that and thanks again for coming to see my wife in the hospital last year. He perked up, asking how she's doing and when she'll be at a home game. I said we hope very soon, and that she's eager to see the team. I also said he really fired up Dori last year when he visited. I'll never forget that and always support his program.

The kids and I walked with Pepper to the neighborhood church, where they rode their scooters. Daylight Savings Time is great, isn't it? Dori is in the kitchen chopping some fresh basil for that angel pair pasta I mentioned yesterday. We're going with a little bacon over the prosciutto. The house smells good! This week will be all about the carbs - pasta, fruit and bagels.

Someone ring that dinner bell ... this boy is hungry!

8:45 p.m.
Dinner was great, and I almost forgot to note this: Will gave Dori the autographed baseball from Coach Corbin and Kathryn gave her a VU shirt she caught at the game. I love my kids.

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