I ran a two-loop 4-mile race in Maine, billed as a "fast course". During warm-up (where I was feeling cold and tired), my Garmin acted very strange, and told me that I set a new world record by running at about a 2-minute per mile pace. Needless to say, that pace felt very easy, so I ignored the watch and finished my warm-up. I was running the race with my 13 year-old godson, who's an excellent swimmer and very good soccer player, but who hasn't done much running lately. He had no interest in a warm-up (or in running the race, really, but his mom "talked" him into it) and we agreed that - assuming I finished ahead of him - I'd wait for him at the finish.
The race field was large, with close to 1500 runners. I started a little ahead of the middle of the pack, less than 15 seconds behind the front row. The plan was to shoot for something in the low 26:xx range, by going out at 6:40 for the first mile, accelerating to 6:30 pace and holding on to the finish. yet again, I learned about how not knowing the course is a significant disadvantage. The first mile was flat, and I clocked low 6:20's. The second mile had two substantial uphills (a short one and then a long one, totaling probably 2/3 of the mile) and I hit the 2-mile marker in 13:00 flat. Based on how I felt, I knew I was in trouble. I hunkered down and just tried to keep a rhythm, though I slowed notably. I missed the 3-mile marker, but I slogged through the final uphill mile before cresting it for a slight - but very welcome - downhill for the final 0.3 or so, passing a few folks along the way.
There was only gun time, which was over 27:00, but my watch said 26:54, though it came up over 0.2 mile short for the course as a whole (which is attributable to the surrounding downtown buildings). I'll credit myself the faster time and will take the new PR. A bit disappointing to have lost it like that, but a PR is a PR, and now I have more room to improve in my next 4-miler.
Thanksgiving Day was very fun (my favorite holiday), with wiffle-ball golf (a family tradition) and almost 30 people eating together. The kids enjoyed their time with their cousins, and it was nice for all of us to be together. I ate less than I normally do, for no reason other than not being THAT hungry.
THE RECOVERY RUNS
Friday's 5-miler was just a plain ol' vanilla run, with a little bit of nice scenery along the Saco River thrown in. It was hilly, but not bad, and started raining pretty hard about a mile in, also not so bad, as I was dressed for it. Still, I was glad to be done and back in a warm dry house afterwards.
On Saturday, we drove home and then I went on another 5-mile recovery run on the trails near my house. It was brisk, but pleasant, about 38 degrees and sunny. I wore a winter UnderArmour-style shirt, shorts and an orange Asics vest, with light gloves and a headband. I got through over 4 miles with nothing more notable than a slight pain from last Sunday's under-the-tongue blister on my left foot, which turned out not to be the blister at all, but the bandage pulling weirdly on my skin.
Then, at about 4.25 miles, a "teenaged" black lab bounds towards me, jumps up and hangs around. I don't know the dog or its people, but the woman assures me the dog is friendly (too friendly, in my estimation). I continue running (as the dog follows me, but finally peels off back to her family), and I feel some pain and wetness on my left leg. You can see why on the right.
It turned out not to be as bad as it looked, but it is still a little tender. I will likely be able to keep the leg. ;-)
SUNDAY'S LONG RUN