This morning I just couldn’t get myself out of bed early enough to get my run in. Nathan is out of town for the weekend, and sometimes it’s really hard for me to get up and get going when I know that no one is going to be waiting on me. I owe a lot to Nathan and Paxton for my running improvement/success over the past two years.
So, as punishment for my lack of morning motivation, I ended up running in the late afternoon when the temperatures were right at 90 degrees (nasty). My schedule called for 30 to 40 minutes at easy pace with 6 x 100m stride outs at the end. I started my run at the Edwin Warner Nature Center, and for two reasons did the first and last mile on the flat part of the blue trail instead of the road: (1) It always feels cooler on the trails with all of the tree cover (2) I’ve been feeling a bit of soreness in my right shin over the past couple of days and wanted a slightly softer surface for my easy run.
After a first mile around 9:00, I settled into a very nice 8:30ish pace for the remainder of the run, and felt pretty good considering the heat. I completed my stride outs in the parking lot of the nature center (in full sun) with a pace a little below 6:00. Final total was 4.86-miles in 40:36 with an 8:22 average pace per mile.
Today’s planned group run was the 11.2-mile main drive loop in Percy Warner Park, which is quite challenging. Since my schedule called for 14 to 16 miles total I got there a little early and completed just over three miles in Belle Meade before joining the group in the park.
I mentioned on Friday that I had been feeling some soreness in right shin (shin splints), so this morning I decided to run in my old clunky and cushy Nike Vomeros since we would be doing so many hills in the park. This turned out to be a good decision and my leg felt pretty good. However, for the record, I now hate how these shoes feel compared to my Saucony Kinvaras. Gotta be diligent in my leg exercises so I can get out of these things as soon as possible on hilly runs.
Dan led our group run, and his strategy today was to run very easy on the downhill and flat portions, but push the pace on the uphills to build strength. Also, right at the start Dan told the group that he would be counting the hills we ran the loop today. This led to a persistent debate about what counted as a hill. As you can see from the elevation chart below, Percy Warner Park is not lacking in hills…
Even though the humidity was very high this morning after rains last night, I felt fantastic throughout the run today. I pushed pretty hard up most of the hills, even the daunting, named ones like 3-mile-hill, 7-mile-hill, and 9-mile hill (miles 6, 10, and 12 on the chart above). This was very encouraging after my miserable trail run earlier in the week in the same park.
When we came to end Dan and the group had counted 21 total hills in the park (very unscientific), which is pretty good in only 11.2-miles. For my entire route (including warmup miles) this equated to over 2,000 ft of cumulative elevation gain. My final total was 14.29-miles completed with an 8:48 average pace per mile.