Tuesday, January 16, 2007

16 Miles

Distance: 16 miles
Time: 2:28

And just like that we're up to 16 miles. On Saturday we run 18. The marathon is six weeks away. Thus far it's been my smoothest training experience. No injuries. The only thing that slowed me down was getting sick just before Christmas, but other than that nothing has bothered me. Let's hope it stays that way.

The 16 miler actually turned out fairly well due to miserable conditions. California has been enduring a cold spell for the last few days and the morning of the 16 miler my car's thermometer read 30 degrees fahrenheit. That's below freezing, if you didn't know. Negative degrees in celsius. I was properly bundled before the run and during it. The only thing that bothered me at the start was the Powerade bottle I was carrying. I bought it just before the run at a convenience store, so it had been refrigerated. The morning was cold enough without having to hold a refrigerated bottle of Powerade. Even that wasn't so bad. Sean and I kept a good pace for the first seven miles, and by the time I got to the aid station near the dam I figured the temperature had risen enough and my body warmed up enough to divest myself of my jacket and gloves. Big mistake. As soon as I started running again I was met by strong, chilly winds. The temperature felt like it dropped eight degrees, and with my shirt somewhat soaked in sweat it felt like ice against my skin. I didn't think I would last. I told myself that I'll warm up soon enough when I get out in the sun. I tried drafting off Sean who was also freezing but he at least had a long sleeve shirt under a short sleeve shirt. That didn't work, and even when we got out in the sun the chilled winds negated any effect the sun had. I started running faster to warm up, but that still wasn't effective enough. By the time we got to the turnaround point, with only six miles left, my hands were red and wind-burned. They tingled with numbness. The run back, though, was a lot more comfortable. The wind died down a little and what wind there was was at our back.

The good thing about the miserable weather was that it made me run faster. The run up to "Elmer" usually is a tough slog, but I barely noticed or felt the distance. I was too preoccupied with how cold I was to worry about the distance. When I got up to Elmer I wondered how I got there so fast. I wound up completing the 16 miles in 2 hours and 28 minutes even with a bathroom break. Sean wasn't too far behind. I ran ahead of him in the latter stages, and as I was taking one last walk break he caught up to me and pushed for us to finish under 2:30. Never one to back down from a challenge, I started running and picked up the pace.

Another good sign from the run is that I was not sore at all the following day. I might have finally beaten my body into submission.

The last couple of days I've run inside the gym. I'm a wimp and I just don't want to run outside. Unfortunately the cold, dry weather has resulted in increased static activity, so while running on the treadmill I've given myself some startling jolts. This is no fun.

Speaking of treadmill running, Kiley asked me if I ever get competitive with others running next to me at the gym. Of course, I do. Everyone does. We all look at how fast another person is going or how far they've gone and try to show off by going faster, farther and longer. Not only that, but I also show off by feigning to look bored or unchallenged by my pace. It's a boost to the ego to see an otherwise fit guy next to you struggling to maintain their 5 mph pace while I'm coasting along on my "easy" 6.5 mph pace. That is until a guy running at 8.5 mph takes up the treadmill next to you.

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