A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Something to be Thankful For

Sitting here on Thanksgiving night I can think of many things to be thankful for -- the 25 family members who joined us for lunch today, the baked turkey, ham and, of course, BEEF (rib roast) we enjoyed with all the fixin's (mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, Grandma Angell's rolls, green beens, cranberry sausage stuffing, and Aunt Betty's cranberry relish), and the beautiful home we have to host such an event.

But I am also very thankful to be back up and running after taking eight weeks off to heal from my cycling accident and broken collar bone. Like last Thanksgiving, I started off today by running the Turkey Rock Trot 5K race in our neighborhood in Castle Rock. In my first week back in action I ran 17 miles (including today) -- not exactly "easing" back into it!

I began last Thursday with my usual 3.1 mile route and ran it in 33:36 (10:48/mile). The last time I had run it (before the accident) I clocked in at 27:33 -- a full six minutes or almost 2 minutes per mile faster!

On Saturday I ran my usual 4 mile route in 42:22 (10:31/mile). A little better, but still way off the pace I had been setting.

On Monday of this week I ran my usual 5K route again and finished in 31:46 (10:14/mile). More progress.

On Tuesday I went out for a 3.75 mile run with our dog Casey (who is also recovering from an injury!) and finished in 40:57 (10:55/mile). But this includes time for Casey to stop and smell lots of things (none of them were roses).

So, my goal for the Turkey Rock Trot was 31 minutes (10 minute miles). I thought this was pretty reasonable given that I only had one week to train.

Between Tuesday and today the weather in Denver took a severe turn for the worse. Temperatures dropped from highs in the 70s to highs in the 30s. And yesterday we got about an inch or so of snow. This morning it was 17F when I woke up and around 20F at the start of the race! The cold scared off at least half the 900 registered runners, but I was there with Leslie's cousin Bryan's wife Tammy and several hundred other brave souls.

Tammy and I ran the first mile together...but I was struggling to keep up with her. When my Garmin Forerunner 305 indicated we had finished the first mile in 8:15, I knew I couldn't keep up the pace so told Tammy to feel free to take off, which she did! But I kept pushing it pretty hard -- harder than I had since the Chicago Half Marathon in September (according to my Forerunner, my average heart rate for the race was 160).

When I crossed the finish line the time on my Forerunner and on the official clock read 27:21 -- 3:39 faster than my goal time! But it also showed the distance at 3.02 miles -- nearly a tenth of a mile short of a 5K. But even if you add another 50 or so seconds to my time (1/10 mile at a 9:00 pace), I'd still have finished almost three minutes -- or a minute a mile) ahead of my goal!

So tonight I am thankful that I was able to run this morning, that Tammy was there to push me for the first mile and that after one week of training I am nearly back to pre-accident form.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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