"Focus on Strength and Efficiency," that was my mantra at the end of my run today. Sure, it doesn't have a ring to it. I'm not a poet, I'm a runner and a computer scientist, deal with it! It was exactly what I needed, though. Staying focused kept me from accidentally falling into a mental slump, strength as a reminder to focus on a good push off each step, and efficiency is another way of saying "good posture." Posture is what gets a lot of people near the end of races. They get tired, stop holding their body in an efficient position, use more energy, and its a downward spiral from there. Very important stuff!
I started my run with Kristin and Jill at a pretty easy pace. I think I accidentally pushed them a little too hard, but I was only running with them for the first 3 miles since we were running with separate groups once everybody else showed up. Then I ran 2 more on my own because I didn't want to stand around for 20 minutes. After this I took off with Ken, John, and a guy who's name escapes me; I'm bad with names. We ran about 7:45 to 8:00 per mile for most the run, I have a tendency to push the pace of whoever I'm running with, Kristin called it "The Doug Effect." I'm not sure if its a good thing or not!
The miles rolled on. Five dogs, three gu's, a lot of Gatorade, and 23 1/2 miles later, I arrived back at the club house. Wait! Crap! 23.5?! The hardest part of the run had to be running past the club house for a quarter mile and back to get my full distance in, but I made it! Afterwards my legs felt pretty heavy, but I doubt anybody is very surprised by that. I have no pain that feels like injury, just the usual muscle soreness after a long run.
I stuck around and socialized for a while, talking to the various runners who were still around. One guy asked me "Does UK's track coach know you're here in Lexington?", which I thought was quite the compliment, but I definitely don't have time to be on the team! Traveling to meets takes up way too much time, and I'm not sure if graduate students can join the team anyways.
During my run today, I was talking to Ken about various races we were planning to do. I mentioned that I was considering doing a 50k in January. When he was leaving, he said five words that hit home, "good luck with your ultra!" Woah. I've never heard anybody say that to me before! This very well made it official that I'm going to be running that 50k. Five words is all it took.
Eventually I left, and on the way back listened to some of my favorite songs lately, by Switchfoot: This is your life, Meant to live, and (appropriately) Twenty Four.
On the way back, though, I saw a car accident which easily could have been me. It was near an interstate off ramp intersecting the road I was on. The light was green, so I was going through. The van waiting at the light from the off ramp was making a right turn, and was edging forward to go after me. However, the truck behind the van thought they were going. When the van stopped, the truck slammed into it. Not like a fender bender, either. The van's back window completely shattered and the truck's air bag went off.
Nobody looked injured, although the person in the van looked shaken up. I can't help but think if the van wasn't there, the truck would have ran straight into me since he clearly wasn't paying attention. People aren't joking when they say accidents happen fast, either. All of it happened really, really fast.
And now I'm recovering from my run with my post-run lunch of champions: Hamburger Helper. Carbs to restore some fuel, lots of protein to rebuild muscles, and plenty of tastiness to go around! All with a big glass of OJ to get some sugars.
I think its time for a well earned post-run nap!