Do you see what’s around you? I mean really see it. Actually turn your head and look at things that are in the space that you occupy on a daily basis. Do you make an effort to enjoy the uniqueness of the world as you pass through it at any particular moment, knowing it will never be just the same again?
The vibration of my phone on the kitchen table pulled my attention away from the orange and white kitty wrapping herself around my leg.
“Here,” is all it said. Spongebunny had driven thirty miles from his house to mine to run speed work at six in the morning with me. He is fascinated and inspired by my ability to run the distance and speed that I do.
“I’m not that fast Robert,” I have always told him.
“Yeah, but you’re faster than me,” he said with a grin.
Three weeks ago, I wrote a training program for Spongebunny to help him prepare for our Epic Relay on August 8 and 9, 2014. The training program focuses on the two things I need from him for our team to be clear the cut off times set in the race. Spongebunny needed to increase his speed on down hills and flats and improve his ability to climb.
I threw a weekly heat run into his training for good measure, but my primary concerns were climbing and speed. He drove to my house because he wanted to run speed work with me that morning.
I stepped out my front door, and my stomach sank. I had just locked myself out of the house. Shaking my head at my own stupidity, nothing I can do about it right now. I bounced down the three crumbling steps of my porch to greet Spongebunny.
We trotted down the center of the road from my house.
“We’ll run easy to the high school which is about 0.8 miles from here,” I said.
“Once we get to the track we will run five 800s. I can tell you how fast the first one is, but after that my garmin averages out the pace between the slow 400s and the fast 800s, so it’s not real accurate.”
Once we reach the track, I set my water bottle down on the side. I scurried over to the start line and I put the hammer down. Spongebunny kept up during the first loop arund the track.
“6:00 min per mile pace,” I called out as we began the second loop.
Spongebunny kept up for the second loop. As soon as we crossed that start line, I dropped into a recovery pace of probably ten-minute miles. Spongebunny was gagging and choking a little.
“I’m not going to throw up,” he said.
“Just keep moving don’t stop and don’t put your hands on your knees dropping your head down. If you stop, your blood pressure will plummet and it will make you more nauseous or you could pass out.”
When we reached the starting line again, we took off for our second 800. Near the end of the second loop Spongebunny started to drop off.
“You’re doing great,” I said slowing my pace way down. “Do you have allergies?”
“No, why?” he asked.
“Because people with allergies come down with cold symptoms after hard workouts if they are not use to it. It’s called exercise induced rhinitis.”
“Yep. I get it if I’m not consistent in doing my speed work.”
We crossed that start line and again I increased our pace. Spongebunny slowed a quarter of the way into the second loop.
Once he caught his breath, he asked, “How does this help us?”
I laughed. “It teaches your body to run faster. When you push the limit of what it can do, the limit changes and you can push harder. It also prepares you mentally because you will be able to remember how this feels and know how hard you can push yourself.”
Fourth 800. Spongebunny slows three quarters of the way through the first loop.
“I’m glad it is your rest week,” he said with a laugh as we round the corner on the recovery loop.
“You’re welcome to come up next week when I do eight of these.”
He stared at me, cogs turning inside his head. “Okay.”
“Last one,” I said. Spongebunny slowed a little before the first bend. My legs burned on the second loop, like an old familiar friend. I walked back and forth waiting for him to finish. He crossed the line and shuffled over to me.
“Did you see the sunrise?” I asked. Pink, yellow, and orange light stretched into the soft blue of the dawn filling the canyon and space between the deep green trees with warmth and life.
Spongebunny stared at me for a second and then shook his head. I smiled and began the trek back to my house.
“Always finding the silver lining,” he said.