Jessica said “i want to read more blogs from you, so please get bloggin’.” Uh oh, now I feel the pressure…. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I vowed to “build up a little endurance by actually doing the â€œlong runsâ€ that Gilbert asks us to do on the weekends”, so here’s an update on those. I don’t know why I’ve put off blogging about them, but as I tell Jessica, “I’ve got nothing to say.” Moving on….
Three Saturdays ago I had to do my “long run” (can I stop quoting that phrase now if we all agree that 7 miles is not “long”? …. oops, there I go again) at 3 in the afternoon. Ok, I had intended to run 7, ended up doing 6.2 or so, but I believe the high temperature that day … wait, yes, I just checked the weather.com archive … was eleventy billion degrees, a little less than the record set in 1972. Why would I run at such a devilish hour? Oh, you asked that question too? I asked that of myself as I slogged along that day, seriously contemplating giving up on this whole “running” thing (man, I really like this “quotation” device). Well, the specifics of that day are lost in a dehydration-induced delerium, but I’m pretty sure the reason I couldn’t run in the morning (and could only run at 3pm) had to do with a child’s birthday party, a soccer/t-ball game, a trip to Target, or all three.
Anyway, like I said, the specifics of that run are nearly all lost to me now, but I do remember Jessica drove me down to the TLT and I started the run, heading East, at the Austin High track, right where that concrete ditch (what’s that called?) lets out into Town Lake. I encountered a couple of other psychotics….er, runners in the first couple miles or so, but between First Street and I-35 and back to First Street, I didn’t see a single other human outside, and certainly not running. One particular Venus-like stretch was heading west down Riverside, what with the asphalt and lack of shade, it was utterly brutal and my pace slowed to a faux-run/shuffling walk. I remember thinking at that point, “you know, I’m not sweating. That can’t be good.” At the mile zero water stations I stopped and cooled off in the shower, and I never stop in the middle of a long run, it’s just so hard to get going again. But get going again I did, and I completed the roughly 10K in about 51 minutes I think, somewhere in the neighborhood of an 8:20 pace (can someone do the math for me?). I finished at the Rock and I remember trying to do some strides, to stretch, to do some crunches, and finally just lying there trying to stay conscious and not hurl. All in all, a fabulous run.
[Author’s aside]Boy, these blogs just really get out of hand if I don’t watch it. This was meant to be quick summary of past runs.[/Author’s aside]
The following Saturday I was to run in the morning (hooray!) with fellow Gazelles Pat and Andre, though Pat and I somehow missed Andre. Again, the plan was for a 7 mile jaunt on the TLT, though we were going to do the dam loop (which Pat told me was 7.2 or thereabouts). We did a very leisurely pace, and in contrast to the previous week, the skies were overcast and ominous from the start. Running across the dam, we looked back west and I said, “whoa, it’s really getting dark.” Then, once we turned east the wind started picking up and blowing right in our faces and the rain started falling. At one point it felt like it was coming sideways straight into us, and maybe it was. It turned into quite a downpour, and for awhile we tried to steeplechase the puddles that formed in the trail, but after 10 minutes we were both so soaked it didn’t matter. Pat said his socks weighed 6lbs each and I took off my shirt because it felt like a waterlogged beaver. Pat suggested we cut it short at First Street (rather than complete the loop to the pedestrian bridge), and so that’s what we did. Pat emailed later that we “ran about 6.5 (1st to the dam) at a much pokier 8:36 8:40 8:34 8:44 8:29 8:17 and 3:58.” So there you have it.
Finally, this weekend. Jessica was going to do the Saturday morning run (leaving me with the boys), but at about 6:45 she said she didn’t feel well so I decided to go. I was going to do the Scenic Loop from the Rock, but driving up Mopac I again noticed how dark the clouds were in the west. I thought I would never beat the coming rain, but if I did the dam loop again, I might avoid it. So I went down to Runtex and caught Andre about to start his run. I hitched a ride on his express train, but again the rain caught me somewhere between the dam and I35 as we headed west. It wasn’t quite as torrential as the week before but it was no light rain either. I kept missing the mile markers for some reason so my times are all screwy, but I think I did 8.52, 8.37, 8.37, 7.54, 7.53, 7.44, 9.15. Those are rough times, and the last split was actually 1.2 miles or so I think. Andre shut it down just after the pedestrian bridge but I brought it home in the last half mile pretty hard. We didn’t stick around for strecthing in the rain.
Whew. Well, there you have it. So far I’ve kept my vow of doing the long Saturday runs. Let’s hope it continues.