IN SEARCH OF THAT OTHER GEAR.
I took time off work this morning to go to the trail early for an @25 mile bike ride. I really should have used the morning for a long run, but with the temperature at 6:30 am already at 75 degrees, the humidity at 80%, and the dewpoint over 60, it would have been like running in a sauna, so the bright idea came to me to go for a ride instead. I was already planning on being late, so why not?
I know I should try to run through these types of days, but come a race day, if its like this, I will. I was really still tired from the whole weekend thing, including the long swim, which now I was feeling in the arms and shoulders. A good kind of sore, I guess, saying I actually worked hard enough to get sore.
I was really thinking I would have the path mostly to myself, with it being a work day, but it was actually more crowded than I have found it on weekend mornings. Lots of people out doing their morning thing, I guess.
As soon as I got going, I started realizing I was only doing half the distance of my long rides, so I should be able to kick it up a notch, right? That became my goal then, to not let my pace drop below 13.5 mph, a more than leisurely pace, I realize, but one I am quite content to lollygag at whenever I get the chance! But that pace is not going to cut it at Steelhead, I know.
Its mainly a flat trail, with some deceptive inclines that you become aware of only when your speed slips, but for the most part, if you work hard enough, you can get a good pace going. So that's what I did today, keeping in mind the low end of what I would slow to, and pushing the pace as much as possible to average somewhere in the 15s.
When I say I am searching for that other gear, I mean just that. Somewhere, buried deep within my muscles, that pace is there, but I am realizing that if I want to achieve it, I will have to dig deep and deeper yet. It is just not surfacing on its own, that's for sure. I had it once, I can find it again.
So I pushed the pace as much as is possible for me right now, actually getting out of breath for once (or maybe it was the thick air?). Either way, I felt like I was working harder than I have in a long time.
The biggest obstacle out there were all the little critters scurrying around and back and forth on the trail: chipmunks darting out from the bushes and playing kamakaze with my bike wheels; squirrels scared and running every which way; and those pesky rabbits that seem to have a death wish--theirs and yours--as they not only run across the path, but leap a half a foot off the ground besides! I do think I actually ran over a dead chipmunk, as I felt a bump and then heard a crunch after I saw one on the path and thought I had missed it!
I was rewarded for my hard work on this ride then with a time right around 1:30 (for 24.30 miles) and a pace at 14.9, so I am getting there!
And thanks for all the goggle advice--three people mentioned the kids goggle idea. I think I did this once but had forgotten about that trick. I'll have to try it again. My eyes are still a little goopy from all the leaking on Sunday.