This weekend has been a whirlwind of outside activities… and I loved every moment of it. Let’s start with yesterday… I had somewhere to be around 10:45 yesterday morning so I knew that if I wanted to get a long run in that it would have to be fairly early. So, I got up, did my pre-run thing of oatmeal with soymilk and a gallon of coffee and headed up to the parkway to get in a quality 12 miles.
Since it was supposed to be so warm yesterday the trail was PACKED with runners, bikers, walkers, people who live in a van down by the river, etc. My goal for thr run was to run slightly faster than easy pace but slower than marathon pace for 12 miles and to not stop except for water half way. And, not complain in my head once. And, I did it! My splits were all within 2 seconds of each other (except for uh, the first one that was 30 seconds faster… oops) and although the last 2 miles were kind of a struggle because I just got so hot overall I felt good. I think I was out there something like 1:35.
Today I had the pleasure of pacing my friend E through her first 10k at a local race literally down the street. It was waaaaaay fun! She didn’t walk once and although about mile 5 she said “I feel tired” we actually negative split the run and finished with a 10:30 pace. Not too shabby for a brand new 10k! Plus, my schedule had me for 60 mins easy today and that definitely qualifies! I think she caught “the bug” and I’m looking forward to her racing more in the future.
It was really a privilege to experience her first longer race and encourage her the whole time. Somewhere in the last couple of months I quit having fun running. I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself to hit splits and goal times and heart rate zones and place in my age group and make huge improvements that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to just run becaue I love it and to take part of a race with just you and a few thousand of your closest friends. As I was running today with my friend I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude to just be out there– to have a body that can take the mileage, to have the time to train and to have friends who want me to experience their first run with them. Although I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world and all my races have been a blast (well, most…) I miss that sense of wonder I had when I first started running where I was hitting new distance PRs and pushing myself beyond limits that I thought existed. It was fabulous to run with no chip, no garmin (ok I wore a watch, but I didn’t really pay attention to it) and no pressure and just enjoy the park, the people and the event. I’m going to try and remember that feeling the next time I have a race and to really take the time to appreciate the experience. I mean, what is the point if I’m not enjoying myself???
Then, because the weather is so gorgeous and because I can’t sit still, I decided to take my road bike out for a spin on the parkway. I rode 30 miles (average about 17 mph, not bad for no consistent riding for a year!!) up to Folsom and back. It. Was. Gorgeous. The birds were singing, the people were laughing and it felt so good to get outside and play. So, I played! It sounds so cheesy, but the “OC” theme song by Phantom Planet called, “California” came on and I felt a little bit like I was in a movie… I only intended on riding about 20 miles but I felt so good, it was so beautiful and I was enjoying myself so much that I extended my ride a little bit.The biproduct of all of this playing is a vicious sports-bra and shorts tan… and a little bit of sunburn. But a slight sunburn is one of my favorite feelings in the whole world. Below are a couple of junky photos I snapped with my phone at my turnaround point. This is one of my favorite parts of the trail– shady, good red dirt and some fun bridges. The junky photos don’t do it justice, but trust me, it’s great!