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MCM Training: Week 4: Effort

A running friend recently explained to me, while commiserating with me about my slower pace during summer training, that a slower pace in a hot and humid climate does not equal the same pace during a race in a cooler, drier climate; what matters is effort. In other words, the effort I pot into a training run in Florida might equate to a 10:45 (minutes per mile) average pace, while a run of the same distance in Ohio, for example, might equate to a 10:23 pace. My effort is essentially the same, but my results are different. This is exactly what happened to me this past weekend.

I went to my hometown of Dayton, Ohio, to visit family and friends. Because training does not get put on hold for vacation time, I still had to do my 15-mile run while away. Very fortunately for me, the place I was staying at was right next to a long bike/running trail that provided more than enough mileage for me to get my run in. I was actually looking forward to this long run, because I knew I would benefit from the cooler, drier Ohio weather--despite the fact that they'd been experiencing a hotter and more humid summer than usual (I knew it would probably still be better than the Florida climate).

I began my run around 6:30 a.m.--something I could not do in Florida, as I would be exposed to more sun than I could tolerate--and I felt great from the start. Of course, the fact that I had hardly done any training the past two days--partly due to travel SNAFUs (the two rest days above were unintended)--helped me feel rested. The trail was lined on either side with towering trees, so the sun wasn't really a factor in the early miles of my run. Because the trail was new to me, the first half of my run felt long. But that's always the case with new routes--you don't know what's coming up, so you pay attention to every little step of the way, which can prolong the experience, and not necessarily in a bad way. Whenever I go back to certain parts of Ohio, I feel like I'm in a different world--a smaller, quieter one with more open land and old-fashioned values. Less junk. When I "go back," as I say, I spend time in the small, small village of New Bremen (population 2,900); in the lovely hippie village (yes, these are both established villages) of Yellow Springs; and this time, in the city of Beavercreek (which has a population nearly equal to that of the university I work at, 45,000+).

But back to my run. I had planned to go out 7.5 miles and turn around. This would have worked, except I needed to refill my water bottle, which only hold 10 oz. There were no water stops for 7.5 miles, so I had to go another .5 miles to get to Xenia Station, where I could fill up at a water fountain. I guess Ohio trail users just don't need to drink as much water as Florida trail users. This makes some sense, given the difference in climates, but still; rationing 10 oz. over 8 miles is a bit difficult.

Luckily, on my way back, the sky was overcast, so what sun there might have been in the later morning hours (i.e., up to about 9:30 a.m.) didn't show through the thick gray clouds at all, and there was actually a cool breeze carrying me home. I finished with a much faster average pace than I've been finishing in back home in Florida, and this is my farthest run yet:

So I'm grateful to Ohio for her cooler weather and for allowing me to put forth my effort in a different way than battling the heat--I was actually able to focus more on running.

Aside from the run, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with loved ones in Ohio. It's so comforting to feel like I have a home away from my Florida home and people who have known me and loved me since I was born--despite the different "worlds" we live in.


Glad you enjoyed your visit to Ohio, Lee! We were so glad to see you.

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