Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Training Run Route PR

I started running again 9 years ago.  I ran around a neighborhood walking trail that was 3.2 miles.  That was my normal steady eddy run, 3.2 miles.  I might run more but never less, 3.2 miles was the minimum.  Then I moved to Yorktown, Va.  My house is about 1 mile from the Yorktown National Battlefield.  This is an awesome place to run. 

Well my new steady minimum run is Surrender Field 5 Mile Loop.  It's a little over 5 miles, the Garmin has it at 5.1 miles.  I've never broken 40 minutes on this loop.  I would always go out to fast and crash and burn or would start out too slow and would never be able to make up the time.  I can run faster than 8:00 per mile for 5 miles I just couldn't get things right.  In half marathons I have ran more than five miles at sub 8:00 pace, but there was something about this loop.

It's not flat.  It definetly has some pretty good hills and maybe that's one reason I couldn't break 40 minutes, I don't know.  But something cool happened Monday.

I ran 13 on Sunday.  I was scheduled for 18 but I felt really tired and drained and since I am just base building there wasn't any need to push it.  Monday was a scheduled rest day but the weather was just awesome, low 60's, first warm day of the year.  So after work I got dressed and headed out for an easy 8 miler.  Felt a little slow and stiff at the begining, put started too pick up the pace after the first half mile.  Slow uphill and heard the watch beep at the mile marker, 8:08, wow not bad for a warm up mile. 

Mile 2 is a slight downhill at the beginning and then a long uphill so I started to lengthen my stride and pick up my knees.  I didn't really force the pace I just focused on my stride, long and smooth.  My breathing felt good and I noticed that my heart rate was increasing a little but was definitely under control.  The Garmin beeped and I checked my split, 7:31.  Didn't feel that fast.  But mile 2 has along steady uphill, how did I get a 7:31?  I don't think I've ever run a 7:31 on this stretch without blowing up.  Oh well.

Mile 3 is flat and downhill, no uphill at all.  This should be a fast mile but hey idiot your running 8 today.  Well maybe I'll just skip the three mile French Loop and try to break the All Time Land Speed Record.  I'll just float though the third mile and see what happens.  If I'm below 8 minutes then I'll skip the loop and try to break the record.  Anyway, mile three is usually where I crash so I just focused on holding pace.  Beep, beep, beep, 7:17, Oh Man I've really got a shot here.

Mile 4 is uphill, followed by a flat followed by a uphill followed by a overpass uphill.  Here it is, how good of condition am I really in.  Can I really push the hills and hold onto an 8:00 pace.  I really focused on my form and on my effort.  I knew that I can't hold pace uphills but I needed to hold the effort.  If my heart rate shot up then I wouldn't be able to get it back down and i would crash and burn.  I worked my arms and really focused on the road before me. 7:24, no friggin way, I'm gonna break this sucker today.  Just don't blow up.

Mile 5 is off the overpass and then turns through the woods onto a small stone trail.  The trail has a fairly decent uphill that normally sucks the last bit of life out of me but not today.  No way, I'm too strong.  I'm the man, I've got this.  Out of the woods and out onto Surrender Field.  This is the actual field where the British Surrendered to George Washington and here was where I was gonna break my Record.  The Field is stine flat and after the field there is only a 1/4 of  mile of flat road.  Mike you just gotta hold on.  Keep pushing your arms, lengthen your stride.  Beep, Beep, beep, 7:20.

I can see my car, just push the last 300 yards.  Less than one trip around the track. 220 yards.  You can do this, push it hard. You're not gonna die,  aren't gonna have your heart explode just keep pushing.  Move your arms pick up those knees.  There's the line and I hit the stop button.  I looked at my total time.  38:17 new Record and yes kids Daddy is the Man.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

No Body Ever Said it was Going to be Easy

Work is just awful right now.  My brother and I own a commercial construction company and well there's nothing to do.  I mean no one is building anything.  There are a few jobs out there but they are going for so little money that we would go broke even trying to do the work for those crazy prices.  So what do you do, worry.

How do you change the economy?  How can I make the banks loan more money so that developers will start to build again?   How can I get the state to build more schools when the budget is undefunded by billions?  Answer to all of these questions is that I can't.  So what can I do to effect my own destiny?  Stay positive.

I have a lovely healthy family.  I'm still in my home and we have food on the table every night.  I can be thankful for what I have.  I don't have any major bills or debts other than the mortgage.  I have a supportive extended family and all of the members of that extended family are well.  We have so much more than others in the country and in this world.  We are blessed. 

I can be thankful for having a strong and healthy body and I can do everything that I can to take care of that body.  I can watch what I eat and understand that everything that goes in my mouth effects my entire body.  I can run and swim and bike and they are all free activities.  I can lift at the gym and feel my body getting stronger every day.  I can take my children to the gym and teach them that keeping their bodies strong and healthy is as important as going to school and working their brains.  I can work with my kids on their swimming technique.  I can coach little kid soccer.  I can do all of this for no money other than the monthly gym fees.

I can not want.  I can understand the difference between my needs and my wants.  I can understand that I really don't need anything.  I have enough clothes to last me for years before they actually wear out from use.  The radio is free.   I don't need any new electronics or gadgets.  I need food.  I need shelter.  I need to spend quality time with my family.  I need to spend the day at the public beach with my family next to the house.  I need to take the kids on a hike through the park.  I need to teach my four year old little girl how to kick the soccer ball.  I need to spend a week this summer in the national park backpacking with the boys.  I need to teach the how wonderful the outdoors can be.  I need to enjoy what I have and what God has already provided me.

No body ever said that life was going to be easy.  It's like a really great hard long run,  some parts are smooth and easy, some parts are uphill, some parts really heart and you just want to quit, but when your done, you know you are stronger and better for the work and effort that went into the journey.