It’s starting to look and smell like fall, but it doesn’t feel like fall. I can hear the sound of leaves starting to crunch under my feet, and the softness of the trail from all the pine straw, but the temps have been still lingering in the middle 90s. I can hardly wait for cooler conditions so my pace will increase by up to a minute per mile. I’ve been slowly getting my base back with 40-50 mpw. I started doing some speed work and have discovered I haven’t lost too much time. My last set went like this: 5X400 at 1:25 per repeat, and 3X800 at 3:07 per repeat. I lost the most time on my 800 repeats compared to before. My tempo runs are hurting and hopefully the cooler temps and increasing miles will improve my pace in this area. I’ve also been finding it challenging to stay motivated during my long run. I think a lot of this has to do with my chaotic schedule and no race commitments except for the FATS 50K in a couple weeks. Nevertheless, no pressure or injuries, slow buildup, and be thankful for what the day gives me. And thoughts of RR100 have been creeping into my head! Can I go sub 24???
Last week I did get a chance to run with my son’s cross country team and it was awesome. If any of you get the opportunity to run with a school CC team, don’t pass it up. The coach introduced me as an Ultra runner which instantly sparked interest among the team. One girl asked me how many times around Blanchard Park (3 mile hilly loop) I would run? I replied anywhere from 10 to 13 times around for a long training run. Her jaw hit the ground in disbelief. I was asked how far have I ran, how long did it take, how many mile per week do I train, what do I eat, do I use salt tabs…??? After 20+ minutes of questions, the coach had to cut them off so they could get their run in. It was nice to run with these young runners and motivate them during the course. I talked about how to attack the course and how to mentally prepare before hitting the starting line. The coach gave me an unlimited invitation to help anytime I was available. To be honest, I got more out of it then the students, and it felt good to be sharing, as I saw a bright future in all their eyes. Who knows, one or two may complete a marathon or become an ultra runner some day. The future looks bright!
The last part of this post is about being humbled. The company I work for is breaking ground on a new type of electrical generator which will be the first in the USA, and 2nd among the world. The Chinese are building the first one and we have established a limited network to share info. I have 5 very intelligent Chinese men assigned to my shift which I will be working with over the next couple of months to understand our culture differences. They have been hand picked, advanced degrees, speak basic English, very nice, polite, and most respectful. The young man I talked with has a wife and a 4 year old son. They are not allowed to have anymore children unless approved. He was in complete awe that we can travel to the next town without permission, no limits on the number of children in a family, that I welcome feedback from my employees for improving assigned tasks (they would never question or give feedback - only obey orders), and that I don’t go by a formal title when being called. It took him awhile to call me by my first name! They are also not use to seeing woman in authoritative positions, which will be an awakening for them. There about 40 years behind us with respect to woman in the work force. This should be an interesting encounter, and I’m sure I will learn as much about their culture as they become fascinated with ours.
Finally, a bit of motivation from a YouTube video - Very awesome (Thanks Sherpa John).