Dare I say it?
Austin is showing signs of spring.
It’s gotten a slow start–last week during Spring Break temps were quite a bit cooler than usual. But this week, things started looking up. Monday morning I saw a scout team bluebonnet, and by the end of the week they covered the hill behind my school and many a highway median.
This morning, it was 64* with 100% humidity as I headed out for 6-8 miles. Heely Sonova again. Part of me wanted to take the shorter run–the hills kick in around mile three, so for a total of six I’d stop and turn back just before the first big hill–but with the Capitol 10K (and its monster mid-race hill) coming up, I wanted to get in a good practice hill while I had the chance. I figured if I felt good after three miles, I’d run the hill for the longer distance.
Around 2.5 miles, my companions and I stopped for water. I haven’t been carrying my own water–in cooler weather, the Rogue water stops work just fine for me. But I can tell it’s warming up and I will need to dig out my hand-held bottle pretty soon.
The water cooler sat on a corner that was covered in bluebonnets, but misfortune had befallen some of the little flowers. Evidently a car had jumped the curb and smashed into a fence on the corner.
Like I said, the route is reasonably flat until about mile three. We took it easy, and while I’m never fully awake or cheerful in the morning, I felt okay. Much better than the last two Saturdays, for sure. So up the hill we went. It’s not even a half-mile long, but it’s pretty steep. Last week I would have complained and grumbled and cursed the whole way up, but today I channeled my inner drill sergeant. I think I actually said something aloud about how putting in the work today will pay off on race day.
At the top of the hill, one of my companions peeled off and headed back because she had a family obligation this morning. So two of us carried on to make it an even four miles before turning back. We’d gotten the difficult part out of the way early, and the return trip was mostly downhill.
I was sleepy-tired and my brain was foggy, but physically I felt okay. Unfortunately my running buddy started feeling ill around mile five, and we walked some. Took a break at the bluebonnet water stop and ran-walked the rest of the way back to Rogue.
Isn’t that always how things go? The last two Saturdays when we’ve run together I’ve felt slow and sluggish. Today my legs were strong and I could have easily run the entire eight miles, but she felt funky. She encouraged me to go ahead without her, but that didn’t seem right. In a race? Maybe. But an easy-paced Saturday long run? Nah, I could take it slowly and keep her company.
Besides, this may be my last Saturday long run for a while. Next Saturday morning we’re running a 5K race, and the following weekend is the Capitol 10K. That race is on Sunday, but I’m not going to drag my sorry ass up early on Saturday for a long run the day before a 10K race. Sleep late, I will. And the weekend after that is the Austin 10/20–again, a Sunday race but a sleep-late Saturday. Three consecutive weekends, three increasingly longer races. Yep, it’s spring!