Happy Easter.  Today was a busy day spent with my beautiful wife and four kids.  We really enjoyed the simplicity that a family holiday at our house was able to provide.  This morning it was all about making a full holiday breakfast including: eggs, potatoes, fresh fruit, toast and even some wonderful blueberry coffee cake.  Needless to say, after eating a meal like that I was full – probably too full!  After breakfast it was time for the kids to hunt for their Easter eggs.  It sure was fun to watch the little one run around finding eggs for the first time (being 18 months old, last Easter she wasn’t doing much finding on her own).  After the egg hunt – and the baby’s nap, we all piled in the car for a trip to a local shopping area where they had an Easter bunny, another egg hunt and free chocolates from a ‘fancy’ chocolate shop there.  This was such a nice decision to go here (my wife’s idea) – we were able to relax and just watch the four kids run around without a care in the world.  Plus, the chocolates they gave away also included some that were white chocolate (which since I am allergic to regular chocolate was a welcome surprise).

After the egg hunt(s), eating, resting and playing (we played a game of Qwirkle with the kids while the baby took her nap), it was time to get motivated to go for a run!  I only had 20 minutes on the training schedule for today, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to fit that in.  Well, my stomach still had not recovered from the morning feast, so I was worried that even 20 minutes would be too much… so, I delayed – and delayed some more.  Finally, by 5:00 I was ready to get over this mental block and get my run in.  To make it more interesting, I gave myself a personal challenge, try to run 2 miles in the 20 minutes.  I know… a 10 minute mile isn’t fast… I get it.  But for me, in my current state, it is a 110% effort.  Yes, 2 years ago I completed a half marathon and was able to run a 10min pace for 11 of those 13 miles.  But, today is a different day.  —  Today my goal was to run 2 miles in 20 minutes.  If you look at my past runs, my pace has moved from a 13+, to a 12.5, to 12, down to 11 in my most recent run.  So, dropping another minute per mile is a stretch goal… even if it is for only 2 miles.  — OK, enough with the justification and rambling… let’s get to the run.

I started with a short warm up to wake up the legs and see if my stomach was going to cooperate – all seemed fine.  So, at the corner, I started my Garmin 310XT and took off.  I set out at a 9:45 pace, figuring my pace would slow when I hit the hill just before the 1 mile marker.  I trudged onward… left right repeat – left right repeat – over and over.  I felt good.  I felt faster than before.  I felt as though I could hold this 9:45 pace for some time.  Move it… Move it… left right…  I was going for it.  I am sure to anyone who saw me, I was basically going for a walk… but for me, I was going for it.   And then — — the hill.  Now, this is no large hill.  This is a small incline.  But it was enough to slow my pace a little.  But more than slowing my pace… it wore me out.  Pushing, pulling, running 215lbs with my legs up a hill (any hill) is no easy task.  So, my pace suffered.  But then it buzzed… my Garmin buzzed indicating that I just finished my mile at a pace of …. 10:04.  That isn’t too bad – only 4 seconds off of my pace reach goal.  Now, it was time for the 2nd mile.

Mile 2 began with me turning around and running back down the small hill.  This was a welcome relief – I was able to stride longer and faster down the hill, but then… the hill ended.  And then I was forced to use my own energy to once again move me forward.  I felt tired.  I felt worn out.  That first mile took a lot of energy – and yes, I reached my goal (almost), but I spent a lot of energy making it there.  So, I was presented with a mental challenge.  I had to get home – and the only way home was the one mile long sidewalk I was on.  So, I could be weak and give up and walk home – or I could slow down my pace by quite a bit and shuffle home – or I could put the bad thoughts out of my head and go for as quick of a pace as I could set for the remaining mile.  —  OK… let’s do this.

I knew I wanted to ultimately break my previous run pace of 10:59, so, I knew I had that in the bag… as long as I ran a pace better than 12 minutes on the return trip, I would have that.  But I wanted better.  What if I could run a sub 11 min mile home?  OK.  That was my new goal.  Let’s run 10:45 and get a good average pace for this 20 minute run.  —  I pushed on.  I ran.  Left Right Repeat.  Over and over.  I looked at my Garmin way more times than I needed to.  I pushed.  I slogged.  I shuffled.  But… I made it.  I hit the end of my 20 minute workout only 0.08 miles short of 2 miles.  This meant that my return run was at a 10:44 pace, which ultimately gave me an average pace of 10:23 min/mile.  Whew.  I finished very happy.

Today’s workout:

Plan: 20 minute run

Actual: 20:00 at an average pace of 10:23