This week I feel like a runner again. I got out there and logged five decent runs. Staying consistent and running on a daily basis is making me happier each day. Some runs I take in the views of trees, trails, sky and all. Other moments I take in the smell of fresh pine, a log fire or whatever floats along. In other times, it is spotting deer and giving a friendly game of chase. All the reasons that I run are returning to me and now I see again what I was missing out on for the last several months by allowing feeble excuses in keeping me from my daily runs.
Another part of it is that I switched to a basic Timex Ironman watch. Since I use a few common routes I know where the splits are and can use the watch to track those splits. Several things are nice about taking a break from the Garmin 310XT. First, the weight of it becomes a bit annoying. Second, I no longer worry about having to charge it constantly. Finally, the best part for me is that instead of worrying each mile about my pace; I run on feel and check it at the end of each mile. Not surprisingly, I am able to hold a tempo run, step up my progressive run and let loose on the track 400m. Yesterday I hit the track looking to land 4 x 70 second laps. Running the effort I thought was needed I landed close with 74, 77, 78 & 80. Tonight on my progressive run I picked up every mile by 10 seconds for all seven miles. I pick up a bit of excitement after reviewing each split knowing that I was close and have more energy to give. I am sure throughout the split it varies, but my overall split is what I looking to achieve. Not a bad $30 investment!
Another thing is that my coach aka 11 year old daughter Mia (who by way is no easier than any Big Ten/Pac Ten cross country coach) told me she is ready to ride her bike this summer while pacing me on long runs. The previous year she logged well over 100 miles. Now she said she is ready to log more this summer. The first run with her was brutal. The first several miles all she did was complain that I was barely moving. Nothing like having a child ridicule you over your eight minute per mile pace for 15 miles. She is also very instrumental for track workouts. Yesterday she blew the whistle for me at three specific times during each lap for me to gauge whether I was ahead of pace or behind. After finishing the first lap I asked her what the time was and she said, "74 seconds, but you barely looked like you were running the last 100m you really need to get your feet moving!" Knowing her I was thinking "thanks coach can't wait to do the next three and see what feedback I get from those."
All in all, this month is shaping up and my excitement is really building for Leadville and all the training runs that are involved in preparing myself for that race. Reading all the ultra running community blogs can really make you look deep inside and remember all the good things about running; especially trail running. Every year since I started running in 2005 has been better than the last. And each year I can't believe it can get any better. Keeping that child-like joy in running is my fuel and right now my tank is full. Time to hit the playground!!