The busy schedule last Friday left me no choice but to postpone my run the following day (Saturday). I was out working for 12 hours. Strange how running, at this stage, has become an integral part of one's life. You miss a run scheduled for the day and it feels like the day is not complete.
So Saturday came and the weather was far better than the last few days or even weeks. A 10k run was perfect before a scrumptious breakfast. I took the rest of the day easy. 2 sessions of speed runs and barefooting last week left my feet a little stressed but not sore. Tomorrow will be a different and important run though. A run that must be done barring unforseen event.
The sun rose earlier than usual and by the time I left the house for my run (5:50AM), the sun was peeking through the clouds. It sort of ruined the momentum to head out earlier by the usual and typical routine in the morning - boil some water for tea, visit the john, grab a quick light breakfast, bodyglide on some sensitive parts here and there, etc. Almost everyone was still in dreamland.
The plan was to run 30-34K in minimalist style - carrying nothing except 1 gel, cash and Garmin 405. That was it.
As soon as I stepped outside the house, I just allowed my feet to dictate the pace and what route to take. You are also probably one of those runners who simply dislike running the same route often. It seems variety, as they say, is the key. After the first few kilometers, I intuitively thought of revisiting Sacobia and realized I had not been there for months after TNF100 last year. Some runners were likewise on the road and there was the typical exchanges of "Good Morning".
The bridge connecting the freeport zone to the other side (Sacobia) is almost 1 kilometer long. Running on it and looking at the surrounding area always give me the feeling as if I am floating on air. The 360' view is amazing and somewhat gives a temporary respite from the monotonous cadence of running. Also, memories of TNF100 running on lahar (sand) and the surrounding mountains flashed in my mind.
Barely 10 kilometers into my run, the sunny blue sky had now turned into gray. It was easy to predict what would happen next. What started as a drizzle turned into a rain. The drizzle however lasted for almost 30 mins as if preparing my body for the change in temperature. By this time, the rain was a welcome relief which reminded me of the article I read several years ago on how a drop or rise in temperature can have a profound effect on race performance. My run continued and enjoyed the cool temperature which somehow made running even more enjoyable. I went to different places which I had not been to frequently asking for directions lest I get lost. Innately, I think runners enjoy the solitude and not concerned of seeing anyone for hours on end. Maybe it is a form of meditation. I do not know. All I know it just feels good and relaxing afterwards.
At kilometer 20 and approaching the dreaded 1 kilometer steep incline, I managed to run slowly feeling the calves burning and the rain somehow helped in the process. The first time we ran this incline in Sacobia several years back, our calves were so sore the next morning we could hardly walk.
At kilometer 24, the urge to drink was unmistakeable. I found a store and bought a 200ml Coke (I did not realize they still sell this size) and with it, I downed the gel. As soon as this was done, I hit the road again. By this time, the rain stopped and the sun was about to show its glory again. That "mini" Coke was followed by a 500ml water due to a considerable rise in temperature.
There was still energy left for 1 or so kilometer after the KM34 but I did not want to push it. Sometimes, it is good to stop at the point where you feel good not when one feels wasted. It is not about the distance per se but the experience. 34k in 3:55 h.
Jon (not sore the next day, er, today :)