Today’s run was the becoming legendary 6am Charlotte Running Club run from the Dowd YMCA. Week in week out you can turn up at the back porch of the Dowd YMCA at 6am and know you are going to meet up with a bunch of likeminded individuals eager to bash out a 7-9 mile run at 7-7:30 pace, rain or shine. The route is the same each week and depending on what distance people decide upon you either do the short, medium or long Colville loop- generally the latter which gives you a good 9 mile run.
I consider 9 miles at 7 minute pace my ‘meat and potatoes’ run, my default run if you like. Any shorter than an hour and it is likely to be a recovery or pre race run, any faster and it’s a workout, any longer and we’re getting into ‘long run’ territory. So being able to share my meat and potatoes with a bunch of other people is ideal rather than doing it on my own!
This morning was no different and give or take a few exceptions (notably the Crockfords and CRC President Linz) the usual faces were ready to roll out at 6am. Two points to note here. Firstly AJ wasn’t there. Although his bright and breezy demeanor and company would be sadly missed the pace he sets on these runs wouldn’t- we could hopefully count on none of the miles being sub 7 pace now. Secondly, Spada WAS there. This is rare. Steve likes to be done and breakfasting by 6am and has an undeniably logical theory that driving further than you are going to run is a futile exercise! He isn’t one for hanging around and will often park his car as close to the finish line as possible at races so that he can be home before most people have even finished the race- and we love him for it!
Anyway, back to the run and I have to say my legs felt a whole lot better than yesterday. There’s a lot to be said for those recovery runs at 8 mile pace. It may surprise a few people that someone who typically runs at 7 minute pace does run at 8 minute pace from time to time but I have done it a few times now and it really does seem to make a difference, especially after a particularly hard workout like I had on Tuesday. This morning we did the long loop so 9 miles and then I tagged on an extra mile and a half at the end plus some striders in the parking lot to take the run to 11 miles and set myself up for a day off tomorrow before the race on Saturday.
The race should be fun from a competitive standpoint. Up front Jordan will likely put on his usual dominating performance and you can normally count on one ‘surprise entrant’ showing up. Behind, there are a bunch of guys who so far this season have finished just behind me and who knows how fit they have been able to get in the 7 weeks since the last race? Also, Aaron (possibly) and Jay will be toeing the line. For one reason or another the three of us have rarely toed the line together when we are all fit. At our most recent race in a 5k a few weeks back Jay thoroughly had my measure and he will again on Saturday if I run like I did at last week’s race. We joked this morning that Saturday would be a great deal easier if we both just ‘jogged’ together until the last downhill and then just raced from there. It’s going to be hot and humid out there and people are going to have to be ready for a lot of hurt!
By frontloading my mileage this week I am able to experiment with a day off tomorrow before the race and still get my planned 70 in for the week. Typically I always run the day before a race but I am trying something different this time round as I try to pull myself out of my racing ‘funk’. Check back in on Saturday and see how it all shook out….....