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Timed XC speed run personal record demolished!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

Bike on a Trail photo for October 3, 2011.

Bike on a Trail photo for October 3, 2011.

Yesterday’s biking weather was, in a word, perfect. The skies were deep blue and crystal clear, the air was cool, the humidity was low and there was a slight breeze blowing. It was one of those days when it felt great to be alive and outside enjoying nature.

My aim was to do at least thirty miles yesterday, but I actually only wound up doing 26.2 miles. I could have easily done another 10 or 15 miles (if not more) but my frequent stops to take photographs ate into my time and I had to get back to work.

The very first thing I always do when I ride this route at Wekiwa is my 4.5 mile timed run from the springs to the fishbowl. The trail has a wide-variety of terrain: everything from large roots, muddy water crossings, occasional downed trees, branches, very sandy sections, tough climbs and sharp corners. The trails were fairly dry yesterday, and so the sugar sand was bad in spots. On the positive side, when the trails are dry I’m able to get through the muddy water crossings without dismounting, bunny hop onto the wooden bridge (which is slick when wet) and take faster/more aggressive lines through the many rooty sections (which are very slick when wet).

4.5 mile timed route from the springs to the fishbowl.

4.5 mile timed route from the springs to the fishbowl.

When I set off on the first leg of my journey (my 4.5 mile timed run) the cool, dry air under the thick canopy of trees was invigorating. I was the first person on the trails, and so running into a hiker or jogger was not a potential issue; this allowed me to hit blind corners faster than usual.

It’s pretty amazing what a difference the cool air made. For many months now the heat and humidity have been absolutely horrible, and those things really tend to sap my energy. Yesterday no matter how hard I was pushing I felt like I could push even more, and so I did. I rode as fast and as hard as I could, and I felt great! I should also mention that my legs were fresh (my personal record was set the day after leg day) and I was coming off of two days of rest.

I saw dozens and dozens of deer yesterday.

I saw dozens and dozens of deer yesterday.

As I rocketed down the trail on my timed run there were so many deer I could hardly believe it. A couple of deer were frozen by surprise on the trail as I came towards them, and one time I had to cry out, “Please move, deer!” Thankfully she did.

I knew I was hauling the mail, and there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to set a new personal record, but when I arrived at the fishbowl and hit the split button on my Ironman I was shocked when I saw the time: 24m37s! I’d just shattered my existing PR by more than a full minute! Last week when I was able to best my personal record by seven seconds with a time of 25m40s I thought, “You’re going to have a very tough time beating that time!” Guess not…

It’s amazing what a dry trail, some cool air and a fresh pair of legs made.



Normally when I finish that timed run I’m drenched in sweat, but yesterday I just had a little sweat around my helmet. It was that cool.

I continued to ride hard over the next 22 miles, but I stopped to take photos several times. The wildflowers are blooming like crazy out there, and sometimes I would just stop and watch the deer, bees, birds, butterflies and other creatures walk and fly around the vast fields of flowers.

Normally–even deep in the forest–the illusion of being in the middle of nowhere is shattered by the constant sound of jets and other airplanes. At one point yesterday I’d stopped to watch some deer, and I realized that there were no planes within earshot…. there was nothing but the sounds of the wind in the trees, the birds singing and the deer quietly grazing around me. It was so beautiful, quiet, peaceful and tranquil that I just sat down and closed my eyes for a few minutes.

I wonder how many people who rely on pills, drugs and therapy to deal with their stresses would find that getting outside for some good old-fashioned exercise under the sun is the answer they’ve been searching for? It sure works for me.

John Stone Fitness Comments

2 Responses to “Timed XC speed run personal record demolished!”
  1. Wow, a full minute is crazy man. Now one can see why fighters really try to “peak” on fight night through various physical, mental, and nutritional tactics. Being “your best” when it matters can really make your performance drastically better.

    Awesome job.

    GD Star Rating
    • Yeah, the drastic time improvement sure surprised me!

      I think if I carb loaded the night before and did the run under ideal trail conditions without my heavy camera, less water and also leaving a few other superfluous items out of my pack I bet could shave at least another 30-60 seconds off the time. I’m pretty geared up on these runs.

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