Sunday, December 16, 2007

Runnin' with the Sharks

This Saturday, Chris and I decided to do our 11 mile run a little differently than our previous runs. We decided to go to downtown Tampa, and meet a group of runners at the YMCA. They are known as the Blue Sharks. They run every Saturday morning at 5:30 am, start at the YMCA, and work their way into Davis Island. It ends up being a 9-mile loop, but at one part of the run, you can extend it if you so choose. It was our first time doing the run with this group, and there was some very positive things that came out of the run. First of all, the group was huge!! There were 78 people out there running, and from what I heard from other runners, there are sometimes over 100 people that run on a Saturday morning. When we started, it almost felt like a race... with so many people going. I didn't really spark any conversation during the run with anyone, it seems as though I was either too slow for the leading pack of about 20 people or too fast for the other folks. So I was just in the middle, making sure I keep the fast runners in visual sight, so I didn't get lost out there. Unfortunately for Chris, he got lost about a mile into the run (remember it was on Davis Island, which has a lot of turns, and it was very early and dark) in the morning. Anyways, at the 3rd mile, we met up and he was ok for the rest of the run (until the very end, where he got lost again!) The other real nice thing is that the organizers of the group put out water every 2 miles, so it helps simulate hydration during a race. Fantastic idea!!! I'm very happy that I went!! I realized a few things... one is when you stop for water, it gets you out of your flow, so I have to get used to that before the Disney race. I'm so used to bringing a belt with water bottles around it, so I never have to stop. Thank God for the Port o Pottys, because I continue to have stomach issues during my run ever since I came back from my trip. So... all in all it was a good run, and I have decided that the last extremely long run (22 miles) that I have planned next week, will be with the Blue Shark group, so I can continue to get used to the stopping, drinking routine. At the end of the run, I met two people, and we started talking about preparation for marathons. Basically, they were giving me some good advice about how to prepare for the race, as they are veterans in the marathon runs. They gave me some good advice on how to do interval training, which I am going to try this week. As we continued to talk, we realized that I used to treat the husband and niece of one of the people that I was talking to..... what a small world!!! Anyways, I am excited about my week of training ahead of me. It really is my last week to make some improvements, as after this week, I start to taper down in preparation for the big race.