I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I spent mine dodging snow on the way to, on the way from, and in Birmingham and Atlanta, while also trying to maintain some fitness. Admittedly though this wasnt exactly easy as the bad weather and time in the car were conspiring against me. However, I did manage to complete some decent workouts.
Christmas morning I awoke to overcast skies and snow on the ground in Birmingham, not exactly the type of weather that invites you out. After the second cup of coffee from Philip's french press, I was finally ready to get the work done. By this time it was sleeting but the precipitation wasnt supposed to abate anytime soon, and I needed to get going.
Starting out, I immediately found some red arrows painted on the ground and started following. They were accompanied by "RNR 10" and before I knew it, I saw a '1' painted on the ground with the same red paint. Naturally, I assumed this was some type of measured course, and I was hoping it was a 10 mile loop. I was pretty excited because I didnt really have a route planned ahead of time and for some reason it just makes the time go by faster when all you have to do is follow some arrows.
When I saw the '2' on the ground, I was pretty positive I was on some type of measured course. At this point I was 20min into my run and, well, it was still really cold, so I figured getting the tempo out of the way would be a great way to increase my body temperature. Plus, I didnt know how many miles I'd have marked, and I certainly wanted to do the tempo on the marked portion. I clicked off the next 6 in right around 6min pace, from 6:10 down to 5:50, which brought me to mile '8'. I had finally warmed up and was feeling great. The sleet had turned to snow, but there wasnt much wind, so it was actually quite comfortable.
After finishing up the 10mile loop, I ran through the start again but this time followed the 5k loop. Conveniently, it passed right by Philip's house (where I was staying) a bit after 2 miles, bringing me to 1h25, or right around 13 for the day. When I finished, Philip had some pancakes waiting for me, so it was a pretty nice little Christmas morning!
As it turns out, the 10 mile course was for the Red Nose Run in Birmingham:
The week before last I posted a QOTD from a story about the 2000 Foot Locker Nationals. In the post I mentioned that the race was special to me for a number of ways, one of which was the privilidge of volunteering at the finish line. Well, here it is, indisputable visual evidence of me and Ritz:
A couple of notes. First off, while I was skinny in HS, that shirt was size XL, so I wasnt that skinny. Second, note the watch. Even then, I knew TIMEX was the only way to go!
Same amount of time spent biking and running? I like it! Another steady week in the books, which even a trip to San Antonio couldnt disrupt. In fact the trip was actually a nice reprieve from the weather here recently, as I'm not sure the temperature was over 40F any of last week! Hopefully though the cold snap is gone and we'll start trending back upward towards more "normal" temps.
And week numero uno is in the bag. It was pretty low key, as I'm just getting back into the routine. Over the weekend I traveled down to Gainesville for a wedding which was awesome not only because I got to see old friends, but also because I got to ride outside in warmish weather. Even Sunday morning, when I went for a run in the rain, the weather was much more enjoyable than it has been here without precipitation. 53F with a light rain is so much better than 28F and sunny... I had almost forgotten how awesome Gainesville (and Florida, in general) is for winter training.
While Runners World certainly isnt my favorite magazine (and is, of course, berated my most "serious runners") it does, occasionally publish some decent articles. This is one of them. Well, not exactly, because it is really quite a bit better than decent and definitely worth a read. The article is a narrative of the 2000 Foot Locker Cross Country National Championship with background information on three of the best distance runners in the US today, Alan Webb, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Ryan Hall. While there were 32 runners total, those 3, were head and shoulders above the rest. What makes that race so special is not only how great these three were while they were in high school, but how they have lived up to and some would say exceeded lofty expectations.
The story is especially poignant for me personally for a couple of reasons. First of all, I was helping out at the finish of that epic race, so I got to see the excitement firsthand. More importantly though, these three are the same age as me, so I've followed their careers from the beginning, as they were gaining national prominence about the time I was getting into running. Seeing them continue to break barriers (RH breaking 1h for the half marathon, DH breaking BK's American record in the 5k, AW breaking SS's American record in the mile) and get faster has provided extra motivation and inspiration for me to work hard and stay focused.
So maybe most people won't have the same level of nostalgia that I did while reading the piece. Regardless, it is still well worth the read both for the thrilling narrative and for the insightful training and racing tips.
Another week of working out, but not training, is in the books. So I swam some, biked some, ran some, and got in my allotment of pushups for the year (40). But alas, the fun is over and training for 2011 starts today!