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Gasparilla HM Training: Week 3: New People and a Scavenger Hunt

This past training week was a rather solid one. I got to run with a variety of different people and was finally pushed beyond the effort I've been putting out on my own.

Week 3: 1/7/13 - 1/13/13
M: 5.66 mi (P) + yin yoga (XT)
T: 4 mi (E + P)
W: CrossBoot (XT)
R: 3.1 mi (E)
F: hot yoga (XT)
Sa: 10 mi (LSD)
Su: yoga in the park (XT)
Weekly mileage: 22.76

Key: (E) = Easy; (P) = Pace; (LSD) = Long Slow Distance; (XT) = Cross Training

On Monday, I went back to my running group "roots" at Flatwoods/ Hunters Green (we run Flatwoods Park during Daylight Savings and then move to the surrounding Hunters Green 'burbs after Daylight Savings, as Flatwoods is closed by the time we meet to run). These are the people whom I consider my main running family. Even when I've taken breaks from the Monday night runs, these folks have all still had a presence--sometimes at other events, sometimes just on Facebook--and have been supportive of me. I ran a quarter of the route with my friend Cathy, who was only doing half the distance that night, so when I met with the others at the halfway point, I was the slowest runner going back, and I assumed I'd just be running alone. But another runner, whom I'd just met that night, stayed back just a little bit to run with me, so we were running behind the group but didn't fall far back. It was the perfect pace to make me push but not burn me out. And I discovered he's in the same graduate program as my twin sister. Small world!

Then, on Tuesday night, I met with a couple of buddies who hadn't been out in a while, and they said they were just going for an easy run. The first two miles were rather easy (they're usually faster than me, so their easy effort is my moderate effort). These guys mostly talk sports while I follow along behind them, tuning out most of the noise around me. It's kind of nice to run with them--I can't really participate in the conversation, because I don't know what they're talking about, plus, I can't hear them very well with the wind along Bayshore, and I don't have to pay much attention to anything except following right behind them. Their pace is my pace. But when we turned around for the two miles back, I guess they decided that "easy" was too easy and picked up the pace. We brought down our average pace by about a minute on the way back, so it was a significant push, for only two miles.

Wednesday was CrossBoot night. It was a leg-busting workout for sure. Legs are my weakest body part to work out, so they're also the sorest afterward. But it was good for me, and I always enjoy the camaraderie of those workouts in the park, under the moonlight.

On Thursday night, I met up with a new girl-friend at the Thursday night Running for Brews run (which I recently posted about), at Yard of Ale. This friend and I run around the same pace, and neither of us was looking to push it that night. Anyway, my legs were feeling heavy from the night before. So we got to take it easy and talk a lot. I also discovered she has many of the same feelings (of inadequacy) about cycling as I do, so I thought we would make good cycling buddies one day.

Friday was a much-needed yoga day. My legs were aching from the CrossBoot class two nights prior, and I really wanted to get them feeling a little better before Saturday morning's long run. Hot yoga can can definitely accomplish that.

My regular running buddy was out of town on Saturday, but I knew that a few other friends were going to meet at 7:00 a.m. for a 10+ mile run. I also knew they were going to run around a "high nines" pace, and given that I'd had such good runs that week, I thought I'd try to meet up with them. But that didn't happen. First, I woke up too late to run the two miles to the meeting spot by the designated time, and then, when I encountered them running toward me on Bayshore, I could just see that they were running at a faster pace than I was. I was still around a 10:30 pace at that point, and I didn't feel I'd be able to push it much for nine more miles. So I just passed them by and wished them a good run. Eventually, by the end of my run, I was able to get my pace down to an overall 10:16 average pace. Also, I finally figured out how to get my mile splits analyzed on GarminConnect:

Surprisingly to me, my best mile was my last full mile (10), which I ran at an average pace of 9:36! Good for me.

Later Saturday, I met with another newish girl-friend to participate in Running for Brews's event, The Amazing Pub Crawl and Scavenger Hunt, which took place in downtown St. Petersburg. All proceeds from the event went to the Children's Cancer Center. We were given clues about landmarks in about a three-mile radius, and we had to find each one and take a picture of ourselves in front of it.

My friend was new to Florida, and I wasn't terribly familiar with downtown St. Pete, so it made for an interesting hunt. But we did eventually manage to find all 10 landmarks, most of which we found on our own, but others we found because other participants were gathered around them taking pictures.

(This was our last landmark, and we look pretty much like we felt--like we were over it.) 

After a couple hours roaming the streets, in full sun, we came back to get our pictures verified, and the volunteers asked us if we'd made it to all five of the pub-crawl stops along the route. Oops. Somehow, we'd totally forgotten about that part. There was indeed a full page of instructions about it, but I was so focused on the scavenger hunt that I didn't even notice it. So we didn't exactly complete the whole adventure. But honestly, I'd have had a hard time making that many stops at bars for drinks in the afternoon. So we decided to sit down at a nearby Thai/Vietnamese restaurant and enjoy a nice meal and some sangria. Afterward, I dropped my friend off and, when I got home, I was completely beat. I was also feeling the effects of my allergy treatment the previous day, which I'd forgotten makes my symptoms temporarily worse the day after. So I was laid up for the night, and it was probably not even 7:00 p.m.

On Sunday, I didn't make my Ashtanga yoga class that I've been trying to make a regular habit. The longer and harder my Saturday runs are, the more difficult it is to get out of bed Sunday morning and accept the hard work that will come of that yoga class. Instead, I went to yoga in the park later that afternoon, which was just lovely. The sunset never fails to inspire:

In other news . . .

Ragnar 2014
To my delight, I've found a team to run with for the Ragnar Relay Race 2014! Rather, a team found me. My most regular running buddy, Kristin, whom I'm also running the NWM half marathon with in April, was visiting family in the northeast this past weekend, and apparently they all decided they wanted to do a little running adventure/ Key West vacation to ring in the new year--next year. They seem to want to do this thing in style, renting a house in Key West and everything, and because I'm the outsider, I'm thinking they'll be doing a lot of the organizing ;) It's the perfect setup. And from the stories I've heard and communications I've had with Kristin's family, they seem like a bunch of goofballs, so I don't think I'll feel much pressure to PR my runs (but of course, I'll still try). It's still 11.5 months away, but I'm already excited!


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