I really should make the Middle Road Loop my test course, it has a quarter mile long downhill section, a bunch of hills or humps, tar and dirt roads and is pretty much uphill the last half mile. In other words it has a little bit of everything that you need to check out a pair of running shoes to see how they perform and is just over 5.0 miles to do one loop.
Recently this loop has not been my friend and with the heat/humidity it can be a very difficult for an old guy who is attempting to stay in reasonable shape. Today was the first time I have attempted to run around it since the most recent struggles reduced my running considerably.
Running with the knowledge that there will be no graphs showing how much I slow down going up hills or that my last mile sucked donkey balls was actually pretty nice. I am getting to the point where I am not wondering/worrying consciously or subconsciously about what the graph would looking like, but it will take time before I get completely weaned off the GPS teet.
With the Timex, I can still have the mile splits, but I have to manually choose when to press, which I know from past experience can be hit or miss and you have to remember to do, which in competition or a hard workout does not happen.
1.0 – 8:34 / Wasn’t trying to go fast and I did work on lean and landing a bit more than I usually do going down the hill. When I hit the flat section of Philbrick, I actually felt like I was doing pretty good.
2.0 – 8:57 / The spot for this split is a little further than when the GPS watch usually beeps, but it is easier to remember, but probably added about 10 seconds on the time. I was still feeling pretty good and moving comfortably, although traffic was a bit of a pain at times and having to run on a knee high grass road shoulders in places will slow you down, since you can’t see what you are stepping on and there are cars/trucks coming at you 45-55 mph or faster, so there is not a lot of tolerance/clearance for a mistake. However, it does make you focus on the moment. 😉
3.0 – 8:58 / Going up the larger hill here can be tricky and again playing on the grass shoulder with the traffic is not all that much fun, especially when the dump trucks or 18 wheelers go by. Although I felt pretty strong going up the hill for a change and going down the little grade by the school I might have stretched the legs out a little – not much, but a little.
4.0 – 9:30 / This is where I generally tend to start slowing down, there is something about the bump by the Town Office that gets me and the dirt part of Blake has some stretches where I just go slower because of the rocks. The GRR8s do a good job of filtering out some of the smaller one, but there are too many for a shoe without a rock plate…well you will feel them.
5.0 – 10:33 / I do slow down here and I typically think that anything sub 9:30 is pretty damn good and a sub 9:00 pace outstanding for me. That is because immediately after I hit 4.0 miles I run up Blake Hill and then just a bit later, I head up Stevens Hill, no they are not that tough for someone in shape, but I am definitely not in shape right now and they kick my butt.
Also when I got up on the tar and almost to the third driveway, Raymond (the neighbor’s black lab) decides to charge out at me. They hollered at him and I stopped and hollered at him also, he has drawn blood on me before, so I wasn’t taking chances and was crouched ready to respond quickly, if he had gotten more aggressive. He was barking and his hackles were up, but he stopped and reluctantly retreated back to where he was being called. I stayed there long enough to make sure that he was going to keep going.
When I turned around I saw that the next neighbor up the road’s dogs were out and being ordered by the owner to stand down as well. I didn’t even see them I was so focused on Raymond. Looking back that could have turned into a real shitshow, but I got out of it pretty lucky.
No dogs attempting to take a chunk and all that I lost was the time that was added on to my run. I figure that all this only took around 30-45 seconds before I was able to start running again. I really wasn’t thinking about my running at that point, so I didn’t think about pressing pause. Yeah, my final mile time was a little inflated, but it was for a pretty good reason.
Just the way it worked this morning, a really decent run considering where my fitness level is right now and it probably was a good thing that I wasn’t wearing a heart rate monitor because I am pretty sure it spiked pretty good when Raymond came out into the road and I turned and saw the other three dogs as well.
The GRR8s did a good job on all parts of the run and I was impressed at how well they handled the dry dirt sections of Blake and Philbrick with all the rocks that are still in the road.
Good run, but the neighbor has to make it so that Raymond does not go into the road, he will get hit someday by the people who fly around that blind curve in their vehicles. Also I am not keen on him being so aggressive around me.
The Middle Road Loop is a good test course and puts me through just about every condition that I tend to encounter during my runs. Hills, tar, dirt, and yes, even dogs. 🙂