Thanksgiving was all that I could ask for. A lot of time spent with family and friends, more than a little bit of overindulging in some fantastic foods, serious hours of football and, of course, the pursuit of fitness.
We got things underway on Thursday morning. At 7:45 my friends Wendy, Mark and Jack met up with Lulu and me for a little bit of speed work at Trumbull High School. After a solid warm-up and strides, we all took part in a timed mile. I hadn’t run a mile for time since High School (5:12 at 165lbs), so I was a little curious to see how I would do. Jack had recently turned in a 5:20 and I was a little uneasy as to whether I could take my fast-rising running friend. A year ago, the two of us had gone on our first run together and Jack had to bail partway through when the West Hollywood hills proved too much for him. In the twelve months since, he’d transformed himself into a real force on the track. There was no doubt in my mind that he was faster than me over shorter distances, what had woken me up more than once on Wednesday night was that those distances were getting longer and longer.
The goal was for Jack and I to get faster with every quarter we ran. Lulu, Mark and Wendy were to just go as fast as they could. With a cold wind blowing and a couple of very bundled up walkers looking on, we took off on the spongy, black track. Again, consistent work on strides has helped me tremendously when it comes to feeling comfortable going fast and I had to chuckle when I looked down at my watch at the 200 mark and saw that we were through in 38 seconds. At this pace, we were going to be 4 seconds under our goal for the first quarter. I eased up a bit and relaxed. Jack was pounding along behind me, I could hear his breathing and was impressed that he had not yet begun to work hard. The first quarter was a 1:17. On the second, I felt that I had to ease up a bit more because I was uncertain if I could go much below 5:20. With Jack’s ability to throw in a tremendous kick, I was thinking that I would try and put the hurt on him in lap 3 and take away a bit of his speed. It is only fair that I mention here that Jack had merely shown up for a workout. I’m quite positive (but only somewhat embarrassed to admit) that I was the only one on the track that was actually racing. We turned in a 1:19 in the second lap and in the third, I dropped it down a gear, hit 1:17 and created some separation from my looming shadow. Relieved that, for the moment, I was still a little faster than my friend, I cruised home in the last lap with a relaxed 1:15 and a 5:09 total. Jack didn’t quite equal his 5:20 from a few days before but finished strong at 5:22. Lulu was frustrated to find that she was no longer faster than her eight year old, though she tried, she could not best Drew’s 6:44. Mom was four seconds slower. For the Levy’s, they had an impressive showing. Mark, fresh off a lifetime best of seven miles earlier in the week, hammered home in 7:09 and Wendy crossed the line in 8:20. It was a tremendous way to get the weekend rolling.
On Friday, with bellies full the Thompsons mounted up in the family truckster and shot down to Stamford for a little quality time with Rob Orlando at Hybrid Athletics. Before the trip, I took my girls out for a six-mile jaunt in the woods. It was a move that I would come to regret as I felt absolutely gassed going through the Hybrid warm-up. Things got serious when Rob had the whole family compete against each other. Our first ten-minute section was 5 tire flips, ten push-ups and fifteen squat jumps. I can’t remember how many circuits I got done but I do remember that both my five and eight year old beat me. In the second section, they furthered my humiliation. The task was 10 jump pull-ups, 10 wall balls and 10 squat thrusts as many times as possible in ten minutes. This time Fiona created some separation from Drew to take the honors, I was something like a circuit and a half behind them. There was a modicum of redemption handed out when Lulu and I teamed up to spank the kids in a 3 minute box jump race and then we just edged them again in a tire dragging race. At the end, I was totally spent.
On Saturday, forty-degree weather and some dry conditions had me out on the mountain bike. My legs felt absolutely dead, so I promised myself that I was just going to go out for a seventy minute spin. As so often happens, however, once I got out there, I started feeling my oats and just started hammering. Stupid but fun, I rode hard for an hour and took in three of the biggest hills in Trumbull. By the time I turned into 5106 Madison Ave, I was ready for some serious slog time on the couch but it was not meant to be. Christmas shopping called.
Then on Sunday, I capped off the weekend with a long run. Showing up at Huntington State Park, there was a steady snow falling and the dogs were just feeling absolutely fantastic. Rockets take more time to get up to full speed than these two girls. They tore ass all over the fields and trails seemingly fired up by the cold temps and precip. Me… it was alright, I guess, but my legs were tired. As long as the trail was flat, I was okay but when it tilted up, it hurt. I had no jump and even considered walking one hill that was so slippery, I just couldn’t get going like I would have liked. By the time I finished thirteen, the snow had turned to sleet and then rain. My work was done, I drove home, stoked up the kitchen fire and settled in for a cup of coffee and several hours of hanging out.
Truly, a weekend for Thanksgiving.