Thursday, February 09, 2012

Speedwork and a Surprise Visitor

First, our surprise visitor.

Yesterday morning at about 6:30, Seamus and Calvin started barking and whining, running around the house in circles and acting agitated and excited. I jumped out of bed and went to the side door, which leads to our screened in porch, opened it - and then slammed it again. There was a dog on the porch. A big one.

I pushed my dogs back into the bedroom, put on a pair of shoes, and went back to the porch. The dog was still there. He was very friendly and seemed thrilled to see me, and I could see he was wearing a collar, so I grabbed him and put him in my backyard. Luckily, there was a phone number on his tag. I called it and the dog's owner was very happy to hear from me. A few minutes later, dog and owner were reunited and I had fulfilled my karmic duties before even brushing my teeth. Not too shabby. 

Oh, and don't think I didn't consider keeping the dog and loving him forever. I did, of course, but Nathan talked me out of it. Mostly because the dog clearly had a home, but also because we have enough dogs. For now.

Later that morning, after walking my own boys and critiquing my students' stories in preparation for tomorrow's workshop, I went for a quick run. I only had time for three miles so I decided to do one of my favorite workouts - a progressive. Basically, you run each mile slightly faster than the last. It's a nice way to ease into speedwork and focus on pacing. I don't know if it was the perfectly cool and gray weather, or if I was still riding the karma-high from my good deed, but this was by far my best progressive yet.

Mile 1: 9:29
Mile 2: 8:40
Mile 3: 7:53!!!

I've only run a sub-8 minute mile on a few occasions - that is, during a 5K, or if I'm running a single mile as fast as I possibly can - so to run a 7:53 after two decently paced miles meant I finished my run feeling like a total bad ass. Even though I've been bummed about the lack of races in my future, it's been nice to focus less on endurance and more on speed, and it seems to be paying off. Naturally, I want to make an official goal out of this - run a sub-24 minute 5K by summer, do speed work four times a week, try out for the Olympics - but I'm fighting the urge. Sometimes it's nice to run, challenge myself, and feel good about the small victories without the pressure of a huge goal on the horizon, to find joy in a single run, even if it's not a direct step toward something bigger. I'm sure there's a profound lesson in this, but it's 8:00AM and I'm still on my first cup of coffee. If you find it, do me a favor and let me know.