A Trip to the Zoo (5 miles)

I had originally planned on today being  a rest day, what with yesterday being a 15 mile run, but then I decided to take Nat to meed up with his good friend Oscar a the Zoo in Prospect Park.  If you’ve read a few of my posts, you know how my logic works — the fastest way to get there is to run.  So instead of a rest day, it became a recovery run day.

After last week’s run with the heart-rate monitor, I realized that to actually run at an effort that is considered “recovery” level I had to run a lot slower than I assumed — no faster than a 10:30 mile, possibly slower.  It’s sort of odd to think of running slow as a challenge, but it is.  First, there’s just the habitualization of pace to overcome.  Since I do most of my runs between an 8:30 and 9:30 minute per mile when I’m pushing Nat, I just fall into that tempo naturally.  Then there’s the psychological aspect of it: for me, running a 10:45 mile just feels soooo slow.  One of the things running has really helped me do is let go of ego, but this is one of the times where it’s still a struggle.  I’m a runner, so I should be running, right, not shuffling along?

That’s when having leg muscles that are hammered and exhausted is, in fact, a blessing in disguise, because they in no way wanted to go any faster than a 10:30 mile.  Forget ego, I couldn’t have done an 8:30 mile if I had tried, so I was perfectly happy to settle into a gentle lope up towards Eastern Parkway then down the hill to the edge of Prospect Park.  After a few hours of petting cows and feeding sheep (the petting zoo is the highlight for Nat), we headed back home, again moving along slowly but focusing on quick foot-turnover and short strides.

Tomorrow will definitely be a day off, but I’m on track to have my first 30+ running week since early January.

Distance: 5 miles          Time: 53:49



About Chris Van Dyke

I am a 33 year-old high school English teacher and long-distance runner. I live in Brooklyn with my partner, our 3 year-old son and 1 year-old daughter and a growing collection of muppets and trains. Besides running and teaching I like to draw, read, write, cook, and play the harmonica. While I didn't get to run my first ultra-marathon on my birthday, I've got a few more I've set my sights on. You can follow my (seldom updated) twitter feed @aboutrunning. I also blog as part of the Run Smiley Collective.
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