Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

No, fo’ real — I told you¬†something weird was going on. I didn’t want to stop for a rest day yesterday. Loving the love of running, but my gosh, I hardly recognize myself anymore! (And that’s a loaded statement in and of itself)

Even though I’m pretty sure yesterday would have provided the most spectacular summer running weather of all time (it was low 50’s and clear at 5:15 AM), I stayed in bed and got an extra couple of hours of fitful sleep and gave my legs a day off. Luckily, this morning was almost equally beautiful and in hindsight, Wednesday was a super long day and it’s a good thing I got even a little bit of extra shut-eye.

To back up a little bit, Tuesday night I joined the Colonial Road Runners for the weekly 5K fun run that I’ve been enjoying so much all summer. The thermometer dropped methodically straight from my office to the start line, so I was much more pleased than last week when it hovered stubbornly above 80 and I moped in bed. A win-win, really.

The very cool thing about my run this week was that my new buddy, Thomas — the kid who has been running with his mom that I made small talk with a couple of weeks back — totally paced me! His mom decided to actually race the run, since Thomas is more familiar and comfortable with the route and his ability now, so I found myself plugging along up the mile one hill either right behind or alongside him.

Looking good! I exclaimed when we hit the one mile poster. The last time we ran, he expressed that he didn’t want to walk until he made the first mile. This time he cruised past and kept going, after replying, Thanks! You too! I love how quickly even a child (tween?) can be swept up in the camaraderie that running generates.

I followed him down the mile two hill, a couple of yards behind and made the turn to the two-mile poster a handful of seconds back. He stopped to walk a couple of strides from there and, despite the fact that I’m really basically a stranger, was so proud of him for running an entire extra mile straight from the last time we raced.

Since the race ends with a mile uphill, I ended up passing Thomas about halfway up (because I’m still strangely comfortable and fairly strong on hills) and finished with an average of sub-10:00 pace, my best CRR 5K performance since the first Tuesday in June. 3.35 miles in 33 minutes flat. I’m not bragging or especially proud — just grateful. It took me 2 1/2 miles to chase you down, I teased to Thomas at the finish line. He smiled… smirked maybe… and I have no doubt he’ll beat me next time.

This morning I woke before my alarm, sometime around 5:30. I checked headlines and emails on my phone and debated going back to sleep. I lounged a bit, noticed how comfortable the cool air was, lounged some more. A little while passed before I rolled from bed (it’s a scene these days, the literal act of getting. out. of. bed.), but I threw on shorts and a top over my belly support band, laced up, and hit the road.

The sunrise was beautiful, the effort was appropriately tough (some mornings my legs just feel tired), but I cranked my tunes and put one foot in front of the other. I fit in 3 1/2 miles before work and actually made it out the door on time. Truly miraculous.

On another note, for local friends, check out these free upcoming classes, offered as part of the second phase of the Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series.