A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Running in the Land of Flight

So what's a runner to do when she's in a conference for all of Saturday and Sunday and she needs to fit in a 14 mile run?

Run on Friday!

Thankfully the conference organizers had the conference starting at 12:30 on Friday and I was able to drive to the conference location on Thursday night. Good thing, too, because it took me over six hours to get from Chicago to Dayton.

Yes, I'm in Dayton.

The conference organizers also picked a hotel that was conveniently located within two miles of an area bike path. Score!

The Wright Brothers Huffman bike path (which is technically in Fairborn, OH) isn't that long. Just five miles from end to end. But it worked perfectly for my purposes.

I used Google Maps to figure out how exactly to get to the bike path from my hotel. It looked easy enough. Leave the hotel, circle Wright State University, and cross a road. What Google Maps didn't tell me was that I was going to end up in a gated university housing community feeling like a trapped animal. After back tracking a few times I finally found my way out onto the road that would take me the path.

The path itself was pretty nice. Fairly well-maintained, not very busy, but not so remote that I felt worried being out there by myself at 7:00 AM. In fact, I wish there had been a few more trees. It was hot! The air temperature when I left the hotel was close to 80oF and the dew point was 72! Steamy!

I was keeping a pretty good pace and decided to walk for a minute or two every two miles. I took some Honey Stinger chews every two miles starting at mile 4. The path paralleled a fairly good sized road so after a few miles I was running across from businesses. This turned out to be a very good thing. At mile 6 I realized that I was almost out of water in one of the bottles on my fuel belt. With 8 more miles left to go I crossed the street and ducked in to a McDonald's and refilled it. Whew. The air conditioning in there felt really nice. Still, I forced myself to get back outside.

The bike path was a little hilly and I realized that I was now running UP all the hills I had just run down. Because the place where I'd gotten on the path was about in the middle I had a whole other section of path to explore for the second half of my run. This time the path dead ended at a monster hill.

The Wright Brothers Hill, to be exact. I decided to tackle the hill. Which I then promptly walked up most of the way.

Once at the top I took a few moments to play tourist and checked out the Wright Brothers memorial, the view, and some of the signs. I learned that the first official runway ever was built near where I was running. Nifty.

I also took advantage of the water fountains in the visitors' center and refilled my water AGAIN. At least I was hydrated?

Then it was back down the hill (much easier that way) to finish up my run. My left knee was bothering me a bit as was my left quad and hip flexor. Stupid left leg. It wasn't too bad, though, and I just kept reminding myself of my end-of-run reward.

Before I left on my run I discovered a smoothie place next door to my hotel. Score! The perfect post-hot-run food. When I finally finished my run I stumbled into the place and ordered the largest strawberry banana whey protein smoothie they could make. And drank it all in about 15 minutes. So good I ignored the brain freeze.

And how was the run anyway? Pretty good! It ended up taking me about 2:40 if you include the McDonald's and tourist breaks. 2:26 if you don't. I averaged a 10:26 pace with my walk breaks which is prefect if not a little fast, actually. But I'll take it!

I'm just so happy I was able to get in this run, the logistics were simple, and the run went well. Now I can coast the rest of the weekend, right?

Dayton Run by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details