"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's 5am Saturday Morning...Where Are Your Running Shoes?

"No one sees the lonely run at 5am...."

This is a true statement. But it shouldn't be. 5am on Saturday morning is a great time for a run. At least it was this past Saturday.

My wife was running her first 10k the same day at 9am. I worked backwards to account for her check-in and warm-up time, the 45 minute drive, 10 minutes for me to shower, change my clothes and grab a bag full of fruit and water to last the rest of the day (I was leaving from the race to go to the Portland Trail Blazers playoff game) and get 16 miles in and 5am became the time when I needed to be out the door. I toyed with the idea of running in the evening, but ultimately decided that getting up early would be far better than trying to do a long run after a long day. I've gotten into a good Saturday morning routine over the last few months -- one that I will rely upon come June 5th -- and didn't see any reason to mess with it if it only meant getting up a little bit earlier.

As it was, getting up wasn't a problem. My cat felt like she needed to wake me up at 3:30 to go outside (yes, I could ignore her, but the incessant meowing would have woken everyone else up), and after struggling to fall back asleep, I finally got up at 4:30 and got ready to go.

The actual running was great. I had a slight pain on the inside of my upper left knee early on which gradually moved to the lower outside portion of the knee, before completely disappearing around the 1 mile mark. The first 5 miles were in the dark but as it got lighter the morning clouds burned off to reveal the sun around mile 12. The temperature also hung around 48-50 degrees and there was just a slight breeze from time to time. It was as close to perfect running weather as you're going to get. But it wouldn't have happened if I had been in bed.

The second half of the run started with an extended uphill slope, about .75 miles. I climbed the back half of this hill on the way back in, around mile 15. In between were 6 miles of rolling hills. I've included this out and back route in many of my long runs because of its similarities to the Newport course. Some people talk about "losing miles" during a marathon and that's basically what I do in these 8 miles. I can run it in my sleep now, regardless of whether it's at the beginning or end of my run. It's given me a lot of confidence for Newport because it's the same type of road terrain and of elevation change that I'll be on in a few weeks (as well as in Seattle later in June).

Finished 16.65 miles in just under 2:11 (7:51 pace). About what I expected. I got home, chugged a bottle of water on the way to the shower, changed my clothes and was out the door 10 minutes later, moving on with my day.

6 weeks left. Three more weeks until my taper begins. Big week this week: 5 miles today, 8 Wednesday, 5 Thursday and then a 21-miler on Saturday. I haven't decided where to run yet that day. Maybe I'll go explore somewhere new.

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