Sunday, March 14, 2010

A gloomy day makes for great running

Gloomy but rain-free morning
Despite losing an hour due to daylight savings time this morning I was happy to wake up to an overcast but rain-free sky. Even though I maintained a better than average pace during yesterday's run on the treadmill I was largely unsatisfied with the distance. I felt like I'd worked too hard to cover 2.8 miles even considering that I'd done another 1.2 miles on the elliptical prior to my run. As I ran yesterday I thought about Dean Karnazes who supposedly ran 211 miles on a treadmill within 48 hours. Acknowledging that Karnazes' fitness is at a level that allows this, I still cannot imagine how he handled the tedium of running for two full days without going anywhere. Karnazes claims that he sleeps while he runs during ultramarathons but running on a trail or on straight empty roads is different than running on a treadmill where any stumble can result in hitting the ground (or the tread belt) at speeds of over 6 MPH. I've said it before, treadmills scare me.

The conditions at 7:30 AM this morning were near perfect for a run. The temperature was just shy of 40 degrees and the strong winds from last night had calmed to a steady breeze. The air was humid which caused an odd combination of chill and warmth when I ran directly into the wind. Many times during my run my glasses fogged but it was never so bad that I needed to clean them off to see. I did not give a thought to my pace though I knew I was running slow. When I reached the 34 minute mark I thought about the way I felt on Sunday when I reached the same point during the race. It was a very different feeling running on level and stable ground with no pressure to reach the finish line. By then I knew I could maintain my easy pace for a long time so I decided go for 50 minutes and ended up covering 5.3 miles at around 9:35 per mile. At that pace I felt I could have run another five miles without a problem but I had told my wife I was going out for 45-50 minutes and I didn't want her to worry.

On days like this I sometimes think about my readiness to run a half marathon and I'm sure I could complete one with some more focused training. In the meantime I'm considering running the 10K in this year's Long Island Festival of Races and doing the full 5 mile Stillwell XTERRA in June. All in good time, today I was happy the rain held off long enough for me to finish five+ miles feeling strong and fit.

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