It was a gorgeous day today. The temperature was hot, but there was a slight breeze that stirred the scents of the freshly mowed lawns filling my senses with the joys of a summer run. I quickly approached Essex and forgot all about the ACL surgery that I tore back in June. My pace was quicker than I would have liked as I held a steady 7:55 for the first 1/2 mile but I didn't want to back off so I pushed forward letting the music in my ears guide each step on the asphalt. Before I knew it I had rounded Windmill Point and was now running into the wind. My breath labored as I tried to keep up the pace, but soon I would surrender to the heat and the current wind direction. "I'll just run up the fire hydrant" I thought to distract myself from falling further from my initial pace.
A man turned down from one of the side streets and was now only about 1/10 of a mile ahead of me; his appearance and stride led me to believe that he was an experienced runner. I always wonder where other runners have been and where they will go once they are out of my sight and I often wonder if they don't question the same thing about me. I appeared to be keeping the same pace with him which made me feel good considering my condition and as much as I wanted to keep going, I knew it was time to head back.
After making the turn at the fire hydrant I had the wind at my back. It's funny how it doesn't seem nearly as strong when it's at your back as it is when you're running into it. My pace had dropped significantly on my return though and I was now clocking only an 8:20 for the last 1/4 mile. I wanted my over all pace to be below 8:15 so I had a bit of ground to make up. I dug deep and found what seemed like my last piece of energy and picked up the pace. I distracted myself with images crossing the finish line after running a great race; one particular race that I enjoyed was the Boston Marathon in 2007. It was one of those races that started out with absolutely horrible weather. The wind howled and the rain came down at severe horizontal angles, but despite all that was bad in the beginning I was able to pull off a great PR time of 3:51:29 which made the pain I endured all worth it in the end. Not all events that I draw upon for strength when I feel like I'm going to die like the Grand Prix Shakedown recently where I ran a 41:39 in the heat of the evening on the 26. Then there was the joy I felt when my team the Aardvarks and Artichokes placed 4th overall at the Great Lakes Relay! These are the things that help me focus on the moment and make it happen.
I didn't look at my Garmin for that last mile and my legs were feeling heavy. It seemed like I would never make it home; I had gotten some sweat in my eyes but didn't stop to wipe it out and kept on going all the way home. My overall pace... 8:14! That was pretty darn good considering the events of the day and temperature. I was happy as a lark, crashed on the couch and fell into a deep peaceful slumber.