Warm-up Walk: Start Time: 10:21 am Distance: 0.36 mi Time: 5:16 min Avg Pace: 14:35 min/mi Calories Burned: 37
Run: Start Time: 10:31 am Distance: 4.10 mi Time: 41:50 min Avg Pace: 10:11 min/mi Calories Burned: 320
Cool-down walk: Start Time: 11:14 am Distance: 2.00 mi Time: 31:23 min Avg Pace: 15:39 min/mi Calories Burned: :208
What a GORGEOUS day for a run! Of course, as the title of this post suggests, Erik & I went to our favorite lake this morning, & did our respective runs. Erik did 5 miles, & I ended up doing 4.
We both spent time warming up adequately, walking & stretching before going out for our runs. It was a bit chilly this morning, so I tried to stay in the sun during my warm-up.
I took off for my run well before Erik did, wishing him a good run as I headed off into the forest. The forest was fairly well shaded, so it felt a bit cooler than what one would normally expect for a typical August morning. Brrrr! It wasn't the temperature I'd planning on running in, so I went out fairly fast, hoping to warm up the muscles as quickly as possible!
It was no more than a few paces into my run when a gorgeous & quite enormous monarch butterfly fluttered its wings past me, and swirled into the sky, almost evaporating into the air as quickly as it'd appeared. Of course, I wasn't carrying a camera on me (Rats!), but here is a close approximation of what that butterfly looked like:
Not long after the butterfly appeared, a woman, who was carrying a little dog in her bike basket, passed by me. I couldn't help but smile at the lady & her dog. The visual was amusing, & the little dog seemed to be having the most fun of all! That pooch was getting a naturally air-conditioned ride, & we all know how dogs like to feel the breeze on their faces, whether they are poking their heads out of a moving car or riding in bicycles! ;-)
There were a lot of walkers & cyclists out & about today, & a few runners here & there as well. Several people looked like they were doing intervals, as I passed them a few times during my 4-mile loop.
The trail has mile-markers all along the route, & for some reason, I seeing missed the one-mile marker. And even though I knew I'd passed it, not seeing it somehow threw me off, & I became unsure about my pace calculations for about the first two miles in. Thankfully, as it turns out, I wasn't too far off in terms of time: I was nearing the half-way point of 19-minutes at about a minute before I hit the 2-mile marker. Of course, hearing this announcement from my Nike+iPod was very reassuring & certainly helped return my mind to its former state of laser-sharp focus!
Upon reaching the 2-mile marker, I turned around & headed back to the start, & focused on my next task of getting to mile 3 at around 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the Nike+iPod announcer lady didn't give me my next verbal cue until a whole 6 minutes later, when she shouted out "13 minutes left!" By that point, I knew I had about 3-4 more minutes to go before I'd be closing in on 3 miles, & should probably speed up some in order to make goal pace.
My final reality check came when the Nike+iPod announcer lady rattled off "8 minutes left!" as I was nearing the third mile marker, & I knew that if I wanted to have any chance in hell of making the 10-minute-mile pace goal, that I was going to have to seriously step it up a notch. The funny thing is that this point in the trail is also where a large number of hills (i.e., all uphill ones!) were situated as well, so I ended up getting an excellent aerobic workout!
Nonetheless, I ran a fairly mild pace today, nothing hectic, despite having to really pick up the pace towards the end.
My run was supposed to be 38 minutes long, but of course, in order to finish out the rest of the run & end up where I'd started, I ended up running a few minutes longer. Plus, I really wanted to complete an even 4 miles, even if that meant falling behind my pace goal in the final mile.
At any rate, I was aiming for a completion time of 40 minutes, & came (kind of!) close to my goal at 41:50 minutes. (Again, the Nike+iPod pedometer was slightly off in its calculation of 4.1 miles! So, in reality, I did closer to a 10:27:30 minute-mile.) Considering the multiple hills I had to run up today, I'm still fairly pleased with today's finishing time. ;-)
Speaking of which, the last leg of the trail ends with a long, steep (& very challenging!) uphill slope that increases with intensity (& angle of incline!) as one approaches the final mile marker. And if you're not in the right mental space, this hill can be even more daunting. ;-) Thankfully, that wasn't the case today. If I had to, I was going to kick, claw, & grunt my way up that hill every inch of the way!
