After arriving home from Florida just before midnight last night, getting up at 4:30AM this morning to meet the guys for a great hill workout up the Monte Sano mountain trails wasn't easy at all. In fact, I sent Rich a tezt right after my alarm went off just to make sure no one had changed their minds. Nope, everyone was still ready to go, so I got up, fixed myself the obligatory cup of coffee, got dressed and took off for Richard's house, were I met him and James at 5:15AM.
We left pretty much right away and I was feeling a little stiff. Richard and James however started pivking up the pace early. I figured I'd jsut hang on until I couldnt hang on anymore. I was just hoping to losen up my muscles and joints a bit. My running had been sporadic at best over the last two weeks. Aparentely, that might have been a good thing. I actually started to feel better as we started climbing up Tollgate Trail. I was feeling so goo in fact that I left Richard and James behind as they slowed to a walk for a very brief period to recover. I actually started to pivk up the pace even more and as I continued to climb and my heartrate stayd somewhat steady, I felt like I could clock a new running group PR by getting to the now burned down Ranger Station at Monte Sano State Park. All I had to do is cover the 5 half of the run (5 miles uphill) in less than 55 minutes. My biggest concern was getting lost after I completed the last steep climb about a mile from the Ranger Station. I decided to trust my instincts and push just a little a harder to see what happens.
As I am approaching the pavillion at the Ranger Station I take a look at my watch, 49 minutes, 40 seconds. I take off for a final sprint to tag the water fountain (our unofficial halfway mark/finish line) in 49 minutes and 59 seconds. Happy as can be I decided to take a break and wait for the other guys. They arrived shortly after (6 minutes later, but who's counting, right;-) and we turned around to enjoy the second half of the run back to Five Points. Since we decided to stay somewhat together on the way doen, I ended up with even splits for the first and second half of the run., which is quite odd, considering the second half is all downhill. Anyway, it was a perfect morning for a run, low 60s, fresh legs, and the desire to start working out on the train and on the mountain again.