Friday, April 16, 2010

Tallahassee Times

Thursday morning I woke up to cool and cloudy skies here in good old Tallahassee, the capital of the Great State of Florida. Well, the "Great" part is debatable. How about the Good State of Florida? (Sorry, Floridians. I'm a mountain guy and your state is flat, hot and humid.) Before breakfast, I kissed Mom and went on a 9.3 mile road run. I'm spoiled by my country living and low traffic, as I had to run much more aware of what the drivers were doing around me. The humidity was a bit of a surprise, too and I should've brought some water with me. Pretty much just freestyled this one (and all my runs here) and made it up as I went. I lived here a decade ago, but the city has changed quite a bit and I hardly recognized the area. I cruised next to the sidewalks, running in the grass and dirt and zig-zagged about until I ran out of road at Interstate 10. Made the run an out-and-back and finished comfortably in 1:13, pace in the sub-8:00/mile. 140 - 170(!) bpm on the ol' heart rate monitor. Stretched and cooled down and called it "Good!"

Friday, we drove down to the coast to do a little sight seeing around St. George Island, but I didn't get to run on the beach as I had hoped. Just didn't work out, but I had a nice day with my folks taking in the views of the Gulf. I waited until evening and did another road run with some trails in the San Luis Mission Park. I brought water with me and rightly so. It was much warmer and I could feel my strength being zapped as I cruised. Traffic was so much worse in the evening that I was getting really put off by it. Seriously, I'm a trail runner and running next to heavy traffic was really bumming me out. Still, my effort was good and I enjoyed the run the majority of the time. 7.75 miles in 1:04, 8:30/mile. 138 - 144 bpm.

Saturday morning and I wanted the LSD. That's a Long Slow Distance run (which can also cause hallucinations if you go long enough!). Left the house just before 7 a.m. to beat the heat and slowly made my way down towards the State Capitol. Started out with a straight line 3 miles down Tharpe Ave and turned right on Monroe St (?) by Lake Ella. My tour took me down by the neighborhood I used to live in with my ex-wife, although I didn't remember the area very well. I also forgot how hilly it is around the Capitol and I got a great workout on the hills. I still ran in the grass as much as possible and looked for every unconventional line I could run (up or down) to make my run harder even though I was running a slow pace. I looped around the Capitol and made my way onto the Florida State University campus and just ran around rather aimlessly, taking in the sights. About an hour in, I ate a gel pack I had for an extra energy boost and kept hydrating throughout my run. I had to remind myself to slow down and not race at one point as a coed cutie ran alongside and passed me. (I guarantee she wasn't running for 2 hours.) I found a bike path I vaguely remember from the old days and gladly ran it under a canopy of trees for awhile. Another turn took me by a friend's old house and I reminisced a little to myself about good times gone by. Cruised along a little longer before working my way back to the park near my parent's house and ran trails for the last mile and a half. A really enjoyable but taxing run. I refilled my water bottle once I got home and downed it, along with a bowl of pineapple and some dried fish. Still, just before showering I stepped on the scale and my weight was down a half pound, from sweating, I'm sure. (Whew! This southern running ain't no joke!) The numbers: 13.1 miles, 2:05.51, 9:30/mile and heart rate in the 144-160 bpm range.

The best part of the day came later when I took my mother's Thai cooking class. I learned how to make Pad Thai noodles and Tom Kha Kai, a coconut milk and chili soup, with my new friend and classmate, Helen. The class kicked butt and we ate well afterwards. Big Up to Mom!!!!!!

Sunday morning, got up early to run in the pre-dawn coolness. Still not used to being soaking wet from sweat after only a mile. Quite frankly, I don't care for it much but I do appreciate running in climate so different from what I'm used to. Keeps things fresh. Put on the headlamp and did a 10K loop. I pushed the pace at times to see how I felt, but I could feel yesterday's run in my legs and overall, I was moderate to slow. The smell of flowers and foliage was refreshing in the morning air and I occasionally closed my eyes to engage my sense of smell a little more. Again, I ran in the grass mostly, avoiding pavement as much as possible, as well as running a few tangents up hillsides and back down. Finished with a strong kick and took it to the house in :53.57, 8:42/mile. After a short walk to cool down, I noticed a beautiful red cardinal perched on a power wire. I haven't seen a cardinal for many years and was captivated by the little bird's striking color and sweet chirping song. Enough to make this note and hold it in my memory a little longer. Nice one, little guy!

Heading back to Steamboat tomorrow morning. I don't think I'll run this evening as my legs are a little tender now. I'm happy with the 36.2 miles I've gotten in while I've been here but part of me wants to go out and get another 4 miles so I can call it an even 40. It doesn't really matter, though, it's only a number, I think the effort is what really matters.

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