Sep 8, 2006

6 miles yesterday, 6 miles today

I think I am going to have to postpone the 13-miler until next week.

In the meantime, I am boning up on 6-milers - both yesterday and today, and will probably do one tomorrow, too.
yesterday's 74-minute 6 mile run was very difficult. I decided to run along a path I discovered when Geocaching. It is in the area of Saddle Brook, New Jersey. I thought the park was about 2 miles long, and would explore the paths and probably run every inch of it that day. So after a mile or so, I discovered an excellent running path with markers every tenth of a mile! This was great! On my side of the markers, it would say 1.1 miles, 1.2 miles, etc. So when I looked on the other side of them, they said 4.9 miles and 4.8 miles. Turns out that this is a 6-mile course that extends from near the i-80/GSP intersection, north behind the garden state plaza, across rt 4, and then north all the way to Ridgewood, without a crossing above a single steet! Every crossing went under the roadway next to the creek that this path runs along. It's great!

Anyway, I ran out to the 3-mile marker and back. It was pretty hot & I was spent by the end of the run. I had a cotton t-shirt that weighed about 10 lbs when I was done.

Today, I decided to run the other half of the path - so I found the start in Ridgewood and ran south this time to the 3-mile marker and back. It was a little earlier so not as hot, plus I had a tech tank-top top.

Now, along all of these paths, there are dozens of walkers, runners, rollerbladers, and bicyclists. I'm always jogging slower than the runners, bladers, and cyclists; and faster than the walkers. on the way back, however, at about mile 3.2, I spotted a guy in a blue shirt running in front of me - I was catching up to a runner! At 320 lbs, this doesn't happen very often. By mile 4 I was right behind him - and when he noticed my presense, he sped up! oh my word - a guy who didn't want to be passed. so he surged about ten feet in front of me, and, remembering some of coach glover's tips from the "competitive runner's handbook," i matched his pace. my competitive juices were flowing, and all of that information from the race tactics chapter (that I thought would never apply to me), flooded my brain. it's better to stay behind him, keep up, and surge past at a difficult moment to demoralize him. I'm a bastard, I know. So I made sure to run close enough to BlueShirt that he sensed my presense, and no matter how fast he ran, I would stay there. Then, my opportunity struck. Suddenly, we were on an uphill run - approaching a bridge over a creek. It's not that big a hill - there's probably about 20-30 feet of gain over a tenth of a mile. But I knew this was my chance. I kicked it into high gear and passed him - keeping in mind all the demoralizing tips from coach glover: keep good posture, don't let him see you breath hard, pass him quickly and decisively, and put some space between you and him. If you're trained, a hill is the perfect place to do this. Thank God for all that trail-running I've been doing - it's really been helping. I didn't look back for a while - I knew he was probably there, but now with him behind me, he was in a position to retaliate. In the meantime, there were a couple of more small hills that I was sure to surge up. After about a half-mile, on a turn before another hill, I looked and saw BlueShirt about 100 ft behind me. That was too close for my comfort, so I really pushed over this hill and maintained about a 10-minute per mile pace for the next mile or so - really fast for me. By the time I finished, he was nowhere to be found. He must have parked his car somewhere other than the end of the path. I wanted to thank him for helping me really kick my workout up a notch, but I guess it wasn't in the cards.

So, BlueShirt, whereever you are, thank you for providing me with the motivation I needed to get a kick-ass workout today.

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