Thursday, February 4, 2016

A slight improvement

My puppies have been helping my running. Zeke is 8 months old, and Roxie is a couple weeks older. They are old enough for their walks to evolve into runs, although slightly longer distances only mean more things to smell and time to smell them. 
My leash arm actually gets more workout than my legs. They need to sniff EVERYTHING along the way--especially any spot or tree that some animal from the beginning of time has peed on. I put up with a lot of this because this is obviously a thrill for them.
 Our night runs have been mostly the paved trailz at Turkey Mountain, We sometimes run the gravel roads south of 71st Street, Right now it is not too muddy there, and we do not go over by the sludge ponds. Running the paved trail and the road that pops out on 71st Street means a couple of good hills. We usually end up with 3 miles and 140 feet of ascent per run.

I worked near Lake Tenkiller this past week, and managed to get in a short run two of the three days there. Day one was simply around the lakeside neighborhood, and was on gravel roads. :-)
This road with the curving descent just begged to be explored--and I did just that. I was treated to more hills than I expected.
 After the first descent, I had am solid mile of climbing, and I ran every step--not fast, but is was a brisk shuffle.

Down one hill, up the next. I ended up with 2.5 miles finishing after dark. My last .5 of a mile was at a 11:29 pace but was a gentle decline. It was nothing to brag about, but I did have a slightly quicker shuffle. I'm really starting to concern myself with increasing my pace.

Day two there, the clouds were putting on a show. South winds whipped up clouds, and I wish I had the whole day to run and explore. 
I was not far from Tenkiller State Park, where I had read there were some trailz. 

I drove around a little, and all I saw were paved trailz--just like we have at the Arkansas River. (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) But I followed thinking they might lead me to a dirt trail head. Although it looks like I must have went swimming, I was on dry ground the whole way.
The trailz did lead me to an extremely scenic sunset. I also found a trail called Whispering Pines--an old dirt road-turned-trail. It was maybe a half mile long and ran parallel and about 40 feet above the shoreline. I took several pictures, and slowed my already slow pace--and did not really care.  
 I might mention I am using Strava, an iPhone app. It gives me maps of where I run, and the elevation profile. Since using it, I am almost obsessed with getting in at least 300 feet of climb on each run.
Of course when running places like this, I'll always be slower with all the picture taking. :-)

I'm currently on a 4-day running streak. Tonight I ran with the RunnersWorld gang. Yes--that means running on pavement, but It got me out the door and on the run. It's good to see old friends, and make new ones. The group was running their hill route, and the neighborhoods east of Peoria had gently rising roads. We basically ran a mile east, and gained 144'.  Running at the river is pancake flat. I finished 3 miles, and then ran a loop to the river then north, and then back through the neighborhood. Mostly flat.
I'm always looking for any kind of progress, and with Strava, I can see it. Tonight each mile was a little quicker. It felt fast to me at the end, but I won't tear up my age group with this. But it is an improvement, and that's what I'm looking for. I am actually enjoying running again.

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