At one point, I even yelled out loud, "C'mon, you are tougher than this! You can give more! Get up that hill!" (Thankfully, no one was around to hear me growling such fierce commands to myself, or they might've thought I'd gone completely crackers. LOL! ;-0)
As you can tell, I really put in a lot of effort on that final hill, giving it everything I could muster. The final mile is also when I felt a bit of "runner's high" kick in. And boy, did I need every ounce of adrenaline & endorphins that my body could produce at that exact moment!
The funny thing I find about exertion, especially when I'm heading up hills, is that part of me turns into a steely-eyed "road warrior" ("Yaaaa! Yaaaa! Yaaaa!"), while the other part gets into a very "Zen" state of mind, accepting what lies ahead & simply yielding to the gentle power of the hill. But that doesn't mean I put in any less effort. I'm very engaged in the task at hand, but in the actual hill-climb itself, something happens to my mind & body that I can't quite describe. It's almost as if my mind separates from my body, even though I'm obviously still very much fully existing in both. I'm in my body, but at the same time, I leave it as well. I don't mean to suggest that it's an "out-of-body" experience in the paranormal sense of the word, because it's not! I still consciously feel every part of the experience --it certainly doesn't lessen the physical sensations of what it feels like to push oneself up the hill! -- but it's like my mind just splits off & goes into a different place. I'm present but my mind becomes an observer. It's engaged in the effort but detached in its observations.
Some final footnotes: I have to say that, when I checked today's training schedule right before I left the house for this morning's run, I was frankly a bit relieved to see that today's run would only be 38 minutes. "I can easily do that!" I thought to myself as I got in the car with Erik & drove to the lake. (As mentioned previously, I'm a bit tired of my current training program, & honestly just can't wait to get to the next one as quickly as possible!)
And speaking of what's next, it looks like I'll be doing the 10K training plan from Coolrunning.com that Cymrusteve recommended. (Thanks again, Steve, for the great recommendation!) Of course, I'll add my own spin on it with a few minor tweaks, but it looks like a pretty comprehensive plan. Plus, it can be done in less than 3 months, which gives me plenty of time to run additional distance to prepare if needed.
Other thoughts: My left knee still feels a bit tender after today's run. Earlier, it felt like someone had hammered it. It's not really so much a bruise or muscle pull. Very weird & hard to describe. Not sure what's going on with it. Actually, the knee's been tender over the past 2 days, since my previous run (when it first started acting up!). I'm going to ice it & start getting back on the "gluc-chond" regimen. I've been woefully neglectful in taking my vitamin & mineral supplements lately. It's supposed to be preventative, & not reactive! ;-) It doesn't work like a salve on a wound; the supplements must be taken regularly & in advance for any real kind of long-range effect!
Oh, I almost forgot to mention: Erik & I have a funny little running ritual I thought I'd share with you. We make a habit of giving each other "high-fives" when we pass each other on our runs. Today, we passed each other somewhere after I'd hit the 2-mile marker, & had looped back to the starting point. We were running facing each other in the opposite direction: I was coming back & Erik was still on his way out, having started a lot later than me.
When I'd finished with my run, I realized that Erik was still going to be a while, so I ended up doing a 2-mile cool-down walk (to pass the time & also to prepare my feet for the eventual 10K I'd be doing!). When I still hadn't seen him at the end of this long walk, I did yet another, much shorter (i.e., 5:53 minute) walk after that. It wasn't until the end of this walk (i.e., around 11:50 am or so) that I saw him heading back towards the trailhead.
At the end of his run, Eric told me that he'd seen a big black snake on the trail. (I wonder what kind of snake it was! It's not like it was a Black Mambo or anything!) Glad it didn't cross either of our paths while we were running!
OK, enough typing. My hands (& the rest of me!) are tired. And my body's still warm from the exertion of today's run.