Yesterday was one of those runs where everything just felt right. I had been nursing a sore back all week, which had left me tired, grouchy, and very frustrated. The injury wasn’t debilitating, but it became annoying very quickly. I wasn’t able to get in my scheduled mile repeats on Thursday, but I felt close to 100% when I woke up on Sunday. I headed to McAllister to meet Tom and Kimberly, and we were joined by Scott , Jessica, Herb, and Joe T as well. The plan was to cruise through an easy 4-5 miles, then pick up the pace for another 5-6 (for everyone else), followed by a solo loop of 10 miles at “race pace”. I was feeling good, and I guess I took off a little faster than I had promised I would. I was just excited to be running on dry trails under a crystal clear blue sky with temps in the 30s. Perfect running weather!!! I had fun talking to everyone, first following Joe, then trying to keep up with Tom “the Rocket” Bowling, who seemed to be dialed in. After 8+ miles, Tom stepped aside and let me lead, and I took us to the end of loop 1, where I said goodbye to everyone and headed back out. The first several miles had been run at a mid 9 minute pace, while the last few were certainly under 9. I felt good and continued to push my pace, averaging 1 9”06 pace for the total 20 miles. I really enjoyed running with good friends, but I equally enjoyed the time I got to spend alone, just me, my music, and the deer. What a great way to start the day.
All in all, I was quite pleased with my run, as I feel like I am rounding into decent shape and putting myself in a good position to break 5 hours at the Prickly Pear 50K next weekend. I just hope the course conditions resemble what I encountered yesterday.