Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Small Quizzes - Just as Important as the Tests

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and its wake left two minor quizzes  with a Passing grade.  Every Thanksgiving for last seven (yes, 7) years I get up early, usually with Colin, and head to Southwood for the annual running of the Tallahassee Turkey Trot.  In the beginning I ran the 5K with my friend Cathy and we worked our way up to the 15K where we have settled in the last 4 years.  This year's "Trot" was a personal challenge in two ways:  I wanted to beat last year's time which was phenomenal (then), and I had a time goal in mind.  That is something I very rarely do - set a time goal.  However, I have begun setting them for the shorter distances to see just how long I can hold onto that elusive Boston-qualifying pace that I need in a couple of months.

So, off we went with me a bit more nervous about 9.3 miles than in the past.  Colin sees friends right off the bat and falls into place with them, knowing that he will see me at the finish when I am done ... some 30 minutes after he completes the 10K race (which he did this year in 41:57 - a personal record by more than 3 minutes).  I chat with some friends and other runners as nearly 3,600 of us wait for the gun to sound and be on our way.  Better late than never, the horn sounds and we get moving.  Gosh, it takes a while to get out and around the crowds who didn't follow the corralling directions, but soon enough I am in my own bubble clipping along at a nice pace.  I guess about Mile 1 or so, Robin Safley eases up behind me and then next to me, and settles in with me for the next 8+ miles.  We chat a good bit until about mile 7, and then the conversation gets really one-sided:  only me talking.  I don't know if Robin was trying to give me a hint, or if we were at that point in a run where only one us should be talking at a time - not enough oxygen for both of us...  Ha!  Robin is one of those athletes who even when she is about to die on the course never looks like she is in distress, or working hard, or even sweating.  It can be somewhat disheartening if you let it get to you.  Thankfully, Robin is bubbly and fun, and chatty (most of the time) and always appreciative of company on the course - even when it's me.

We go on to put up two personal records (PRs) in fabulous style and we are both in great spirits when we finish.  It is always amazing to me to know that a running partner can make all the difference in a so-so run and a fantastic finish (1:17:55 for a 15K+).

Speaking of running partners, Monday morphed into the long run day this week by virtue of the holiday preceding it.  Family, turkey, football, church they just don't leave a lot of room in the day for an 18-mile jaunt down the St. Mark's Trail.  Nor should they.  So, after getting both the boys off to school, I zipped down to the south-side of town to meet my running buddies, Maggie and Michelle.  We started off in the cool, not quite 50 degree misty morning for our latest endurance test.  I knew that 18 was a long way, and I needed to be conservative, but not too slow, in my miles.  Michelle was just out because she and Maggie got a bug in their panties last weekend and decided to run the Tallahassee Marathon in February.  We had a great run:  18 miles at just about 9:10 pace and a bit better in some places.  I was happy because I can see that it might actually be a reasonable goal for me to attempt that whole Boston Qualifying thing in February.  Lots of prayers, and with God's grace I will get there.  Woo Hoo!

Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation

Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation
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