4:10am - alarm goes off and I slowly get out of bed, get into my running clothes and meander downstairs to toast a bagel. Add some butter and grape jelly and eat while I catch up on the computer.
4:45am - out the door and drive 10 minutes to my spot, Oak Grove Lake, 0.85 miles around. It's dark, hazy, 74° and 97% humidity and I am alone. No music and not a soul out except for the paper delivery guy I see often. Quick stretching of the legs.
5:00am - Hit start on my Ironman watch and start off trying to do 8:00min/lap as indicated by my chosen FIRST 3 day a week marathon training plan. After one lap, back by my car, I hit 7:45 and toss aside my shirt. It will do me no good today. I grab my handheld water bottle, walk for 20 seconds, and continue on. 3rd lap I finally get close enough to my goal and try to hold that pace - taking in water each lap as I walk some. (I plan and walk every lap). I count my laps upward and spend the time out there thinking about my pace, past races, friends who ran the Laurel Valley 34 miler yesterday. So much time to just be. Hear the geese/ducks in the water and the muffled early traffic on I-85 nearby. I had divided the 21 laps into 7 lap segments. After the 1st segment, switched to Gatorade for my drink as I also needed to refill my 20oz bottle. That 2 minute break got me right on my planned pace. Next lap - Gu. Pace was consistent and feeling fine. Decided not to wear my heart rate monitor, but felt it was in the low 140's (low 160's seems to be my max) based on my effort. 2nd segment, saw a few more people out, mostly walkers and an older gentleman on a bike. I always say hello as I see many of them week in and week out, going back years. Pace stayed constant as I considered the Blue Ridge Relay and the following week's decision: the Salem Lake 30k or the River Bound Trail Half Marathon. 20 is on the schedule for that weekend, but I finally decided I would have more fun at the 1/2 and could get the rest of my mileage in some other time that weekend.
Lap 9, get that familiar "twinge" in my right, then my left hamstring, that lasts 2 seconds then disappears for the duration of the run.
Lap 10 - just about halfway, but still going to count up. It's easier for me to keep track and even though I have plenty of time to do the math in my head if I do lose count, I'd rather not put forth the effort.
Lap 12 - time to refill my water bottle again, drink another 1/3rd of my 20oz Gatorade (Lime) and I am still on pace.
Lap 15 - can tell it's going to get a little more difficult as I get closer to finishing. Not looking forward to what's coming. Take another Gu (still vanilla, but a Hammer sample from another race).
Lap 19 - feel a rock in my shoe, slowly get down to the ground to get it out and find nothing. Feels better once I get going, but may have tied my laces a bit too tight. Did not use vaseline as I typically would do on my long runs, and now wonder if that was a mistake. Pace fades a bit with that 30 second break, but am Exactly on my desired pace. Need one more refill of the water bottle as I finish off the Gatorade.
Lap 20 - thighs heavy. Feet want to shuffle along and are getting sore after about 2 hours and 34 minutes on my feet. Decide I am about done. Feet seem more sore than they should be - especially where my "bone bruise" was/is. Stop caring about my intended pace and walk/run the whole lap. 10:30min lap.
Lap 21 - the last one. Body is spent. Shorts have been beyond soaked for hours. Shoes too. Sweat on my body has flakes of dirt intermixed with it. Another walk/run episode and call it quits at 2:55 and 21 laps complete. Sun is trying to peek out from around the clouds. It's always good to finish before the sun really shows itself.
Looking back at the last 2 summers of training logs, "normal" temps for my early morning runs were 66°, 68° and an occasional 70°. This year - they have ALL been at least 73°. Hope the punishment rewards me somewhere down the line!
After 2-Gu's, a 20oz Gatorade, 60oz of water - I had lost 3 pounds. Think I may have to have some more Ben & Jerry's this afternoon.
3 hours later (after carrying my daughter around the grocery store on our weekely trip), I feel all right. Legs slightly tired, and I am sleepy, but feel like I'll be back on track for my speedwork Tuesday.