Back in the Saddle

Again, sorry for the gap – Life and work have both been slightly more pressing than being one hand clapping. But the running’s been good.

Christian and I picked up where we left off way back in August this morning. It was humid, humid, this morning in downtown Newport, but the run was pretty good. Chris had taken most of September off while I was gone, but we managed the first mile in 8 minutes. I did the last two miles by myself at 8:26 and 8:10. The hill on Memorial is starting to get easier. It’s still an effort, but it’s not the wall that it was a couple of months ago.

I talked with Christian as we were cooling down – he’s going to try starting out more slowly when we run on Thursday. The Forerunner comes in really handy here – I usually set the “virtual partner” for 9 minute miles then work out exactly how fast I’m running in my head by the distance gap I’ve opened on the partner. Keeps my mind working on something other than “Dear god, are my lungs really trying to climb out my throat?” What I’d really like, though, would be the option to start the partner say half a mile ahead of me and then try to catch it. In any case, Thursday I’ll try to stay with the virtual partner to see if we can drag Chris any further.

Monday’s run made me proud. Stopped on Jamestown on the way home from work, set the virtual partner for 8:40 pace for 40 minutes, and tried to see if I could actually open a gap on it. I was skeptical – for whatever reason, I was feeling a bit beaten down. I was also upping the time I was going to run – I’ve been doing a half hour most days, but think I need to up the effort to keep getting results. The day was incredible – right around 70, blue skies, light breeze.

Left the park and started running towards the south end of the island. First mile crested a decent hill – 8:14. Second mile was almost all downhill, but I was conservative since I knew I was going to have to press back uphill. 8:22. Third mile I got to the turnaround, sprinted a little bit on the beach thinking thoughts of getting chased along the beach at NAS Pensacola by Drill Instructor Staff Sergant Hyler, United States Marine Corps. Good stuff. Then started heading back up the hill I’d been running down. Mile 3 – 8:49 (Yep, the partner gained 100′ or so on me).

The fourth mile was really tough. As I went past the half hour mark, I guess psychologically my mind started wondering “Hey, WTF? I cooperated, it’s time to stop.” Sorry, I thought back, but we’ve got improvement to do. The last tenth of the fourth mile was steep, steep, steep, and I broke down and walked about 20 yards. Mile 4 – 8:37, which suprised me – I though I would have lost a lot more time.

Buoyed by the good results from the fourth mile, despite a little cheating, I really opened it up for the remainder of the time. I had just under 6 minutes left to go, and wanted to see if I could really blow it out. My lungs were burning, legs aching, and I was sweating like a pig, but somehow the endorphins kept me going to the end. last lap was 0.81 miles in 6 minutes, a 7:26 pace.


8 September – Kind of a non-descript run – one lap around Mosvagen, the lake outside the hotel. 2.42 miles, splits at 7:48/7:49/8:25 pace. Last pace is suspect; my guess is it was due to not counting a corner due to trees.

10 September – First real epic in a long while. 7.74 miles in 1:09:46. Mile 1/9:15 – Left the hotel, not quite sure how to find the big lake. Mile 2/8:39 – Found the lake, found the trail, had a decent downhill. Finding my legs, so to speak. Lap 3 (0.27 miles at 9:55/mile) – Ummm – kind of a wrong turn. I ended up on a point in the middle of the lake, and just kind of ran out of running trail. Stopped running and walked back to the last time I had good trail, and figured out where I’d missed the sign. The absolute only time in Norway that I was on a trail that was less than impeccably marked. Mile 3(not including the detour)/8:46 – OK, I’m back on the trail. But I don’t think I’m quite half way around. Start really worrying that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Mile 5/8:49 – I’m nothing if not consistient. Mile 6/9:08 – Couple of decent hills. OK, not really, but I’m really starting to worry that I’ve picked off more of a task than I can accomplish. Mile 6/8:40 – back to normal pace, and there is a glimmer of hope – if I scale out the map display, I can see where I got onto the trail around the lake. I have a goal. Plus, I’m running across a pretty nice golf course. I’m not sure why, but the grass in Norway was unusually plush. Mile 7/9:39 – Wicked hill getting up out of the basin around the lake. Plus, I can’t remember the last time I’ve run this far. So, I’m slow, but I’m happy as a clam. Last lap (.47 miles at 8:47 pace) – Never have I been so happy to see the hotel; never have I been so upset that it didn’t have a hot tub or a bath tub (though the bathroom and shower had heated floors. Can’t tell you how nice that was).

Sep 15 – So sue me, I took off 5 days after the last epic. But work was pretty demanding, and we took one night to go out steaming in downtown Stavanger. We were planning on going out again tonight, so I figured I needed to get in another epic. Plus, it’s been raining for the last five days – that really cold, cold rain that you can only get near the coast. I’ve somehow gotten it into my head that the rain is somehow hanging on until I pay the rain gods some penance and have just a miserable run in the rain. The trail around the big lake was just that pretty. This time, I ran it clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. Mile 1/8:53 – Leaving the hotel, through the neighborhood, taking it easy since this time I am fully aware of exactly how ungodly far this run is. Mists the whole way. I start to wish I’d put on wind pants. Mile 2/8:24 – On the trail, in a groove. Plus, I’m running just after working hours, so there are tons of other people out running, so the “small dog” syndrome really strikes hard. Mile 3/8:33. Not much to ponder. Feeling good as I approach half-way. Lose signal pretty frequently in thick pines. Mile 4/8:33. Nothing if not consistient. At the halfway point, I start feeling pretty excited since I’m keeping pretty close to an 8:30 pace. Lap 5/8:41 – Reality starts to set in. 7 miles is a long, long way. What was I thinking?. Lap 6/8:45 – Decent hill coming out of the lake basin again. Lap 7/8:33 – Just kind of loping back to the hotel. I stop at 7 miles and walk the extra quarter mile. The receptionist has been giving me dirty looks when I drag through the lobby panting, sweating, stinky, and dirty.

19 September – 3.35 miles from the house. Up the big, evil hill, with a detour on the way home. Average of 8:26/mile.

20 September – lapped Newport Navy Base – 3.42 miles, which was disappointing. I thought it was over 3.5. 8:43/mile average.