OK, so I’m obviously not racing in the Tour de France, but feel like my long run yesterday equates to winning the coveted “King of the Mountains” polka dotted shirt. The hills did feel like the Alps after all.
Every once in awhile, Scott and I run a long run together. Yesterday was one of those days. Scott headed out earlier for a cool 6.4 miles, then picked me up for a warmer 13 mile loop. Per usual, I ran a faster pace than I usually do, just from the fact that I was running with a faster runner. That didn’t last too long though, since this 13 miler consisted of a series of hills I’ve only dreamt of. Er uhm, nightmares might be more accurate.
I generally like hills. They break up the course, make me stronger, and provide a real sense of accomplishment when I reach the “summit” (yes, more references to mountains). It brings me back to my cross country season in high school when my coach ran behind us as if to push us up the big hills. His words of wisdom that I’ve never forgotten, “Never stop mid-way up a hill. Allow yourself to stop just a little after reaching the top….by then, you won’t stop”. He was so right! By the time the pain of the ascent is over (past the top), I shake it off and celebrate on the descent. As you can see, I had lots of opportunities for ups and downs.
The run was challenging, between the distance, hills, and the heat and humidity, but we maintained a solid pace. We call this particular route “Turtle Alley”, but it’s not because the stretch of this long ascent makes you feel like you’re running slower than a turtle. There are actually turtles crossing….
The scenery provided a beautiful distraction; quintessential New England farms and rolling landscape as far as the eye could see. I did mention hills, right?
I finished the last 5 miles on my own. After a quick change of clothes (yes, I was that drenched from the heat) and some refueling, I was off. I slowed from an 8:30 mins. pace with Scott to a 9:00 mins. pace solo. But I’m OK with that. I was hot, tired, and needed to be done. I pretty much told myself that – out loud – with 2.5 miles to go.
Recovery began with Ruffles sour cream & onion potato chips and a strawberry Powerade Zero. Dinner was Chicken Tuscan Stew, a great recipe that has everything you could want to replenish a depleted body. Scott does a great job making recipes his own, so instead of staying with the stew, he served it over jasmine rice. A really nice blend of spices and a hearty meal for a decent recovery.
Total mileage for me yesterday was 18 with an average pace of 8:38. I enjoy running with my friends, I enjoy running solo, but I LOVE running with my Scott. He pushes me in a good way, is very encouraging, and makes me laugh. Plus, he says I look good in polka dots.