Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Picking up the Pace

Although the temperatures haven’t really changed - still 90 (32 c) at 5:00 AM – I definitely had more of a spring in my step this morning. I had so much fun on the 8 mile route I took yesterday, that I did it again this morning. I did manage to get my sorry butt out of bed a little earlier this morning and found myself on the road before 5:00 AM; not much before 5 AM grant you, but still, my feet were smacking asphalt before most people’s alarms had gone off.

I motored through the first mile as the eastern sky was just starting to brighten. By the time I got myself turned around on my loop and heading east, most of the street lights had clicked off. I love the traffic level at this time of the morning; especially after I get off one of the major “mile” streets and onto a ½ mile feeder street.

Quick description of Phoenix streets – Phoenix must have been designed by an anal retentive engineer. Nearly all streets run North – South or East – West. The major streets, both North-South and East-West are laid out on a one mile grid. Feed Streets are located 1/2 mile between the major streets. This rule does vary around the large hills in town, but, for the most part, one major street every mile in every direction.

By the time I got to mile 3 I felt as if the pace was picking. Mile 4 went by very strong, and mile 5 felt good up until the point where I hit the last hill near my house. Running up the hill felt much harder this morning than yesterday with me huffing and puffing all the way up. I stopped by the house for a quick drink from my thermos and dropped the dog off. He didn’t want to go inside this morning. I suppose he was wise to the fact that I was about to leave him for another 30 minutes or so. He hates getting left behind, but he won’t drink water when he is excited to run and a big black dog running in 90 degree heat for over an hour can’t be healthy.

Mile 6. I can sum up mile 6 in one word: stiff. I felt as if someone had draped sandbags around my waist. The legs just wouldn’t move. By the time I got to mile 7 the tiredness had left again and I was set up for mile 8. I purposefully set up this course such that the last mile is a straight shot down one of the major streets in north Phoenix. Although the cars are constantly whizzing by, I just focused on the arrow straight bike line heading to the “finish line” one mile away. Actually, I can’t see the end point since it is on the other side of a small hill, but my imagination always sees it. There is nothing like the feeling of running through the first ½ mile, then powering up the hill, followed by a quick sprint down the other side of the hill to the end at the 8 mile mark. Although I don’t actually hear my Garmin beeping at most of the mile marks (too much traffic), I always hear the beep at the end of the last mile. It signals me to pull up and start walking my cool down. I completed last mile in 8:22 whereas the total average for this morning was 9:04/mi.

All in all, a great morning. I hope your day also goes as well.

Training for the week:

Mon: X-train (40 minutes on a recumbent stationary bike)
Tue: 8 miles, easy, 9:22/m pace
Wed: 8 miles, easy, 9:04 m pace


StumbleGuy said...

This makes me wonder how much sleep you survive on each day. You either miss all the good late night telly, or you're one of those people who find 4 or 5 hours is enough.

I know someone who just sleeps 2am to 6am, which gives him a day of wake time each week over me!

Mind you, I like sleeping.

Great to read of your chewing up the miles.


D said...

Your making me feel like such a loser for avoiding the heat and running on the treadmill. If I got my butt out of bed at 5am to run I could at least enjoy high 80s weather! Nice job!

Thomas said...

I always avoid stopping for more than a few seconds whenever I run. If I can't avoid it, I invariably feel very stiff for the next mile. For that reason I never go back into my house, even when running loops, but instead leave a water bottle at the end of my driveway and pick it up without having to stop.