Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Loop

Hit the loop at just after 6:30 am and ran through the sunrise. We talked about coming even earlier sometime, running the loop and then climbing the mountain in time for the sunrise. Apparently the park actually opens at 5:00 am for "Our Runners" as the gate attendant proudly told us. And sure enough there were clearly quite a few runners and walkers who had already been there a while. The loop was well lit and the Christmas lights along parts of it, the giant lit tree on top of the mountain, and the approaching dawn kept the atmosphere picturesque and atmospheric but never dark. The police circled the loop periodically as well and I felt very safe, now I know that I can do it alone, even early, if I need to.

Today I didn't need to though, because the Intrepid Katy was again by my side, despite the fact that she was due to skate in the Children's Healthcare Christmas Parade later in the morning. She and her dog were great company.

The hills were present as promised but I had been prepared for more than there were and, given the routes I've run around Candler Park and my neighborhood they really weren't a problem. We ran the whole way, and my shins did GREAT. The SuperFeet really seem to be working as promised, although I did get some nice blisters which I'm trusting will heal and not be repeated as I break the insoles in.

So far increasing the mileage is going smoothly. Next week is the Madison Christmas Rush 8K (another 5 miles) and then I'll be building up to 8 miles just before the 10K I plan to run MLK weekend. A half marathon is a little less than three times around Stone Mountain. I've got a way to go but the first loop went a lot smoother than I expected. For muscles that were so sorely neglected for most of their life, they are suprisingly forgiving and willing to step up and exceed my expectations now. The body is truly an amazing thing.

Oh yeah, one more thing, it took us right at an hour, so we were averaging about 12 minutes per mile, since I know we were much slower on some of the longer hills I feel great about that. I'll be very pleased with any time under 3 hours on my first Half, so far I seem to be on target!

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