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It's Getting Hot Out There: Happy Spring Equinox?

Over two weeks ago, the time changed to Daylight Savings time, and today is the official marker of spring. These events are a herald of two things, in my mind: hotter days, slower times. While I just run my fastest half-marathon and my fastest five-miler to date, I know these successes were largely due to the colder, drier weather we've been having in Tampa. But as the last two evenings' runs have shown me, I'm going to have to start working harder if I want to keep my pace down.

Monday night's run was actually more positive than negative. I met up with the usual Monday night crowd at Flatwoods. I'd had a lazy weekend and didn't run at all (that was not my intention; I just kept oversleeping), so I felt I should be able to have a decent run that night. For this particular run, the guys usually stick together and run in a pack at the same pace, while the ladies sometimes partition off into couples, or maybe a small group, but almost always at a slower pace than the guys (we have some really fast guys). I just happened to be talking to one of the guys when we started running, and in an effort to continue our conversation, I kept running with him and the other guys, even as the separation of men and women occurred (this "separation" may sound sexist or old-fashioned, but it doesn't actually feel that way; it's a natural occurrence). I managed to stay with the guys for the first mile or so, which was the most I'd ever done with them, or tried to do. But as I felt them pick up the pace ever so slightly, I realized I'd need to fall back a bit if I wanted to do all six miles I had planned without burning myself out. Still, it was a nice feeling to hang with the faster crowd for a bit. And my run was not bad in the end; I maintained an 8:50 pace, which is a great training run pace for me. I just wish I'd

Yesterday's run was not so nice. I've recently been going back to the Tuesday evening Four Green Fields run, which was perfectly doable when 6:00 p.m. did not mean full sun on Bayshore. But with the time change, I'm not sure I'll keep attending that run, as the heat and sun add factors of difficulty I'm not sure I want to take on right now. I was going to run alone, until I saw a friend (one who introduced me to many of the running friends I have now, and one whom I first met at this particular pub run) sitting by himself and waiting to start the run. He was also planning to do four miles (the official route is 3.1 miles, or 5k), and he said he wasn't planning to go fast (granted, that meant something different to him than it did to me, as he is a much faster runner than I). So I asked if we could run together, and he agreed. As we started out, I felt like I could keep the pace we were doing (I didn't look at my watch, so I wasn't sure of our pace), until it felt arduous, which was within the first mile. When he asked me how the pace was, I told him, "I can't talk, but that's okay." Normal training runs (unless you're doing speed work) should be kept at a pace at which you're still able to converse with someone, so I knew I was pushing more than I normally would. But I really wanted to maintain my recent progress, so I just kept going. But I knew I'd need to stop at the 2-mile turnaround point to take a breather. I told my friend he could go on ahead, not wanting to hold him back, but he stuck with me and got me going again, but at a slower pace. It was mostly my breathing that felt more difficult (that and the feeling that I could fairly easily pass out). It was more labored than usual, and that's what usually gets to me in the hotter weather. But soon, it was my friend who would need to slow to a walk, as his IT band was bothering him, and I welcomed the break. We finished the run walking. I felt a little bit defeated, because I knew I wouldn't have been able to maintain our initial pace (about 8:45), even if we hadn't walked in.

I'm trying not to feel hopeless about the coming months of running. That may mean I need to start getting up in the mornings to run--something I will fight until I have no choice because I can no longer tolerate the evening sun runs. I also want to do track work this season. My mind is ambitious, but my body needs to catch up. Soon, I hope.


Glad to see you are making progress, Lee. Even if it is in fits and starts. Kathy and I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to your next visit.
Lee Davidson said…
Thanks, Raul! I believe we're due for an autumn visit. I hope to be able to run that same trail by Kathy's dad's house while I'm there. It was so lovely!

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