Last Saturday seemed like a good time for a six-mile reality check and a Dare to Compare season wrap, all in one. The Dare to Compare challenge has prompted me to run through the woods near the Chattahoochee River and over concrete sidewalks near downtown Decatur.
A couple of weeks ago when a friend who runs marathons invited me to join him in a six-mile run around his central DeKalb neighborhood, I jumped at the chance.
My marathoner friend, Warren, read a couple of my training chronicles on this page and saw I am trying to finish the AJC Peachtree Road Race in less than an hour. It took me all spring to improve from two-mile untimed jogs in Ansley Park to a couple of five mile 48-minute runs down Peachtree Street.
He suggested either a four-mile or six-mile loop around his neighborhood. I already felt pretty comfortable running four miles every other day. So his offer seemed like a great opportunity to get outside my comfort zone and run six ten-minute miles, paced by someone who could do that easily, barely breaking a sweat.
Last Saturday morning at 8 a.m. the temperature was in the 70s and the humidity made it – for me – a sopping wet heat. Warren and I took off from his driveway off a quiet street near the Ponderosa neighborhood off LaVista Road.
Warren checked his watch along the way and called out our split times. We maintained about a 10-minute pace until we neared the crest of a steep hill around the end of mile four. At that point he still maintained the pace. But I was dripping sweat, breathing hard, and the hill seemed to sap the energy out of my legs. I walked the last 100 yards or so.
At the top of the hill I started running again and finished the last two miles at or near the target pace. Still, I won’t run a six mile course again before the Peachtree and I have yet to prove to myself if that I don’t have a willpower issue waiting for me at the top of Cardiac Hill.
When we completed the loop at Warren’s driveway he reported we’d run the six miles (more or less) in 1:01. During the post-mortem, he suggested that because I’m on the borderline of making my one-hour Peachtree goal I might have to pick up some time during the first two miles when the course is relatively flat and downhill.
As we talked and guzzled a sports drink, perspiration puddled around my feet. He barely broke a sweat.
Has a friend taken you under wing this year and helped you get a little better, or have you been the wing supplier? Discuss.