Sunday turned out to be a beautiful morning to run. It was 62 at 7 a.m. and the crowd on Park Avenue was unlike it's ever been. The regular guys (Chris, Jack and Ed) were there plus Christy but then there were not one but four other women! The guys were actually outnumbered.
I ran eight miles at a 10 minute mile pace in negative splits. The first four I ran with Ed and caught up on his latest travails in the bus transportation business (not so good things going on there) although Ed is the model of a good honest citizen. He just can't rely on many who work in the business. Ed and I pushed a good pace while Chris and Jack got all chatty with the ladies back behind us.
At the four mile fluid stop we downed Gatorade and water. Defying the usual protocol, everyone started running in the no-run zone (5o yards long). I scolded them all to stop but Jack, the eldest statesman and historian of the Orlando Runners Club, corrected me saying when the temperatures fall into the 60s running is allowed. You can learn something every Sunday with this group but I suspect Jack changes the rules whenever it suits him. After all, he is the master of short cuts along the course.
Once we resumed pace I stuck with Christy who was logging her final "long" run prior to running the New York Marathon this Sunday. She has devotedly done her mileage and is fit and ready to rock New York. I gave her my recollections of the course and encouraged her to memorize all the roads and turns so she doesn't fall victim to mental delusion in the later miles. We pushed the pace down into the 9s over the last two miles and came in very strong.
I felt fantastic afterwards and went home to plot my next race and training schedule. Over the rest of the year I am planning a 5K, a 10K/5K double and a half marathon. Past that I am looking at the Gasparilla Marathon in Tampa on March 1. About 1,000 run the full down there and I know some folks in the bay area. It was there, at Gasparilla, that I ran my first "away" race, doing their 15K in 2005. It's crazy how nervous I was back then.