August 2, 2009

Perpetuum mobile

Running 20 miles in circles does not have any obvious relation to human achievement, but it sure is fun.

Marathon Training Run #2 in Central Park yesterday. The park was replete with water stations, beautiful weather, and fabulous scenery. I ran slowly enough to take it all in. My long run base pace is 80% of my marathon pace, so I stayed with the 8:30 group.

I felt pretty good the whole way, and was really just watching for signs of injury. In fact my legs felt great afterward. I'm think I'm happier about that than the actual mileage. I'm running a lot less this cycle than I did in the spring, when injury prevented me from running the Brooklyn Half.

Running with a group doesn't let you get into a flow the way a solo run would. The pacers help eliminate some of the decision-making, but constantly re-establishing a place in the pack keeps you well out of nirvana.

Still, the day was perfect and the company was good. At Mile 19 our pacer started shouting, "Sprint, sprint, sprint if you got it!". What the hell, I ran the last mile about a minute faster. As I neared the 20-mile marker I heard someone coming up behind me. I accelerated. He drew up past me and accelerated too. I started a full sprint. He was in a full sprint. We were both laughing, because a 50-yard sprint after 20 slow miles is hardly the Olympics. He beat me, but it was a total rush.

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