Sunday, June 25, 2017

15000th Day of Life

My extremely un-noteworthy 41st birthday passed a few weeks ago. Forty itself was a bit of a milestone but 41 just sorta made me feel old.  But checking out something I wrote about my 40 km run on my 40th birthday made me realize I was approaching a nice neat little number: my 15,000th day of being on the Earth. So I figured I would celebrate in the only was a number-loving running nerd would - by running 15,000 meters around a track.

For the metric-inclined, 15kms is just a mere 9.3 miles of track running and nothing more than a semi-longish run for a normal day. But tacking on the milestone to it always means it will be more enjoyable and memorable than trotting along the same 10-mile loop I have some 40 some times since moving to Austin.

I got a later start than I wanted and as such caused myself some consternation in dealing with the heat.  Around 88 degrees and humid when I started, a supposedly cloudy day gave way to bright warm sunshine almost the minute I pulled up to a local track.  I did, however, bring a Camelbak handheld water bottle, a wash cloth to wipe my sweat off during the run and a towel to wipe it off even better afterward. Throw in a completely froze bottle of water to thaw in the heat and be ready for me to drink when I was done and I was better prepared than most runs in this oven-baked town.

When I started out I knew I had to do 37.5 laps. I like running laps. Some get bored or bothered by them but I enjoy the knowledge and clickability of knowing how far each and every step takes.  It is one reason why over Labor Day I am directing 5 different marathons/half-marathons in 5 States in 5 days - all on looped tracks. Having directed similar races, I have found people sometimes dread them coming in and then loving them going out.

Before my best friend Shannon came and joined me for a few laps, I ran a few miles with only one other soul on the track. A 56 year old black man whose name I did not catch (and looked like he was 39 tops; seriously, black don't crack, y'all) walked 6 miles while I was there. He said he did this every day. When he drove away near the end of my run is hos powder blue metallic Miata convertible I wanted to give him the Judd Nelson Breakfast Days Power Fist for being so awesome.

My goal was to keep the laps as similar as possible. I had no goal other than survive the sun so I figured whatever I ran for the first few laps would be the time I would set my inner metronome to.  When it comes to pacing, I am the bomb. A 3:09:50, 3:09:52 and 3:09:52 as the 3:10 pacer for the Carlsbad Marathon three years in a row will attest to that.  So, after my first half loop, I decided to se what I would be running today.

The first mile produced a 1:52.55; 1:52.34; 1:51.78, and a 1:52.44. To be honest, that 1:51 bothered me as it messed up my stretch of 1:52s.  How dare you, 1:51?!  A 1:51:04, 1:52.29; 1:52.56; 1:51.32 was what my second mile produced and after that I reached down and grabbed my handheld bottle. It was sweltering out and I needed to cool my core.

Stopping and grabbing a bottle didn't slow me down. In fact, I sped up a bit before settling into a nice even pace again. (1:51.72; 1:52.89; 1:52.37; 1:53.32.) I blame the first 1:53 of the day on me miscounting laps and thinking I had already done a 5k.  I was shocked how fast the time was for a workout and spent thought energy trying to figure it out. Realizing I counted the first half loop as a full loop took half a second of mental energy and slowed me down a touch. You will have to forgive me.

I made up for slowing down on the first loop of the next mile and began to notice a pattern developing.  For the third straight mile, I would run a 1:51 for the first lap of the mile followed by a 1:52. I'd like to say I was planning that but that wasn't the case. (1:51.92; 1:52.21; 1:53.98; 1:53.55)

Then I went and ruined this pattern with the slowest of the lap of the day so far. It was also the slowest mile with a 1:54.20; 1:53.66, 1:52.55; 1:54.31. By now, just five miles in, I was wishing I had been alive many fewer days. Oh, the loops!

I rebounded a bit with a 1:53.75; 1:53.03; 1:54.27; 1:54.63 for this mile but figured 1:54s might be where I was going to be the rest of the day. The sun was baking me and I was no longer sweating. That's not a good thing.  At the end of the 6th mile, I had drained the entirety of the handheld bottle and I dropped it at my bag.

I then proceeded to run my fastest lap since my second mile. That burst  could have been because I wasn't carrying the bottle or it was just easier to hit my lap button without it in the way.  Nevertheless, I was pleased with a 1:51.64; 1:53.23; 1:53.05; 1:55.48.

Just two miles to go had me running my slowest loop of the day at the onset with a 1:56.12; 1:53.58, 1:52.40, 1:54.52. Just when I thought it was going to get real ugly, the sun went behind some clouds and I got just a bit of a breeze. That was all I needed to bring it home.

My final mile ended with my fastest split of the day in 1:54.11; 1:53.01, 1:53.77. 1:48.58. I ended up running a respectable workout time of 1:08:44. It was nothing but a normal workout on a normal day.  But here's to another 15,000 ( and hopefully more) days of life.

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