Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The good and the bad

The good: A cool preview video of the Richmond Marathon. This really is getting me pumped up!

The bad: I had an easy 12-mile run scheduled today and things really weren't feeling good from the start. I've got a sore hamstring that gets a little worse every day. It's not actually to the level of real pain yet, but I have this sinking feeling that it could be soon. Besides that, I just wasn't feeling right for today's run. The plan was to meet up with the DART group for the usual 6.39-mile run, then run back home the long way, repeating 5 miles of the loop and finishing at my house.

Chad, Chris, Rodney, and Jeff were there, and I knew Chris was going to want to run faster than I would. Fortunately, he ended up running along with Chad and Rodney, and I ran with Jeff, who's an ultrarunner just looking to log some miles. Still, I didn't feel great for the entire run. After we finished the first 6.39, I joined Chad and Jeff for tea. Then Chad and I headed back out again -- Chad was doing 13 more, and I was doing 5 more. About 3 miles in, as we headed down a steep hill on Patrick Johnson Lane, I stumbled over a small swell in the road. I tried to catch my balance, but couldn't, and could feel myself falling, almost in slow motion, face-first towards the pavement.

As I fell, I couldn't help thinking about Washington, the dislocated shoulder, and the pain in my other shoulder, the one I landed on, that still hasn't completely gone away. I consciously tried to avoid landing on any major joints. I ended up with my arms almost in a Superman position, extended in front of my face. The palms of my hands hit the ground first, scraping along for six inches or so until I collapsed onto my left side. I scraped my palms, my left elbow, and somehow, my left buttock was scraped worst of all. But nothing is dislocated, and all my joints appeared to be fully functional.

Chad asked if I was okay, and I was actually okay. Yes, the scrapes stung, but I was going to be fine. In fact, after a couple minutes composing myself, I was able to hop right back to a run with Chad at the same pace we'd been running.

Still, I'm starting to wonder if I have some intractable case of clumsiness. I've never heard of anyone falling as much as I seem to, on pavement. I guess there's not really anything I can do about it other than try to be careful.

Details of today's run are below.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A dilemma

My workout plan calls for me to do three 70-mile weeks over the course of an 18-week schedule. That's my peak mileage on this plan, and it's fairly important for me to do high mileage this time around because I think logging the miles is the best way for me to avoid bonking in the late stages of a marathon.

Here's my dilemma: This week is one of those weeks, but my other running plans are intruding on my opportunity to put in the miles. On Saturday, I'm planning to drive up to the Blue Ridge so I can preview the route of the following week's Blue Ridge Relay. I'm our team captain and I've never done this race before. I don't want to get lost in the middle of the night, so knowing the course is important. I'll be spending the night in Asheville so my Sunday run will have to be there. On Monday I'm leading a preview of Davidson's Run For Green half-marathon. Mondays are normally rest days for me.

Without those interruptions, I'd be running 16.4 miles on Sunday, a fairly tough workout calling for 70 minutes worth of marathon-pace running and 10 minutes worth of tempo running. And don't forget I'm running 23 miles in a challenging relay less than a week later.

So if I were to stick perfectly to my running schedule this week, I'd follow a hard Sunday run with a half-marathon, albeit at a fairly relaxed pace. And I'd have to do my hard run in unfamiliar Asheville.

Alternately, I could just put in a few easy miles in Asheville and count Monday's run as part of my 70-mile week. I'd miss out on a hard workout but I'd still be putting the miles in. Then I could move up next week's hard workout (usually done on Thursdays) to Tuesday, so I'll still be fresh for Friday.

I think this second choice will be the plan. I'll miss one tough workout, but I think the challenging race next week will make up for that.

Details of today's workout are below.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New PR!

I wasn't trying for a PR this morning; it just sort of happened. On the docket was a 6-mile tempo run, at roughly a 7:30 pace. On Wednesdays we normally have a group run, so I was hoping I'd interest someone in running a little faster than usual. But when I showed up at the CVS after a 1.39 mile warm-up run, only Chad and Chas were there, and they were planning a 12-miler. So I'd be heading out by myself.

