Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rolling Hills and 10 Miles To Boot

Recovering from my run from the previous Saturday took a little more time then anticipated; by Wednesday though I was back in action and ready for our midweek practice. This mid-weeker was different from the rest... we were running our timed mile again, and were destined to see improvement. After a light 2-mile warm up, we lined up and flew out of the gates. I rolled out a moderate pace in the beginning and then kicked it up at about half way. I caught up to our assistant coach Cole and finished the mile just behind him. As I crossed the 1-mile mark I anxiously looked at my watch and caught the glimpse of 6:47.35. “HOLY CRAP!” I thought “I just dropped into the 6 minute realm." I savored the flavor of this tasty victory, and let it roll off my tongue every chance I got throughout the week.

My mid-week victory had me primed and ready to take on our 10 mile run on Saturday. This Saturday was a fairly monumental run, because it marked the return of the Great Jamie Moniz back to the running circuit. Back from her month long hiatus, Jamie was geared up and ready to tear into some asphalt. This was a big day for her as she was running an astounding 5 miles on her inaugural run back from the injury list. YEAH BABY!!

The cool morning air of Porter Ranch welcomed the eager faces of our running team. There was a slightly higher intensity amongst the group then normal. We were all aware that 10 miles was in our future today, and that the course would take use through a constant barrage of rolling hills. Our stretching seemed to have more intent on this day; each stretch was held to its regimented time and no single stretch was left to chance – our bodies were about to get hammered and we had to be ready.

The run started off with pace groups leaving at different times. The slower groups left first followed by the faster groups. The course opened up with a mild downhill slope that lured its guests into a sense of ease. I took the pace slow, knowing that I had to conserve my energy for the deepest end of this trek. From the start I was experiencing a sense of nausea that was hindering my spirit. Most of my mental energy was consequently devoted to overcoming this sensation in the first five miles.

At about a mile and a half into the run, and just when I had tackled my first hill, Cole (our assistant coach) intercepted me and took me back down to the bottom of the hill to give me some tutelage on downhill and uphill running techniques. This I was not enthused about; not only did I get separated from my pace group, but I had to run up the hill I just ran up. The techniques he showed me worked for me, so I kneaded them into my running strategy throughout the rest of my run.

Water stations were every two miles, and reaching them was always a lift in my spirits. A splash of something cold to drink and some words of encouragement was enough to keep my drive going. The course was relentless though; at every turn it seemed like we were either climbing a hill or descending one. The miles seemed long and arduous, and my one minute breaks too short to remember. I was pushing my body harder then ever and I could feel it beginning to take its toll. As I ascended the hill to the final water station, pain was settling into to my ankles, shins and calves. This was not good, I now had to dig deep and claw my way past the pain demons; I had two and half miles to go and I was not about to break down.

I hit the final water stop and my gorgeous wife Jamie was there resting after completing here five miles. Seeing her really lifted my spirits. I slammed a carbohydrate gel, threw a slug of water down my throat and took off. This was the home stretch - just two miles to go. My enthusiasm did not last long and at about a mile out I had my first break down. This was a rough blow, as it was the first time I could not complete my 8 minute to 1 minute regimen. I didn’t let it last long though. I literally slapped myself in the face, and told myself “this was it, this was the final stretch, YOU CAN DO IT!” My legs were somehow inspired by this grand speech and jumped into action.

I rounded the bend to my final mile (and hill) and saw my pace group just ahead of me. Seeing them gave me a huge boost of energy, and I took off up the hill. I saw myself closing in on them and it felt good. I crossed the finish line just behind them and with great satisfaction. I had endured 10 miles of hills, and was still in relatively good shape. I took in some water, carbs and a round of high fives… all the nutrition a training runner needs.

Try and keep up with me...

1 comment:

Ashanti said...

Sweet Brian, I am so proud of you, now you are in double digits... it is going to be so awesome from this point. keep stretching, and drinking plenty of water.
JUST THINK... you had a bunch of hills for your 10 miler, I had a rainstorm... so imagine a soaking wet 300 pounder pounding the pavement... but afterwards, it was the most amazing feeling ever... I am going to start training soon my friend.