Well, it’s been a heck of a week for running. All that training came down to a couple of races and a lot of high-effort running. And it’s been good.
The week started with the Route 66 half marathon. I had wondered if I would have a pang of regret for not having signed up for the full marathon. I can honestly say that when the marathoners turned east from the rest of the pack after Mile 12, I had no feeling of regret at all. None. I knew I was about done, and they were still more than 13 miles from finishing.
That’s not to say I won’t do another full. The challenge is still interesting to me. One of these days I’m going to write something about why you should go for 26.2. But I was fine with the half (a great, fun distance that has a training schedule much more friendly to your life outside of running), and good with the 2:17 time I posted. Mission accomplished.
Training didn’t take a break — I was in the weight room the day after the race, but held off running for a couple of days. It’s not like I was very fast last Sunday, but I ran hard and my body needed a break. So a short run on Wednesday, followed by a fun time on Thanksgiving.
I’ve made it sort of an unofficial tradition to get in a run on every major holiday. Usually I do this alone, but this week, I was joined by a couple of other fellas for some time on the trails out at Turkey Mountain.
Danny is a guy I knew only in the virtual world, but he’s a local guy who is getting into trail running. Danny is pretty fast, much more so than me. But he liked the idea of hitting the trails with someone (in this case, me) who knew Turkey Mountain pretty well. It was cool to meet him face to face (love how social media can make things like that happen) and run with the dude.
Did I mention Danny is pretty fast? Well, so is the friend he brought with him, Lael. This dude ran the full marathon last weekend, and did it in something like 3:36. I led (and labored) most of the way, and I appreciated their patience in running more at my pace. They could have easily gone much faster. But in return, I got to show them a few new places and give them ideas for new, longer routes on the mountain.
It was an amazing morning for a run. Maybe 28 degrees and sunny. We even saw a few other runners. Five miles later, I felt more than justified in committing an act of warlike gluttony that afternoon. I easily replaced the calories I burned.
And then, Black Friday. I have another tradition developing for that. Instead of battling crowds to buy cheap TVs or whatever, I run Tulsa’s Turkey Trot downtown. It’s always a hilly challenge — no big deal if you’re running casually, but I honestly try to run it hard. It was no different this time. I’m still not fast, recording a 26:35 — 19 seconds off my fairly pedestrian PR at last year’s Turkey Trot. Being in marathon shape last year meant a faster finish. But boy, 5Ks are hard for me. Pacing and effort is always a challenge. If I were a little lighter and my cardio a bit stronger, I could get to 24 minutes. But that’s going to take some work. I’ll keep looking to my nephew Hunter and niece Hillary for inspiration on that front — they’re collegiate runners who are well below 20 minutes at that distance. Not sure that will ever be me, but it’s something to shoot for.
In any case, some 1,100 people ran it. One couple used it as a stage to get married after they crossed the finish line. Families ran it together. Many novice runners used this as their big running challenge of the year. For them, this was their marathon, and it’s pretty cool to see how they relish in that finish. As for me, a medal, a cookie, a water and a beer. I’ll take it.
And so ends fall race season. A week of running hard, and trying to run fast. Now it’s time to make the transition into spring races, and then hitting the peaks. This is a continuous cycle I truly love to put on repeat.