I really can't believe how this past month is going. Yesterday I didn't get out for my normal lunch walk due to an all-hands meeting at work. They fed us pizza - well actually I didn't get any because being part of the staff I always try to be one of the last people in line, and guess what? Yeah - well anyway I didn't need to eat.
Other than that yesterday was pretty good. Because I missed that lunch walk I decided to run in a new/old location. About 20 mins away from my house is a man-made lake, well it's really not a lake but rather a glorified cement pond. The concrete trail that surrounds it is exactly a mile long. (That's how they do things in Southern California, I don't know why, but they do..... Shoot we have another lake out here that is exactly 5k to go around - but that's a different story.) I used to run this lake path about 6-8 years back, but then we moved about 30 mins away and haven't been back until yesterday.
If you have looked at my log at all, you'd notice I start and finish each run with a warm up and cool down mile, that's exactly what I planned to do here. Sandwiched in between I was going to click off a three-mile run at an easy pace. Little did I know that another PB was about 30 mins down the road.
Starting my warm up mile I felt really good, there were a ton of people enjoying the 75 degree weather we are having and I couldn't keep my pace down, in sharp contrast to the other day's run, my legs were ready to go. That coupled with not wanting to look like an ass, I clocked a 10:17 warm up mile! Normally I shoot for something between 12-16 mins that would include some walking just so I can work up a small sweat and get the blood pumping. As I launched into my first mile I knew that I could run fast today. Still in my head I planned to take it really easy today - "Just get in the miles Bob." I kept telling myself. As I ran counterclockwise around the lake, "Why always that direction? It must have something to do with HS track all those years ago." I was thinking when before I know it, I've clocked another mile in 9:10! Now I know that this distance is exactly a mile around - I've most likely logged 200+ miles in this location in the past - using GPS, foot pedometers, and mapping software but here I am thinking: "Maybe this is just short of a mile. Could having no rolling hills really make this much of a difference? (Since this course is very flat.)"
Anyway, as I started my second mile I wanted to slow down my pace because my plan was to run an easy 3 miles not set a land speed record. (For me anyway) That second mile was fun - slowing down I spent time watching other people. Now I don't know about everyone else but I love watching people. Shoot, when Beth and I started dating we'd go to the local mall(s) and watch people there. And that's how I spent my next 10 mins - watching people. There's the couple nuzzling each other on the park bench with their small kid in the stroller, or the old lady walking her long-hair terrier, then again there's the 30-year old woman who's chasing down her poodle who's decided he wanted to jump into the water, and we can't forget the 'racing guy' all decked out in his UnderArmor shirt and Nike shorts with Oakley's and NB shoes with the 405 garmin...... Damm he looks fast.
By now I've logged another 9 something mile and I'm feeling pretty good - I've got a woman off my left shoulder who's been using me as a pacer over the past 1.5 miles. Shoot, I know she's there, I can hear her footsteps over my iPod, and every once in a while I see her shadow rise to my feet when the sun's angle is just right.... You'd think she'd poke her head out front at least once over a mile and a half. Right about then I decided that I'd go for a PB. Not having the exact split on mile two made it a little difficult, but I decided to try and catch UnderArmor man. Slowly stretching out my stride, I pulled away from my shadow - within a quarter mile I finally looked back as I rounded the lake - there she was : about 100 yards back now puffing hard, looking like I had punched her..... Now I focused in on Mr. UnderArmor man - still about 400 yards up on me with about three quarter miles to go..... Shouldn't he be farther ahead? He really can't be that slow can he? Shoot he's got about $1000 worth of gear on. Slowly I started to reel him in, and I started timing the gaps - he'd pass a tree; 34, 35, 36, 37. He'd pass that lamppost; 28, 29, 30. By now we're closing in on the final quarter...... there's another tree; 15, 16, 17, 18. I've got him now, rounding the final bend I'm on his shoulder and pass him right before mile 3. BAM! 28:30 a new PB and I feel great!
My final cool down mile I clocked at 14:38 feeling good about myself.
Can you tell I need to race now? Normally I'm running all by myself, and maybe see 3 other living people out when I run. I'm guessing with a steady race calendar I could improve greatly at this point.