On the last evening of our stay on the Delaware shore. Staying in a great place right on the bay. We've been without internet since Sunday but this morning the laptop picked up a wireless signal and so now I can sit on the porch overlooking the bay and write some stuff while the sun sets.
I'll keep this to running. I've gotten a workout in every day while I've been here. It started off slow, as we got in to Dewey Beach on Saturday night and I set out and did five miles easy in 43:31. As I said before, we are right on the bay and its one block to the main highway, Route 1, and then another block to the ocean. So the only choice I have runningwise is whether to go north (toward town) or south (through Seashore State Park) on Route 1. The latter is by far the better choice, and you decide how far you want to go, divide by two, and make it an out and back. On Saturday night I was limited in my miles by underestimating how quickly darkness would set in.
Sunday was Father's Day, and the family took me out to brunch at 10 am. After that it was boardwalk, beach and a nap and it was really hard to motivate for a run. I left a little earlier than the evening before, and went out four miles before I realized that my final miles would again be in pitch darkness. The silver lining here was that, as yesterday, I got to see a beautiful sunset over the bay before it got dark. Both evenings I had on my iPod and took it all in with a playlist of long driving blues numbers. Blues at sunset. 8 miles in about 62:00 and I'd resigned myself to having my weekly mileage be in the toilet. 43.5 miles, a little over half of what I was shooting for.
I'm free associating what I remember of my recent runs. I'll give a little background on running on Route 1. The best way to describe it is that it is like running on a treadmill only you're going somewhere. Route 1 is completely flat and almost completely straight until you get out 5 miles and there is a bridge over the Indian River. There is a steady progression of dunes with little to break it up and a steady stream of traffic coming towards you. If you don't feel a wind running out, you get rudely awakened on turning around to a steady headwind. This is one of the few places that I use my Forerunner, as due to the lack of interfereable objects its one of the few places where it gives me accurate distance readings. I took my iPod along on Monday and Wednesday, and left it on Tuesday and today, when I did my more serious runs.
Monday I did 12. Out to the bridge, over it and a bit further, and then turn around. I wanted to see how much faster I can do the back six than the front six. The combination of Forerunner and the flat straightaway gave each run a track feeling. I logged splits on the mile and ran out in 8:22, 7:59, 59, 40, 8:04, 7:56. Turning around I hit a massive headwind, reminding me why I would never run a marathon down here. I tried picking things up and got bad flashbacks of Grandma's marathon (almost a year to the day) and logged 7:39, 7:59, 43, 59, 45, 8:51. I don't know how that last mile happened but because of it the front and back end splits were virtually identical. 12 miles in 96:03, right at 8 minute pace.
Wind was lighter on Tuesday and in the opposite direction, so I got a bit of a tailwind. Going out my first mile was over 8 and the rest were between 6:30 and 7:30. Turning around, the rest of the miles were in this range except for one that I nailed in 5:58. I'm not going to do the math, but the back 7 must have been a little faster than the front seven. Ideally I wanted to try to get down to marathon pace, but it wasn't working for me that morning. However, the 14 miles went in 97:15, meaning that I averaged a 6:57 pace. I'll take that.
I don't feel like picking apart all of my runs, so I'll go to condense mode. Yesterday was supposed to be an easy ten, same out and back that was becoming way too familiar. Had a new cd by a guy called Little Axe on the iPod. Blues purists cringe at the electronic noodling, the hypnotic, rave-like approach to standard blues songs, and the self-consciousness of the impact that he is said to have had on Moby, but this is great stuff to run to. These beats just go on and on and on. The music drove me to do ten in 75:09 at a pretty steady 7:30 pace.
And finally todays run was again without the iPod. Although running along the dunes is great, it is also monotonous, and doing 14 miles of this is a mental workout. Which was one of the reasons that I chose to run without music. I think of it like meditating, keeping my mind busy on nothing. The Forerunner also was out of juice, so I was left with my regular stopwatch and couldn't entertain myself with mile splits. I remembered where the 6-mile turnaround was, and I averaged my pace at that point and decided to turn around when I hit 53 minutes. Again I wanted badly to negative split and I was again hit with a strong headwind going back. I used roadside mile markers to time two of my miles going back in 13:20, so I was doing alright and finished the back 7 in 50:30, a decent negative split. This gives me 14 in 103:31, a good bit slower than Tuesday's run.
So that gets me up to date. I've been writing at this for too long and looking back I think if I had to write this again I would have just listed the distance/times and focused on other stuff. I feel that I have spent too much time on times and split times and all that stuff, and now don't have the stamina to write down thoughts, ideas, and observations. Many of these will be lost to posterity, and perhaps that will not be such a bad thing but its really what I find more rewarding about this blog. I think this is one more argument against a Forerunner, if anyone is considering getting one, is that ultimately it just bogs you down with more data. In the last four days I have logged 50 miles, which is exactly the type of high mileage days that I want to get in. Yet the more I scrutinize my splits the more I wish I went faster, paced myself differently, etc. to the point where I ruin my sense of accomplishment and bore anyone who has still stuck around this far into the post.
The more I think about it this way, the more I just want to flush my Forerunner. I guess that qualifies as an insight, but nuff said about that. I'll end this already too long entry with a dilemma I faced this morning. It is a fairly substantial problem on Route 1 that turtles, being of limited brain, venture across the highway and get their limited brains splattered all along road. I saw several turtle carcasses and this morning, in the middle of my 13:20 interval I saw the only live turtle I've sofar seen just start to venture upon the road. I ran right by it, but was bothered the whole rest of the run by whether I should have stopped the turtle and, if so, what I should have done. I pray he made it across, if not for his sake then to relieve my guilt, but of course I will never know. And I still don't know what I'll do if I come across another turtle attempting the same foolishness.
Well, it is completely dark now. I'm tired of writing and just want to curl up with the novel I'm currently reading, Zola's La Debacle
, until I fall asleep. Hey, it is vacation and this is my last night of it.