Friday, September 2, 2011

A sunset run

Today, we move to a new phase of my run training for this season. I did my first outdoor run today at 6pm. That's the time the university recreational running club meets on a daily basis.

So far I've only been running indoors on a treadmill: the simple reason being that even at 6pm it's still 37C (100F) outside at the moment.

6pm has its advantages though. The sun sets as the run proceeds. And this Friday's run is special: the club has decided to do one of my favorite runs on campus, namely the Parking Garages Run at the university. The idea is conceptually simple and beautiful in its implementation.

We run from multistorey parking garage to multistorey parking garage at sunset. These are dotted around the university. At each garage, we run up and down the stairs and across the rooftops. And if one is not in too heavy an oxygen debt to notice, one can catch a good view of the sunset and its colors at each location.

Here is a "bird's eye view" of the loop. Starting from the university Rec Center, we trace a clockwise route around the main campus visiting the 6th St garage, then Tyndall and the Main Gate garages, cut across campus and tunnel under Speedway to do Park Ave and Highland garages, then tunnel back under Speedway and finish with the 2nd and Cherry St garages. Oh, plus down and up the ILC (Integrated Learning Center) steps which - strictly speaking - is not a garage, and actually descends underground. Total distance is about 2.7 miles but that doesn't include running up and down the stairs at each garage twice. My iPod nano reports 400 kcal and and an optimistic total of 3.7 miles in just under 35 minutes.

Running in 100 degree heat is quite a challenge, not to mention the motivation of trying not to get totally left behind by the running club students. As a result, my max heart rate (HR) hit 170 bpm by the end. I must admit I felt quite out of shape. Still, it's a great run and as beautiful as one can get on this large and crowded campus.

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