I took off at what felt like a good pace, but after a quarter-mile or so I noticed I was running at a 6:45 pace, quite a bit faster than my plan. I eased up a bit and finished Mile 1 in 7:13. I felt good, wasn't even breathing hard, so I decided to try to maintain that pace for Mile 2, which has a moderate hill. It was a cool morning, probably cooler than it's been all summer, and it was still dark at 6:15 or so as I headed up the hill. In the distance, I heard someone yell "Dave!" Could it be Chad and Chas? Had they decided to do a tempo after all? I looked up and down the road but didn't see anyone. "Dave!" the voice shouted again. It was definitely behind me, so I turned around and headed back down the hill. Within a few yards I could see Rodney, running up the hill at breakneck speed. Apparently he had seen Chad and Chas running the other direction and they told him he'd have to run fast to catch me. I turned around and started back up the hill with Rodney, who was breathing quite hard. We ended up finishing Mile 2 in 7:31.

Then about a half mile into Mile 3, Rodney said he'd need to stop for a bathroom break. He said he'd try to catch up to me again, but I shouldn't wait on him. So I kept going, finishing the mile in 7:00, and passing Jeff going the other way. Mile 4, with an uphill finish, went by in 7:09. If I could keep this up for uphill Mile 5, I'd have a pretty good run. About halfway through the mile I passed Todd and Dave running the opposite way and they joked that I was going too fast. Mile 5's split was 7:07 -- I was speeding up!

Mile 6 starts with an uphill as well, and I struggled to maintain that same pace, but as I crested the hill I could feel my legs moving faster. Almost home! I finished Mile 6 in 6:55. I wasn't sure how far I had backtracked to meet Rodney but I figured I had less than a half-mile left at this point. I didn't want to go into an all-out sprint but figured I could at least pick up the pace a little. I finished up what turned out to be the final .46 miles at a 6:38 pace.

That's a 7:07 average pace for 6.46 miles, actually faster than my 10K PR pace. I think I could have run the loop even faster because I wasn't going especially hard for the first few miles. I guess all the warm-weather training this summer helped, and now that things are starting to cool off, I'm hopeful that there will be a lot more PRs.

Details of today's run are below:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Race Recap: The Springmaid Splash 10K

The Springmaid Splash is not your typical race. For one thing, it's the shortest race I've ever needed to stop and walk in. For another, it involves four knee-deep river crossings. There are half-mile stretches where the trail is completely covered with mud. At 58:30 for a 9:26 average pace, it's the slowest I've ever completed a 10K race.

But given the challenging trail conditions, I'm quite happy with my performance in the race, and most importantly, I had an absolute blast.

The race is held at the Springmaid Mountain Resort, an idyllic little piece of the Blue Ridge Mountains that seems to move at a slower pace than the world around it. I drove up with a group of runners that included Todd Hartung, Chad Randolph, Chris Alexander, Eric Reiner, Emily Hansen, Sarah Keen, and Marisa Wheeler. Despite the early 5:20 a.m. departure and the two-hour drive, everyone was in great spirits and looking forward to the run.

You have to park a half-mile from the starting line, but there was a great system of buses to take us to the start, where we quickly picked up our race materials and checked our bags. There were only six porta-potties for about 500 runners, but fortunately being a guy it was easy for me to pee in the woods before the race started.

We only had time for a quarter-mile warm-up jog to the starting line, in a big grass field mown to about 6 inches long. While this might seem a bit rough, it was actually pretty much the best running surface we'd have all day. After a blessedly short speech with a warning to stay on the trail, we were off.

I had looked up an elevation profile of the course before the race and I knew about the four river crossings, but other than that I had very little idea of what to expect. Most of the runners were doing a 5K, but we all ran together for the first mile or so, so as you might guess it was fairly crowded. After about a quarter-mile, the grassy field narrowed and we were all running along a single-lane gravel road. Every 50 yards or so, there was a giant mud patch the width of the road, and there was little to do but run straight through the ankle-deep goo. A woman wearing a fairly flimsy-looking pair of sandals twisted her ankle and fell to the ground in front of me. I decided there wasn't much point in stopping for her; there seemed to be plenty of race officials around and we weren't much more than a half-mile from the start.

Then we got to the first river crossing. I've forded rivers during hikes, but never in a race, and I wasn't exactly sure how to approach it. Generally when you're hiking, you take a lot of care not to fall down since you don't want the stuff in your pack to get wet. I decided to take a cue from the other runners, who seemed to just plunge in and high-step across. The water reached to about mid-calf and wasn't cold, but it definitely slowed you down. Several runners passed me, but eventually I made it to the other side and resumed running without incident. The second crossing followed shortly thereafter, and was a bit deeper, nearly knee-high. I made it through and tried to maintain a reasonable pace.

