Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another Run Through The Rollag Hills

My knee was still giving me some trouble week before last. The good news was that running really didn't seem to aggrevate it. I missed the group run and did my long run on Sunday. The temperature was nice, but there was a very strong SSE wind. I started my run heading south into the wind. It became quite challenging after only a couple of miles. I was finally able to turn west and enjoy sort of a quartering tailwind for a while. The wind became an issue again when I made the turn for home. I was able to finish 10 miles and was happy with that. I didn't want to push my knee too far too soon.

This first half of this last week was incredibly busy at work. I actually got off work very early on Thusday since I alread had more than forty hours in. It seems that all of the physically demanding work fixed the stiffness and pain in my knee. It's feeling good as new. Since I had Friday off I went for a short 3 mile run in the middle of the morning. It turned out to be my fastest 3 miles yet.

Saturday morning was the "birthday run" to celebrate Jon's and Rachel's birthday. It was a fantastic morning for this run. The temperature started a little on the cool side and there was some fog. By late morning it had become rather warm and sunny. Originally I had hoped to try for a 31 mile run, but since I haven't been putting a lot of miles in I figured I'd just go as far as I could.

Jon, Erin, Rachel, Penny, Lou, and I enjoyed a wonderful run along some very scenic back roads. We all ran at the same relaxed long run pace. After about 3.5 miles Jon turned around and went to get his "birthday present" bike. His knee has been giving him some problems lately, so he chose to do more cycling today. His new ride is a white Pugsley bike with some monster tires. It is really cool!
Since Maggie is five months along in her pregnancy she drove Rachel's truck and was the crew for us. It was reassuring to have water and other supplies readily available. She also took some great pictures and cheered us on. She would get her run with Rachel in after the rest of us had completed ours.

Some day soon I will run an ultra marathon, so going on long runs with experieced ultra runners is alway a great learning opportunity. Rachel gave us some very helpful tips along the way. Both she and Jon reminded us to take the time to enjoy our surroundings. This is one of the main attractions of running a longer race. It seems that many of the runners in these longer races don't hesitate to stop and snap some photos of the scenery.

Maggie Took This of the Group
The training schedule called for a run of 17 miles. Penny and Lou finished 16 miles. Lou had never run more than 13.1 before. It was really great that she was able to set a new longest distance for herself. Rachel, Erin, and I added a short out and back section and finished with 18 miles! We all enjoyed some of Rachel's birthday cake. Jon and Erin had brought some candied bacon (yumm), and I had made some coconut sugar cookie bars. It was a crazy kind of sugar filled feeding frenzy.

Rachel and Maggie still had to run another 13 or 14 miles so we said our goodbye's and left for home. I saw on the Daily Mile website that Maggie (and the future runner growing inside her) ran just over 13 miles. Rachel finished the day having run a little more than 31 miles! They also face a drastic shift in the weather. What started out to be a warm sunny day suddenly became very cold and brutally windy. They are two of the toughest people I know.

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