Along comes Stephanie, who decided to join me for an easy run in my neighborhood. She was chipper and bounded out of bed.
"Good morning! Good morning!" she exclaimed, dancing around the house. (Of course, her photo doesn't back that claim up, but that had more to do with surprising her with the camera at 6:30 a.m.)
Fortunately, her energy charged me up. This was the first time in several months that Steph decided to come running with me, mostly because my Fortius training schedule called for an "easy" run. I convinced her last night that easy meant running at any pace I wanted to and that she wouldn't be holding me back.
Getting Steph to hold herself back though, that's another story. She has always liked sprinting as hard as possible for as long as possible, until she just couldn't exercise any more. I used to tell her that her exercise style was somewhat of a metaphor for how she lived life -- never slowing down, rushing from one thing to the next, go-go-go-go!
This morning was different though. I was able to show Steph the value of pacing. We started off with a walk for five minutes before transitioning into something loosely resembling a jog. We gradually increased our speed but never accelerated beyond a capacity to hold a conversation. While it was hard for Steph at first -- not going at full throttle meant to her that she wasn't burning calories -- she stayed with the plan. Easy does it.
We maintained our casual pace for about 20 minutes before Steph had to get back to the condo and prepare for work. I told her from the beginning the goal of the workout was for her to feel like she had more left in her fuel tank when she returned home. She should feel refreshed and energized, not winded and spent.
That went out the window at the last street corner. Steph ratcheted up the speed to about my 10k pace for the last 200 yards of our run...and gasped for air once we reached the front steps of the condo.
Old habits die hard! I didn't discourage her either, running side-by-side and letting her dictate the pace.
We walked another few hundred yards to restore her heart rate. After bidding my new training partner adieu, I continued my jog for another 40 minutes. I wonder if my watch was broken because it certainly felt like I was running faster than 11-minute miles. But, that's what the Garmin indicated. I suppose it had something to do with last night's brick but I felt better than my speed indicated. Strange.
Now, I'm signing off to pack for this weekend's training activity: Fortius Racing Goes Camping. That's right, my Ironman training team is heading up to the site of the Wildflower Triathlon on May 1-2 for a weekend of training and instruction. It's a four-hour drive from Sherman Oaks, so I'm taking the rest of the week off from work. How many people take a vacation to work out?
Only us crazy Iron Madmen!
I likely won't have internet or cell phone access starting this afternoon, so there won't be a blog entry for Friday and probably Saturday. Considering that my new spam filter indicates only a couple people are clicking on the blog links via Twitter, I know you're probably not that broken up about the break.
I will take plenty of photos for those friends who are competing at Wildflower and write a full report on what to expect. Until then, get out there and train!
237 days and counting.