A river crossing from the 2007 race

But what exactly was a reasonable pace? For my first mile, on flat but rough terrain, I managed an 8:06 pace. That's slower than my planned marathon pace and much slower than my 10K PR pace of 7:09 per mile. For mile two, we began to head uphill. At first the hill was quite manageable, but gradually it got steeper. I resisted the urge to walk, and kept going as best as I could. Finally we crested the first hill and started heading down again. But I knew from the elevation profile I had seen that a bigger hill was yet to come. Elevation gain for Mile 2: 226 feet. Pace: 9:23.

In Mile 3, it turned out, there were two major hills, a hundred-footer and the first part of a 300-footer. Both of these hills had stretches steeper than anything in Mile 2, and I slowed to a walk for the steepest stretches. As soon as things leveled out a bit, however, I was able to leap back to a run and despite the 276-foot gain in Mile 3, my pace only slowed to 11:16.

Mile 4 started with the last of the big hill, then plunged steeply downward. The trail was heavily rutted and given the sweat dripping down my glasses, it was hard for me to see in places. I did the best I could, but a couple people passed me on this section, including a woman who seemed to be running insanely fast for these conditions. Mile 4 stats: 142 feet up, 279 feet down, 9:27 pace.

Mile 5 had even more climbing, but also more ferocious downhill sections. The speedy downhill woman actually slipped and fell about 20 yards in front of me, then somehow got back up and kept running. Somewhere in this section, Chris Alexander passed me, but I managed to keep him in my sights. He was running up every hill, while I walked the steepest sections and then ran as soon as things leveled off a bit, and this meant he never got too far ahead of me. Mile 5 stats: 153 feet up, 231 down, 9:28 pace.

Finally, Mile 6. It started with a muddy descent back down towards the river. The footing was terrible, but it was worse if you tried to slow down. I was concerned my feet would slide out from under me, so I just ran as fast as I could. Somehow I made it to the bottom of the hill and the third river crossing. I had passed a few guys (including Chris) in this section, but a couple passed me back during the crossing. On the level section after the crossing, I passed one of the guys again. We reached the final crossing and somehow I managed to make it across without getting passed. I saw a couple runners struggling ahead of me, and I still seemed to have gas in the tank, so I passed them, trying to look as strong as possible as I did. Mile 6 stats: 0 feet up, 122 feet down, 8:19 pace.

The last 0.2 miles ended up being .34 according to my Garmin, but they were on fairly good trails or mown grass. I focused on good form and made sure no one passed me as I strode through the finish line. Todd, Eric, and Sarah had already finished and congratulated me soon after I crossed the line. Chris was only about 30 seconds behind me, and Chad followed shortly after that. Emily followed soon after, and Melissa, who had run the 5K, was already done.

My time was good for 72nd place out of roughly 200 10Kers (the official results haven't been posted yet). Generally I do better relative to the field, but I think the challenging nature of this course scared away less-die-hard runners, so this was a very tough field of runners. As an indication of how tough the field was, Sarah was the only runner in our group to get an age-group award. Great job, Sarah! Here's the whole group of us post-race:

Left to right: Sarah, Marisa, Emily, Chad, Me, Eric, Todd, and Chris
All in all, this race was a lot of fun. The trail was always challenging, but always runnable (or walkable as the case may be). I'd definitely run it again.

GPS plot of the race is below.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Running "naked"

For the past two days I've been in Atlanta, while my GPS watch was back home in Davidson, NC. But I was supposed to run nine-plus miles each day in Atlanta. Oops.

I didn't even have a digital watch to time the runs with, just an analog watch that fortunately had a second hand.

On Wednesday, I had an "easy" 9-mile run on the docket, so I mapped out a course on Gmaps-Pedometer and ran it. But since I didn't know where one mile ended and the next one began, I had to pace myself based on feel. I started the run and took a look at my watch: 7:15 AM. If I ran at my planned 9-minute pace, I should be finished 81 minutes later, at 8:36 AM. As it turned out, I finished at 8:30, which meant that my actual pace was about 8:23 per mile, just a touch faster than planned. Oh well!

Then today I had intervals on the docket: 8 X 1,000 meters at a 6:27/mile pace. A friend pointed out to me that Atlanta's Piedmont Park has a handy website with distances for popular running routes. The "active oval loop" was 0.7 miles, which is 1,126 meters. Close enough for me. A little math convinced me that a 6:27 pace is equal to 4:30 over 0.7 miles. I could time that on my watch, right?

