Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So much to tell...

Well, I feel a little guilty because I have been on vacation and haven't been blogging like I normally would. I have, however, been running so I guess that's what's important here. Okay, so I told you all that I would be in New York state this week and indeed I am. A landscape with many hills which made me quite nervous for the long run this week. So, while 'tis true that the hills are numerous (I am told by the knowledgeable one that these are actually carved out valleys and ridges from ancient glaciers, not hills per se), the biggest challenge comes from another geographic anomaly of the area -- the rain.

So, my first 5 mile run last Thursday was a wet one. I slogged 5 miles through a fairly steady rain - no electrical storm, just rain - and was good and soaked when it was over. When I realized what I was going to have to do, I was sort of freaked out. I only had shorts and a long-sleeved tee (thankfully not cotton) and I thought I might just freeze (did I mention that it was in the mid-40s?). Nevertheless, I just decided to suck it up and got out there and did my thing. Not too many hills on this run because it turns out that most of the town is in a fairly flat valley. Only when I got to the edge of town did I find myself going up a rather steep hill (running all the way! hooray!), getting to the top of the ridge and seeing what might have been some rather fabulous fall colors, if not for the aforementioned steady downpour.

Anyway, much to my surprise, the run went pretty well. Yes, my shoes were soaked when I was done, and I wasn't able to go on Friday morning as a result (I had planned a three-miler), but I felt remarkably good afterward. No soreness or anything. Almost like I was getting a nice cool massage all along. Very weird... And then to Saturday, the day of the long run. Saturday was 9 miles and, despite my surprisingly positive experience with the 5 mile rain/run, I was happy that it was a fairly nice day (partly sunny and low fifties for the run).

Things have begun to fall into something of a pattern with these runs. For instance, I think I can say fairly definitively that it is much harder to run three miles than it is to run five or six. After three miles, my body suddenly feels like its accepted the fact that this is what is happening and everything just feels easier. Breathing gets easier, joints seem looser, muscles seem warmer... And it's almost like clockwork: 30 minutes of running then -- boom! Is that endorphins? I don't really know. From what I've read, it's supposed to feel like a kind of high and this is not so much a "high" as it is a "this-doesn't-feel-horrible-anymore" kind of feeling. That said, this more relaxed state only lasted another four miles or so (to mile 7, or so) and then I can say that I started to feel it again. The last two miles were not so much a struggle, but they were definitely "felt" by me. I would like to say that so far I've been able to steadily run all of these distances without walking. Perhaps that is what being obsessive about the training will do.

So anyway, I was a bit stiff afterward, but not horribly so. By the next day, I was fine. Yesterday I ran another three miles (all hard fought and horrible - ran 5 minutes at the end just to get past that bad feeling) and today I will run five. That's the other nice thing about being up here in New York. I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to do the running that will prevent heatstroke. I can pretty much go whenever. So, I thought I would update the blog and do some other work (for work - I know, I'm on vacation), and get the run in this afternoon.

Alas, my break ends all too soon tomorrow and it's back to Texas for me.

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