Sunday, August 24, 2008

Running on Empty

Pushup Challenge : Week 6 Day 1
Plan :
56, 45, 42, 40, at least 56
Actual : 56, 45, 42, 40, 56

Round Rock Fit kicked off again yesterday and I was up at Old Settlers' Park bright and early to help get everything organized. It was good to see some old friends but there were also a lot of new faces. We had registration, a lecture and a time trial to determine which pace group folks would drop into. Part of my job was to take the groups out, so I ended up running the 3 mile loop several times. The first time I went out with some fast guys, stopped at the turnaround and handed out water to the other runners before doing sweep behind the group. The last run was my favorite - there were about 8 people in this group and they were all around the same pace (roughly 10 minute mile). We chatted the whole way out, and then I waited at the turnaround for one girl who had dropped slightly off the pace and ran back with her. I could tell she was struggling so I kept up the conversation to keep her mind off running. We nattered away about everything and nothing for the whole 1.5 miles back and before she knew it we were done. She thanked me for getting her round and said she'd enjoyed running with me. I told her to stick with it because it would only get easier from here on. This is why I like doing this coaching lark - it is very rewarding to help people through these initial humps, and then see them a few months later running 10 miles.

This morning I got up (way too) early to run Ken's loop and was amazed to see a fast flowing river where not a few weeks ago there was a dry riverbed. I guess we've had more rain than I thought. I had a reasonably good run but my "nemesis" hill had its revenge on me. I was determined to really drill it so I pretty much sprinted up the damn thing. By the time I got to the top my legs had turned to rubber and didn't recover for the rest of the run. I suddenly realized I still had a 7 mile road run to do before going home. Whoops - not the smartest move.

So I drove downtown to meet up with some of the boys from work. There were 5 of us, three of whom were doing a 5k distance and James and myself who were doing 7 miles. We all ran together for the first mile or so before I directed the 5k guys to their cutoff and we carried on Northward. James is another British guy and a really fast runner. We were going at a fairly steady 8 minute mile pace when I realized that the tank was dry - I tried to push into the extra gear only to discover there wasn't one. That isn't a nice feeling and hasn't happened to me that often. My pace kept dropping off and we ended up walking the last portion of the run. Oh well, I guess these things happen. I'm thinking it was a combination of my earlier trail run, some hangover from last week's 50 miler and the high humidity. I've also been feeling crappy and lethargic all week which didn't help. By the time I got home, the only thing I wanted to do was go lie down in the shower. So I did.

This afternoon I had to really force myself to do the pushup challenge. Into the final week and my arms are feeling it. I did 239 pushups today. They were hard (especially the last set) but I am starting to believe I can do the 100.

So here's the big question. Now that my training season has officially started, will I have the motivation to get up at 4am tomorrow morning and run 6 miles? Bets are on.

Finally, commiserations to Carl - the only other Welsh guy I know in Austin. His second attempt at completing a hundred miler ended this morning at Cascade Crest due to vandalism on the course which sent him the wrong way and out of the race somewhere after the 50 mile mark. Apparently he also had an encounter with a mountain lion!!! I bet he'll have some stories to tell though.

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