I arrived at the park and saw that the active oval was on roads that had quite a few cars on them. I decided to modify my plan and use the gravel track around the fields, a .52-mile route. Completing this in 3:15 should be the equivalent pace, just for 800 meters rather than 1,000. But halfway through the loop I saw a bigger problem. A television crew was filming a commercial on the far end of the track, and I'd not only be running right through their shot, the crowd of extras and crew was so vast that running was impossible. Amazingly, I finished this first loop in 3:15 anyways, but I decided to move back to the street for the remaining 7 intervals.

As it turned out, all the vehicles belonged to the TV crew, and they were being quite courteous to all the joggers/bikers/dog-walkers in the park. I ran the first interval pretty hard but based on my analog watch's second hand, I was still too slow: 4:50. Maybe the website was off on the length of the loop? Or maybe I was just slow.

Somehow I did manage to improve my time over the succeeding intervals. I don't remember each time, but I know I gradually got better, with times ranging from 4:45 to 4:37. For the last interval, I gave it an extra push and finished at 4:29. Of course, I was completely exhausted and drenched with sweat. Then I went back to my hotel room and painstakingly traced the route on Gmaps Pedometer. Ha! It wasn't .70 miles, it was .7185 miles.

That means my paces were as follows:

4:50 -- 6:43/mile
4:45 -- 6:36/mile
4:37 -- 6:25/mile
4:29 -- 6:14/mile

Since most of the intervals were in that 4:45 to 4:37 range, I was actually right on target. Not bad!

I definitely felt a little bit like I was naked without my GPS trainer for the run, but I'm pleased that I managed to adapt. I've actually had the trainer for less than a year, so it was really just a matter of jogging my memory of how I was doing things before. The GPS is a convenience, but if you don't have it, it doesn't mean you can't train effectively.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The jet lag run

Yesterday, Sunday, I was scheduled to run 14.5 miles. I was also scheduled to be on an airplane or sitting around in an airport all day, starting at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night Hawaii time and continuing until 5:40 p.m. Sunday evening Eastern time (a six-hour difference; it was "just" 11:40 a.m. Hawaii time).

So I decided to put the run off until this morning. Chad said he'd join me, even after I told him that 9 of those 14.5 miles would be at my projected marathon pace of 7:50 per mile. What I didn't tell him is that an additional 10 minutes, or roughly a mile and a half, would be at tempo pace, 7:00 per mile. The plan was to run a two mile warm-up, then marathon pace (MP) for 40, 20, and 10 minutes, with 5-minute tempo-pace runs between each MP stretch, and a two-mile cool-down.

The first seven miles were uneventful, though we were both breathing fairly hard towards the end of the first MP stretch. Splits for those miles were 8:56, 8:50, 7:43, 7:43, 7:44, 7:44, 7:38. Near the beginning of Mile 7, we passed a park that we both hadn't seen before, and we agreed that we'd turn around at the end of the Mile 7, then do our 5-minute tempo and stop at the park to check it out.

When we got to the 7 mile turnaround, I noticed that we could see a greenway from the road and figured it must be part of the park, so I charged onto the trail at tempo pace and Chad followed behind, probably figuring I was crazy. But the trail petered out after a quarter-mile or so, and we jumped back out onto the road. I started up the road the wrong way and Chad had to turn me around. By the time I was headed the right direction I looked down at my GPS and saw a 9:45 average pace. Oops! We were only a couple minutes into the tempo, so I hoped we'd be able to make up some of the time, but a 7:00 pace for 5 minutes now seemed impossible. By the end of five minutes we'd managed to improve the pace to 7:19, which wasn't bad considering we'd nearly gotten lost and all.

We walked for a minute or two to catch our breath, then started on the next MP stretch. This was definitely more of a struggle. Chad suggested we run through Jetton Park (since we knew it was a one-mile loop) and stop at the bathrooms/water fountain for our break after the tempo phase. That sounded good to me. But after 20 minutes at MP (7:44, 7:46, 7:40), we were a little too close to the bathrooms to get a full 5-minute tempo run. Game-time decision, just stop at the bathroom anyways. I managed a 6:53 pace for 3:17, or just under a half a mile.

Now all that was left was a 10-minute MP stretch. We ran the first mile at 7:55 pace, a little slow, but that also meant there were just two minutes to go. Somehow I ended up running that little stretch at a 7:19 pace. We slowed to a 9-minute pace and headed home, 3 miles away. For me, this was the hardest part of the run, and having Chad there really helped get me through it. Our "easy" cool down was 9:13, 8:56, 8:46, and I'm sure I would have stopped to walk for a bit if Chad hadn't been there. We finished up at the CVS, where I bought a liter of Gatorade and guzzled it down. Normally I don't care much for Gatorade but today it felt like the most refreshing treat I've had in a long time.

