Sunday, October 3, 2010

23 Enigma

I don't know about the irony of the 23 enigma, but yesterday I ran 23 miles and this morning Gavin and I went to the grocery store and between us we managed to drop an egg (it broke all over the floor), a glass jar of baby food (it shattered) and knock over a display of lunch meat (who the hell puts up a display of lunch meat anyway!!!!).

It's now Sunday night and Gavin is in bed after fighting with me most of the weekend over school work, Dylan is screaming his head off in his crib (a seemingly new phase), my father-in-law has gone to bed mad at us for some unknown reason, and the dog has been outside howling non-stop for the last half hour.

Yeah, it's kinda like that.

But on the other hand, we did get to sit outside and enjoy the most wonderful afternoon, I made a yummy supper of ricotta and spinach stuffed pasta shells, successfully baked a tricky loaf of wholewheat and walnut bread (on the first attempt, no less), and am sitting here sipping my favorite pumpkin ale.

And you really can't be anything but happy on nights like this. Austin is such a wonderful city in the fall - cool mornings, blood red sunrises, warm days and evenings spent with the windows open. I'm just savoring my favorite time of year and enjoying the moment.

And in such surroundings, my running really comes into its own.

Like I said, Saturday was a 23 miler - the number where everything converges, and also the last really long run before the Frankenthon marathon. Clea and I set off at an unusually chilly usual 5am, the 6-7 miles into downtown flew by and before we knew it we were picking up Steve, Meghan and Frank at the rock - we would run with them for the next 12 or so miles.

I quickly fell in with Frank and we started to open it up. We ran up Scenic, took a left on Jackson and headed all the way up to Far West via Bull Creek, Hancock and Balcones before hopping over to the wonderfully leafy Shoal Creek and heading back down South. We got into a great rhythm, and our splits from mile 13 thru 17 were super consistent - 7:58, 7:57, 7:58, 7:58, 7:59.

And I felt like I was coasting. Gotta love that.

We said goodbye to the 3 amigos at 38th, and Clea and I headed left toward Duval to start our Northbound journey. It seemed like we were a long way from home, but I'd mapped this route out beforehand and knew we were right on track.

And as soon as we turned on Duval it began to feel like we were on the home stretch.

We both commented on what a great run this was, and when we hit 51st we opened it up again, running 8:00-8:10 pace from mile 20 thru 23.

It's such a confidence boost to finish a key run so strongly, and we were both elated. We've both overcome obstacles in the last few months to get to this point, and it's very gratifying to see the hard work start to pay off. For me, it's funny to think back on all the hot and humid runs I did this summer (not that long ago), struggling at 11 or 12 miles, my heart not in it.

Of course, the heat (and other factors) played a big part in that, but I think I've also built myself up to peak at just the right time.

I'm also running at the lightest weight I've been in 3 years (145lbs), yet it hasn't taken the edge off my endurance. I credit that to all the cross training I've been doing with the Inside Out series - nice job Bob Harper!!!

This morning we did an 8 mile Danish as a recovery run. I had considered getting up early and doing a double loop, but in the ongoing battle between bed and run, this morning bed won.

I'll call it my reward for a run well done yesterday!!!

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