Been doing the east coast thing for the first time in a while, Chicago yesterday and Boston today. Temperatures all over have been unseasonably cool with the exception being Wednesday in Philadelphia – probably mid-40’s yesterday and maybe 50 today. Not complaining since compared to our most recent winter it can almost be considered balmy out, but at the same time May is around the corner so I think we are due some regular shorts weather any day now…
After the intervals on Wednesday I spent the past two days just going slow. Planned on 10 yesterday on Lake Michigan, 5 miles outbound ended up being farther than I had ever gone before so curiosity had me go a little farther to explore a new park – ended up at 11.3 on the Garmin, all the miles right around 7:00 pace. This pace is becoming easier and more natural, but still requiring a little bit of effort to maintain. It felt very comfortable though, so maybe the information I am getting is correct.
More of the same today, this time the venue was the Charles River. Even easier pace today than yesterday – I may have reached the reduced-pace limit though as I feel like if I go any slower I am just going to come to a complete halt. 6.6 miles, legs feeling pretty good. Boston definitely a running town – there are always folks out on the paths, lots of specialty running stores in town, and there is still some leftover excitement (and on-sale memorabilia) from the recent Boston Marathon.
One thing about running is that if you spend enough time on the trails/roads/paths, every once in a while you see something that you either find interesting, did not know, or can not believe. It might be a new trail, some beautiful scenery, or something odd – like seeing not one, not two, but three college-aged men with pathetic attempts at beards (and 2 wearing tweed paddy hats) walking the river smoking pipes – not together. I was beginning to think they were auditioning for “Finding Forrester II” or something – after the first pipe guy I thought “that’s weird”. After #2 I thought “what are the odds of there being two young guys in the world who would smoke a pipe outside on a walk, let alone for both to be in the same town?”. After the third one I thought “only in Boston – the self-proclaimed headquarters of the intellectually elite and the bastion of higher learning”. Don’t get me wrong – Rocky Balboa wore a paddy hat, and I’ve said before anyone who could defeat both Mr. T and Ivan Drago is a badass. I don’t even have anything against pipe smokers – Gen George Patton smoked a pipe and he starred in a movie that might have even been better than Rocky. There was just something odd about these young pipe-smoking English Literature majors today that I didn’t get – maybe I’m just not a “Hahvahd Man” so I wouldn’t understand….
Anyway – 1 week til the Drake Relays. Since it is a Friday meet and since I have off all week leading up to the race, I am going to try to get in two more interval sessions between now and then. Have arranged to run intervals in the pool tomorrow morning after I get home, and then (weather permitting) hope to do something shorter and quicker on the track on Monday. I don’t want to set aside too much time and training to an early season race, but at the same time if I am going to go all the way out to Des Moines for a 2-minute race I should at least be relatively fresh when I get there. The main focus is still the mid-July trifecta (outdoor world championships, the Harrisburg Mile, USATF outdoor nationals), so the goal will be finding the proper balance of being performance-ready without burning out. That is an easier said than done proposition – I think I am going to sit down by the fire and pull out my pipe and ponder how I might make it happen…..
P.S. It just dawned on me that I think the guy who played the MIT student (Clark) in Good Will Hunting (“You like apples? How about them apples?!?”) smoked a pipe. And that was in Boston too. I thought I recognized one of them…..