Saturday, July 16, 2011

An 11-mile run: In pictures

Given my lack of running this week, I was a little worried how this morning's 11-mile run would go.Would I die after a mile or two? Have to take way too many walk breaks? Rest breaks? End up calling for a ride home? How about I just opt for the 7-mile option.

Nope. Peggy was there. Jeff was running with us. This 11-miles was going to get run, gosh darn it. It wasn't really hot, hovering right around 70, but it was already starting to get humid. And best of all? It was completely overcast. No sun to bake us! The other runners in our group kind of milled around for a bit, prolonging the inevitable. Yes, sometime we'd have to start running. Peggy and I? We just wanted to get it done with. So we took off.

And because everyone likes pictures, I'm giving you the sights that I saw as I busted out 11 miles this morning.

The parking lot where we start. Remember that silver garbage can. It'll be key in about 2 hours or so.

We head out of the park and onto country roads. And since this is a Fleet Feet training group run, it wouldn't be complete without hills. Lots of them. We start early. Right around Mile 1.

If we're lucky we get a red light with lots of cross traffic right just before Mile 2. Most days we aren't lucky and we "run" the red light. Today we weren't lucky.

So far most of this run has been in the blazing sun. Not a whole lot of shade. After hitting up the highway overpass we turn into a neighborhood right at Mile 3. The best part? Shade. Lots of it.

We visit the second park of the run right around Mile 4. On the really hot days it's tempting to take a detour and find an excuse to go to the family ice center. Still looking for that excuse.

Out of the park and back to a busier road. Thankfully there are many options if an emergency bathroom break is needed.

Once we go back over the highway overpass again we head off onto a recreational trail right around Mile 5ish. Once again. Lots of shade. I like the trail. But we're not on it very long. Back into a shadeless neighborhood.

Oh! It's the high school I went to. And today we were lucky because they were watering the soccer fields. Yes. I ran through the sprinklers. All three of them. It was just what I needed at that point.

Back onto the road to the park. Except we're not almost done. We're only at Mile 7.5ish and still have 3.5 miles to go. So instead of taking the steep Ballard Road hill, where I often channel my inner J.J. Watt, we head off to the right. En route to a longer, steeper hill.

The hill. It's steep. And long. And mean. Because you think you're at the top, but then it curves a little bit and you find out it keeps going up. A rough one to run up, but very satisfying once you get it done. Today, it wasn't so good. Up until this point I was feeling good on the run. But about halfway up the hill my vision started to go wacky. I slowed to a walk for a few moments. Realized I hadn't been drinking enough fluid or taking my Gu Chomps on a regular basis. I got some fluid in me and started to feel better. So I started to run again.

This subdivision is full of mansions. Huge houses. The kind of houses I think I'd need a map for to find my way from the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom. We've spent many miles wondering which one will let us in for a Saturday morning breakfast. Or even to use their bathroom if needed. While the subdivision is constant rolling hills, at least the houses give you good scenery too keep your mind distracted.

We're done with the subdivision. We've got maybe 1.5 miles left. The end is in sight. Back on to a country road. And back uphill we go. We pass a turkey heading into the subdivision along with a flock of ruffed grouse.

We keep running until we hit the final turn onto the road that will take us back to the park. And of course there's one last downhill and uphill.

We turn into the park. Pass the sand beach, which doesn't seem to open until long after we're done with our run, and some baseball fields. My Garmin dings. 11 miles. But we've still got decent distance to cover. With one last baby hill into the parking lot. I actually pick up the pace. Once my vision went back to normal in the mansion subdivision I took it easy for a bit, but was feeling good that last mile. Ended with a nice kick into the finish.

The silver garbage can. The official sign to hit stop on the Garmin and stop running.

In all the run was 11.4 miles and I finished it in 2 hours, 13 minutes. Other than that brief episode on the hill, I felt pretty good throughout the run, which was surprising given my lack of running this week. Granted my legs and hips are screaming at me tonight. I'll deal with it though. Because doesn't that mean I worked hard today?

I hope you enjoyed the pictorial tour of my 11-mile run today. And yes, these pictures were obviously taken long after the actual run was done. And thankfully the run got done before the massive heat wave is supposed to hit Wisconsin tomorrow. They're talking about highs in the mid-90s Sunday with a heat index between 100 and 110 degrees. Not really looking forward to it.

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