Details of today's run are below:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The last run in Hawaii

Not much to report. Beautiful, sunny weather, about 72 degrees. Mauna Kea fully visible in the distance. Waves crashing in on lovely lava-rock beaches. 10.8 miles, 8:36 pace. Tonight I fly back to the mainland and its soul-crushing heat and humidity.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hill work

Today was supposed to be a relatively easy day -- 8 miles or so, at a 9:00 pace. As it turned out, from that perspective I didn't do very well: I ran just 5.29 miles at an average pace of 11:08 per mile.

I'm staying at a place called "Cliff House" on the island of Hawaii, almost 1,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. We're next to the Waipio Valley, and we can see 1,500-foot cliffs on the other side of the valley, looming over the Pacific. I took a look at the Google Map of the road we're on and noticed that it continues about a mile and a half to the town of Waipio, so I decided to run in that direction first to see what the end of the road looked like, and then to finish the run by backtracking and running along the highway we arrived on, which is basically a flat road running along the top of the cliffs on this side.

After about 200 meters, I realized that this was not going to be an ordinary run. Large signs warned that the road was "4WD ONLY! No AWD!" I headed down the hill and encountered at "25% grade" sign. That's pretty steep. The road wound down the side of a cliff, and soon I had stunning views of the valley below. I could see that my route back was going to be a little tougher than I bargained for. Okay, a lot tougher. I didn't have a camera with me, but later in the day I convinced my traveling companions to walk down the road, and here's a photo Pat took:

Yeah, that's kind of steep!

It was steep enough that I couldn't really run down it; what I did was more like skip down the hill, landing lightly on one foot and then heavily on the other. The road ran on and on, much farther than I thought it should. Even on this "easy" downhill section, all I managed for Mile 1 was a 12:11 pace.

Finally I arrived at the bottom of the hill and continued on for about a half mile on a flat but rough road. I looked up for a minute and was rewarded with the site of what I later learned was a 1,200-foot waterfall. Again, the photo is courtesy of Pat:

Yep, totally worth it!

I got to run along below the falls for a quarter-mile or so, but eventually the road ran across a river, with a ford that looked to be at least 18 inches deep. Given that I'd soon be running back up that very steep hill, I decided to avoid getting my feet wet and turned around.

Before I knew it, I was at the base of the hill. My pace for Mile 2 had been 10:23, still slower than the ideal, but given the rough road and the distraction of the fantastic view, not terrible. I started up the hill at a 14:00 pace. Amazingly, a cyclist was ahead of me. Would he make it up the entire hill? Nope, he stopped about 200 yards in, and soon a pickup truck came by and drove him the rest of the way. I kept running. This photo, again courtesy of Pat, gives you some sense of what it was like going up:

Actually it felt a LOT steeper than this

I passed two hikers who were on the way down, and they seemed impressed that I was attempting to run up this hill. Meanwhile, I was gasping for breath. Finally, after 5 minutes of climbing, I took a walk-break. I gave myself a minute, then launched back into a run. After another 4 minutes, I was back to walking, this time for two minutes. I took off running again, and just a minute and a half later, I was at the top. I was glad to have made it, but disappointed that I had taken the second break so close to the top.   Still, I took another walk-break at the top. My average pace for Mile 3: 15:25, including the walk-breaks. Back on level (or nearly-level) ground, I decided this run was tough enough that I didn't need to do the full 8 miles. I cut things off at Mile 5.29 after running at a 9:05 and 9:14 pace for miles 4 and 5.

Now that I've actually run this hill, I think tomorrow I'm going to give it another shot. The goal: Run the entire 850 vertical feet without a walk-break. I'll let you know if I make it. I'll leave you with one more image: The elevation profile of today's run.

Mile 4-5 would ordinarily be a fairly major hill!

Oh, all right, here's one more image:

The guts of the run, from above

I started at the green marker, then proceeded to the left -- I think the hill is fairly obvious. That's quite a run! Details of today's run are below.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Could it be...the best run, ever?

The day started with a jolt: My phone beeping to announce an incoming text message at 5:45 a.m. Naturally it was spam. But now I was up, and I needed to get 10 miles in, so I put on shorts and a shirt, grabbed a granola bar, and headed outside to the deck to put on my shoes. It was raining.

