annual mosquito-hunting trip

weather report this morning : chance of severe thunderstorms.  tornado warnings to the west.  high temperature of 80, humidity 1000%.
we’re visiting kris’ family in minnesota.  this is a nice part of the country, except for the weather.
we’re having a good time visiting with family and friends here.  the kids are really enjoying seeing their cousins.  it’s a sadness that they only see each other once a year, and that they’re growing up 1500 miles away.  right now they can pretty easily start where they left off with each other, but perhaps that gets harder when they get older.
our friends lisa and mike have moved here from california.  they’re considering making an offer on a place one town north of here.  it’s a big new home on small lake, and for reasons of regional authenticity, has a nice view of the water tower.
i’ve done a couple of good runs since being here.  monday was a rest and travel day, but i did 7 miles on tuesday, mixing in a couple of small hills and keeping a good pace (just over 8 min/mile).  it was about 84, and nice and dry.  my quads were hurting from running up mt si on sunday, but the pace felt pretty natural anyway.
did a hard track workout yesterday in the heat.  i had intended to follow the eastside runners track workout, but ended up shortening it a bit (by about 1200 meters).  i did fast intervals of 1600-1200-800-400 meters, with 800 meters of recovery between.  i still struggle to nail my intended pace (tending to go faster, which means i don’t usually negative split).
i’ve been doing speed workouts regularly for about three weeks now, and have really noticed a difference in my running.  i still look ahead to these workouts with some apprehension, but am definitely feeling better during the runs themselves.  during the first one (pre-chi), i did 5×800, crapped out during the last two repeats (got significantly slower – up to 10 sec slower per 800).  yesterday, i began the 1600 interval with a 1:31 400 – and felt like i was well within my capabilities – then i slowed down because i didn’t want to start the speed workout with a 6 min/mile pace.  what i ended up doing was closer to a 1:40/400 pace consistently for most of the repeats.  towards the end, i managed to speed up too – which implies that i’m being smarter about my pace in the early intervals.
i think a key part of this remains the form changes i’ve over the past few weeks.  applying the chi running techniques, i’m watching my cadence, straightening my back, leaning forward, and belly-breathing.  i’m not sure whether it’s just the form changes themselves, or whether the psychological effects of focusing are significant factors.  anyway – so far, it’s working.
i’m hoping that things will come together at race time ….

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