Since I can run longer than my memory lasts these days, I'll be skipping details of last week's runs. I just can't remember exactly how things went. But details from my runs in Hot Springs this week are still kind of fresh on my mind so here they come:
On Monday I rose and left the dormitory at the Arkansas School for Math and Sciences, stepping out onto the route of the Spa 10K, a race that happens mid-November every year. We've run the race twice before, so I was familiar with the route. This trek also offered a pretty good Monday morning challenge, climbing West Mountain. My pace was a little slower than recent training runs and my previous two runs over the course, but I managed to finish feeling pretty good.
On Tuesday, I decided not to climb the mountain and chose a different route. Leaving the school, I turned up a street that looked to be a decent climb. It turned out much more than decent. It was a 3/4 mile ascent that proved quite tough. Of course, that meant an easy trip down, then I stuck to more familiar streets through the town to get in the rest of the 6 miles. My route took me out and back past the convention center and right through the Bathhouse Row that made the city famous.
Wednesday's run carried me over Hot Springs Mountain, a 500+ foot climb through the National Park. The unfamiliar hills were beginning to wear on me by midweek and this run was at a much slower pace. Still, it felt great to make the climb and get my 6 miles in.
My last run in Hot Springs was on Thursday morning, the last day of our conference. Again I chose not to make any huge climbs after the previous day on Hot Springs Mountain. This route consisted of a loop through downtown with three out and back fingers to get my miles in. This time though, I only went 5 miles and was looking forward to returning to Cabot and leaving the hills behind me for a while.
Friday was my first day back in Vilonia for cross country practice where I ran 4 easy miles with the kids. It was nice to make the two loops around the school campus without any significant climbs. Only 30 feet of separated the minimum and maximum elevation on Friday's run.
Our first race since early last month was on Saturday, the River City 5K. We ran this race last year and really enjoyed it. Nothing fancy or spectacular about it, but it does support a great cause. River City Ministry in North Little Rock, Arkansas serves some of the poorest in the city and this race is a big fundraiser for them. A light rain helped hold back the expected summer heat and made the run quite enjoyable. I actually had a decent run (not to be expected in mid-July), finishing the 3.1 miles in 26:29.43, averaging an 8:33 minute mile. Not a PR, but pretty good for me this time of year.
Training Week: July 9 - July 15
The week in Hot Springs offered me an opportunity for some pretty good cross training too. Knowing I was going to have plenty of time to spare, I took my bike and managed to get in three 10-mile rides in the hills of Hot Springs. Ten miles may not seem like much of a ride to those who are serious bikers, but it's plenty for me on my little Wal Mart mountain bike.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds," -- James 1:2
Training Week: July 2 - July 8
The miles may not seem like much compared to what you've seen from me in the past, but in this weather, we're taking what we can get. The heat and the humidity are making things really tough. But we'll keep plugging ahead, putting one foot in front of the other, and maintaining a base from which to launch when things cool off.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us," -- Hebrews 12:1I'm extremely grateful for God's grace that allows me to keep running. People are watching. People are saying it can't be done in this heat, in these conditions. It's my job to persevere and show them that all things are possible when you depend on the One who gave everything for us.
I wish you all the best as you endure the summer's sultry conditions. Keep pushing, not too hard though. Just remember, September's coming! And with it, cooler temperatures and easier training. :)
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