Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Eight Miles and One More

What a lovely, cool almost-fall morning, 49 degrees at the start. I need to bring a camera someday soon, to capture the wildflowers along the railroad track. I bothered a little clutch of goldfinches, too, as I jogged along, perhaps flushing them up from their nighttime perches in the bush.

Friend Jim taught me to count paces last time we ran. Today I timed it, and discovered that I run almost exactly 180 footfalls per minute on the flat, rock-strewn dirt/sand/gravel paths along the railroad track. That’s 90 double steps, easier for me to count than footfalls, just count the right foot. Walking was about 132 footfalls per minute, or about 66 right-foot steps. Might be different on pavement, and certainly up or down hill.

Today I started right out running two minutes and walking one, the pace I intend to use for my next marathon. For much of the way I counted 180 double steps running, then 66 double steps walking, holding very close to the target time. And I found that the counting actually made it easier, by taking my mind off the hard work of running. It’s impossible to do that and hold a conversation, of course, or even do any heavy thinking. But it’s a fine way to take one’s mind off the last few minutes of a race perhaps. I finished eight miles with plenty of energy to spare today. Felt great, no pains, no strain.

Also, no train. However, in the last half mile of today’s run there is a railroad signal light, the kind that engineers are supposed to watch, and it changed from green to red just before I passed it, suggesting that a train was coming west toward me as I ran east. But nothing in sight. So I stopped at the car and did my post-run stretches.

Then, way off in the east I saw the three headlights of the engine. I was done with my eight-mile run, and not quite done with stretches, but I took off toward that train. When it got close I waved and the engineer pulled the whistle, toot toot. I love that. This was a long train, three engines pulling, but no engines pushing from behind, all different kinds of cars, probably going about 40 mph. As soon as it passed completely, I turned around and ran back, chasing it and losing rapidly. An extra mile of running, maybe a mile and a half. Love it. Getting tooted at by the train makes my day. It’s a masterpiece!

Splits: 10:32, 9:55, 10:27, 10:09, 9:56, 10:13, 9:48, 10:42, total 1:21:42 for 8 miles, pace 10:13. It’ll do.

Brunch. Oatmeal underneath.

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