And the question is: What do I hate about the return of Spring?
I headed out to the Silver Comet Trail – Coot’s Lake trailhead – at 9 Saturday morning for my weekly long run. For the last 4 months the lot has been virtually empty (even with the mild winter) and I have felt as though I have the entire trail to myself for whatever amount of time that I want it. Today, not so much. It seems that Spring has officially returned and all of the cyclists have come out of hibernation and invaded the trail.
I know. I am whining a bit here, but I have sooooo enjoyed my alone time on the trail. The section of trail that I most often run is a 12 mile stretch that cuts through a WMA and has only one cross street, and it’s a dirt road. There are creeks, farmland, lakes, deer, turkeys, the occasional fox. Its a great place to lose yourself for a couple of hours. I am already looking forward to late fall when all of the cyclists return to the safety of the spin classes and just we runners are left to use the trail.
By the way, why don’t cyclists ride outdoors in the winter?
Anyway, my second dose of Springtime reality: chafing. Yep. My wife told me that this might be to personal to share in a blog, but this is the ugly side of endurance running. As the temps rise (along with the humidity in the south), so does the likelihood that some part of your body is going to be, shall we say, tender, for a bit after the run. Vaseline, you are my friend. I promise to bring you along next time.
Overall, this has been a great week. It is my longest mileage week since my surgery in November (20 miles). It also capped a month that saw me run 80 miles for the first time since October. I had a couple of good hills runs and I knocked 6 minutes off of my 8 mile time from last week, dropping from 1:15 to just under 1:09. I also focused more on running the right pace for each specific run. For me, this primarily involves slowing down and running a true easy pace for my easy runs. i have a tendency to start slow and push the pace once I loosen up. I also don’t like to be passed. If I know another runner is coming up behind me, I auto-magically start speeding up to maintain my position. I do that same thing if I see another runner in front of me. I want to catch and pass them. This week, I am proud to say, I was passed twice and I didn’t pass anybody other than walkers.
My virtual run finds me in Manchester, Tennessee. Their claim to fame is the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Held annually since 2002, it brings over 100,000 to this town of 10,000 for a four day festival that has featured Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan, among others.
I’ve got four easy miles planned for today. I guess it’s time to get started.