Saturday, August 5th
14 miles A “Fetching” Good Time!
Met the gang at 6am for our usual Saturday morning Gazelle run. The task for this week was 10-14 miles at a nice comfortable pace. No fast pick up at the end…no pushing your body to extreme limits. Just get the mileage in for the day. Coach wanted our focus to be on this coming Monday’s 10 mile pace run. Easy enough…Well, I started and ended the run with my bodyguards (Richard, Thon and Mike). Most were doing the 12 mile option, thereby skipping the trip up Mt. Bonnell. I would’ve been perfectly comfortable doing just that, but when given the opportunity to conquer the hill, I can’t pass it up. I have to tell myself that it gets easier with every repetition.
While we were running towards Mt. Bonnell, we found a tennis ball in the road. Thon picked it up and started tossing it to each of us. It didn’t take long before it was dropped and it rolled away…or so we thought. Mike quickly took a nice lead up the steep climb of Mt. Bonnell as Richard fell slightly back. (Little did we know that he was behind because he detoured to pick up the tennis ball) Thon and I were pacing together and giving each other short gutteral moans of encouragement. We hit the quick plateau that falls in between the two climbs of Mt. Bonnell Road. Reprieve…Thon started picking it up. I tried to match his quick step cadence. We saw Mike up ahead and our goal was to catch him on the hill. Quick steps…heavy breaths…Other runners coming back down the hill shouted encouragement as they saw us working extra hard to climb. Mike turned around and saw our advancement and mockily picked it up. Bastard!! We never did catch him, but we came close and crested the hill feeling winded and victorious nonetheless. I’ve never timed my climb, but I know that was the fastest I’ve ever climbed that hill. It does get easier. I’m getting stronger.
Luckily, there’s always water/gatorade at the top so we stopped to catch our breath. Today was the first day that I didn’t stop my watch at any water stop. Of course, I hated feeling the pressure of knowing that the clock was ticking the entire time. Mike made notice of the fact that my first water stop breaks were more brief than usual. Rationally, I knew it didn’t matter. Irrationally, it was driving me insane!
So, Thon decided to take us on one of his infamous “super-secret” routes back down the hill. Jan and Brad (two other overachievers who did the Mt. Bonnell climb) opted to go back down the usual way. Here’s where the tennis ball comes back into play. For the next mile, we played a game of fetch, catch, football and basketball with the tennis ball! We felt like kids. Hell, we ARE kids!! Neighbors were waking up to the sounds of “Don’t let it touch the ground!” and “Go Long!” I’m sure they were surprised to look out and see runners tossing a ball around! Hell, they probably thought it was some new training regime that Gilbert has us doing. So, like, after a mile, we were beat from chasing this damn tennis ball all over the place. I’m sure we ran like a 12 minute mile, but it was definitely 7min effort!! After a little more child’s play, someone gave the ball a heave and that was the end of that. It was time to get back to the business of completing 14 miles. This was also the time that Thon said we were running Pecos Street back instead of Exposition. I’ve always thought Pecos was more difficult than Exposition, mainly because I know Exposition so well. We had about 5 miles to go. This is where the run started to get more difficult. I’m pretty sure a lot of it is a result of all the energy we expended playing catch and fetch. After the next water stop at O’Henry, the last 3 miles dragged on for what seemed like another hour. There definitely wasn’t a fast pickup at the end. Mike ran ahead again, as Thon and I finished at a steady pace. We picked up Cincy Mike on the trail with a mile to go and he ran it in with us. Richard was feeling dehydrated and brought himself home slowly and with sensible caution.
We finished our 14 miles in 2:16–no stopping of the watch.
We did 6 strides, stretched and headed for my favorite destination of the week–Mi Madres for a breakfast taco. Actually, I’m sure I’m the only one who orders the low-carb breakfast and then asks for corn tortillas on the side!
Sunday, August 6th
I told myself that I wasn’t going to set my alarm this morning. If I woke up early enough, I’d hit 8am swim class. If not, I’d hop on my bike for a good 1 1/2 hour ride. I had hung out with good friends Susan and Cathy last night. Of course, that means a couple of glasses of wine and dessert after dinner. I woke up naturally at about 7:30am and could’ve made it to swim class. Trouble is? I didn’t want to go. I feel like I’m starting completely from scratch on the confidence ladder of swimming. I was making progress and then, BAM, I feel like I’m back at square 1 again. The last few workouts have been hard and my last race swim was pretty pitiful. Because it is in our nature to perform those things that we’re good at, I decided to go for an early bike ride instead and save the swimming humilation for Tuesday’s class.
Shawn’s been working all weekend, so I went for an enjoyable–minimal effort ride by myself at about 9:00am. I rode the SW Parkway, 71, Bee Caves, 360 and back loop. It’s about 23 miles when all is said and done. I averaged 15.7 mph, which was great based on the fact that I was putting no extra effort into any of the climbs. I also wasn’t pushing any of the downhills either. I was having a pleasant morning ride and waving to other cyclists who were riding at their self-prescribed efforts for the day. That’s one of my favorite loops to ride because there are some incredibly gorgeous areas to see. Plus, it has a great mix of climbs and descents and there’s a nice wide shoulder on the road. At 9am, I didn’t feel like I had been plopped down in the middle of the Indy 500.
I’m off to go meet my coaches to discuss winter training! Should be fun. It will definitely be educational.