New Surroundings

Well, I’ve missed a workout this week.  I was never able to fit in a cross training workout with travel and all.  That’s not such a big deal.  I know that every once in a while I’ll miss a workout and it’s better to have a real reason for missing it rather than just being lazy.  This morning, I awoke at 7am to a phone call from my mother in law.  Normally I might be a little ticked off at that, but it was a blessing today.  I had been tossing and turning in bed telling myself that I needed to get out of bed or it would be too hot.

I’m in a hotel in North Miami Beach and I’m excited about the new surroundings.  I head north from the hotel, only to find that the sidewalk ends about 500 yards from the hotel.  I turn right onto the beach and head south in the sand.  I make another right and head back to the street.  Once at the street, I finish my warmup mile, then start running.

I’ve left my headphones and my camelbak in the hotel room.  It’s a welcome change.  I feel much lighter and I’m able to maintain good form more easily.  I pass the first mile in 9:48, keeping a good pace.  I slow slightly and continue on.  There are many people on the sidewalk and I’m dodging construction vehicles.  There’s a jogger ahead of me and I’m tempted to catch up and pass him.  I have to keep reminding myself that I’m trying to run at an even pace, not racing him.

At 2 miles, the runner ahead stops for some water and I pass him.  I’ve run 2 miles in 19:48 and I’m starting to feel a little tired.  I’ve come upon a park and I slow myself.  Like Wednesday, I decide to force myself to finish a 5K before a walk break.  In the park, I’m out of the shade of the high rises and the sun beats down.  I continue on, reaching the 5K mark.  I keep running.

I realize that I’ve run right to the end of the island.  I circle back and find a bike path back to the road.  Here, I encounter the bridge that takes traffic along the A1A over the water to Bal Harbour.  I jog onto the bridge.  It’s a little steeper and longer than the pedestrian bridges I’m used to.  My legs complain a little and I’m tiring, but I reach the top and start back down.  Now, I’m cruising along and I reach the other side of the bridge rujuvenated and only 400 m from the turn around.

I reach 4 miles in 38 minutes, turn around and walk.  My plan is to tackle the rest of the distance with a 1/4 mile walk, 3/4 mile run pattern.  When I hit the bridge, it’s time to run again, so I run back up and down, then into the park again.  At 5 miles, I encounter a drinking fountain and a shower.  I take a quick drink, fill my hat with water from the shower and flip it back on my head.  The water rushes down the back of my neck and my back.  It cools me off.  At 5.25 miles, I run again. 

Like last week, I’m running at a faster pace during the second half of my run.  Unlike last week, it’s not really affecting me.  I hit 6 miles and walk again – but I don’t feel like I absolutely need to.  At 6.25, I’m out of the park and back on the sidewalk.  I run again and easily make 7.  I check my Garmin.  I’ve shaved 7 minutes off my 7 mile time from last week.  Best of all, I know I can finish the next mile with no problems.  At 7.25, I run again, averaging a 9:00 pace.  I hit the 8 mile mark and begin my cool down, very happy with my run.

Planned workout

1 mile warmup

8 miles at 10:02 pace

1 mile cool down

Actual workout

1 mile warmup

8 miles at 10:34 pace

1 mile cool down

Although I didn’t hit the planned pace, it’s a dramatic improvement over last week.  Something clicked today.  I don’t know if it was the shade, the rest from skipping a workout, or the earlier timing.  Whatever it was, I liked it.  I felt like a locomotive.  I was in a rhythm and the engine just kept going.  For the first time, the 4 hour marathon seems like a very realistic goal.

5 weeks down.  24 to go.

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