24 August 2012


So I finally dragged my feet out this afternoon after work after deciding to sleep in this morning, since everyone else bailed on me...again.-( I decided to run with some tunes this time, which is very much unlike me these days. As it turned out, it was the right thing to do today. I felt sluggish when I took off for my run from Richard´s house, where I had parked my car to get my usual Ranger Station out & back run in. As I was running the first mile, I started to think back to when I tried to push myself on this run and realized that it has been a while. I know James started to doubt the last PR I had posted a few months ago, because we´ve been going much slower these days.

After logging the first mile at a flat 9 minute pace, I decided to go for it. I decided that I wouldn´t check my splits at all until I reached the Ranger Station atop Monte Sano. I was still feeling good when I crossed Fearn Street 3 miles in, but my lungs started to burn and I was starting to look forward to every little piece of flat trail section for a little bit of relief from pushing on the uphills. Just two more short steep climbs and I would reach the top, leaving me another .5 to .75 miles to go to the Ranger Station. Once I caught my breath and drank a sip from my bottle I pushed one final time to the turnaround point. I touched the concrete slab foundation of where the ranger station used to be before it burned down (official turnaround point according to James;-), looked at my watch for the first time to see 44 minutes (not bad at all, but I can remember at all how long it had taken me during my last PR), got some water from the fountain and continued my push back down the mountain.

I wasn´t worried about being able to go fast (well, what I call fast anyway), I was more concerned about my footing. An ankle twist at this stage of my 100 mile training would be devastating to my upcoming goal races. But no matter, I wanted to improve on my last PR. These types of pushes during training runs help me gauge my level of fitness as well as provide some confidence boosters when I´m not doing any real racing.

Other than having to break for a couple of dogs, nothing really prevented me from continuing to push my pace, but fatigue was starting to get the better of me as I was hitting the most technical parts of the Tollgate Trail as I tripped on a couple of rocks here and there, barely able to maintain my balance. I continued on, slowly gaining confidence that I would at least make it back before sunset. Oh yeah, I forgot the second reason for this PR push. I didn´t realize until after I took off on my run shortly after 6pm that the sun would set at 7:25pm. This meant anything short of a PR or close to it could leave me stranded on the trails in complete darkness. Nothing like the thought of getting stuck without a headlamp on some seriously technical trails to get your pace...and heart rate going.

I got back onto the Bankhead Parkway with about 1.5 miles to go. Time to try to pick up the pace again or at least keep it steady. When I arrived at the corner of Lacy and Pratt and hit my watch, it showed 1 hour 21 minutes and 31 seconds, a new PR by over 6 minutes. Wow, that felt great! Now it was time to get back, send my running crew a training update, get some food and liquids into my stomach and go to bed. My alarm was set for 5AM to run the mountain once again with Jason for a nice 16 miler to start off the weekend.

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