But when you're in a tropical rainforest in Hawaii at an elevation of 4,000 feet, these things don't bother you much. The forest was alive with the sounds of chirping birds, and the tree ferns swayed in a gentle breeze. One of the most surreal things about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the fact that it's actually in a rainforest. You see pictures of barren, desolate landscapes and you forget that it's on a tropical island.

I took off running into the misty morning, pulling my hat brim low to try to keep the cool droplets from fogging my glasses. I needed to keep up a 9-minute pace, which I expected wouldn't be too difficult, even at this altitude. I was still a bit sore from hiking the day before, though, and the first couple miles were a struggle. We were staying about two miles from the park entrance, and this part of the run was along a fairly major highway. Fortunately it was still early, so the cars that whizzed by perilously close were it least separated by a couple minutes.

Finally I reached the park, and hopped onto the crater rim trail. The fog was beginning to lift, and within a few minutes I was transported to a completely different landscape. There were still a few tree ferns to my right, but to the left might as well have been the Grand Canyon.

In the distance I could see the active crater, sort of a sub-crater of the main Kilauea volcano. Steam poured out at a prodigious rate. Then I rounded the corner and the shield of Mauna Loa came into full view, rising more than a mile above me and two and a half miles above sea level.

Was that a rainbow? It was, and it stretched from Mauna Loa right into the active crater. Simply gorgeous.

A fellow runner passed going the opposite direction. I resisted the urge to tell him to turn around and experience the sight I was seeing.

I ran towards the rainbow for nearly a mile, until it gradually faded from view. I reached the halfway point of my run just at the point where the trail was closed, the Jagger Museum. Past that point, the trail passed through the steam plume of the crater, with its deadly sulfur dioxide emissions.

I turned around and headed home into a brisk wind. The sun was just coming into view over the bank of clouds that hovered above the rainforest. The crater still extended off to my right. After another mile or so, I heard the honking of geese, and looked up. Perhaps 15 feet over my head soared two endangered Nene geese, the endangered state bird of Hawaii. I had been looking for nenes for the past week, but this was the first time I had actually managed to see them. They were beautiful birds, and I literally pumped my fist in excitement.

After they flew out of sight, I turned around and saw the rainbow again come into view over the crater.

In a few minutes, the runner I had seen before passed me going the opposite direction. He smiled and we exchanged knowing glances, confident that few others would ever see what we had seen that morning.

I couldn't stop smiling as I ran back to the rental cottage to get ready for the rest of my day.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Running in paradise

I've arrived in Hawaii, and for the first week I'm staying here on the "Garden Isle" of Kauai. We're staying in a condo on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and a warm tropical breeze permeates the air wherever we go.

But I didn't want to let my training lag while we vacationed, so I brought half a suitcase worth of running gear, and yesterday I went out for a 15-mile run. At 6:00 a.m. it's about 75 degrees here, so it's quite a bit cooler than most mornings back home this time of year. The dew point is in the mid-60s instead of the mid-70s, and the breeze makes it even more pleasant. And it doesn't hurt to be running along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. I'm hoping this means I won't have to slow down much from my target pace to accommodate the heat.

Still a bit dark, but a beautiful morning in paradise
The plan yesterday was to run 2 easy miles, then 2 at tempo pace (7:00 miles), then 7 easy, then 2 tempo, and 2 easy, for a total of 15. "Easy" is supposed to be 9-minute miles, so I took off at that pace from our condo and headed west along the shore. I was surprised about 5 minutes in to see a family of wild (probably feral) chickens. And then another, and another, and another. Between the chickens and the dead frogs on the road (I like to call them "toad kill") I was getting a bit more nature than I bargained for. But the views were spectacular, and the miles were cruising by. I could still feel the heat, and so I didn't want to push too hard for my first tempo run, so I did these miles at 7:23 and 7:20. Four miles in, I arrived at spouting horn. I stopped for a minute to watch it blow, then headed back towards home. By the time I arrived back at the condo, my shirt was soaked through with sweat. I'd run 8 miles, and I was getting a bit tired. I refilled my water and ate a cookie to get a little carbs, left my shirt and headed back our for 7 more.

I could keep up the 9-minute pace quite easily but I wasn't sure I was going to be able to pick up the pace at all for the second tempo run. When the time came to speed up, all I could muster for the first mile was an 8:00 pace. I did slightly better for the second mile, 7:49. Then I eased back to 9-minute miles, and finally had to walk a bit between my two cool-down miles, before finally bringing it back home.

The details of today's run are below: