Ten times around the pines, nice and shady

The brutal, stifling heat wave just won’t quit, so there’s just one thing to do. Go run through the pines.
That’s Royal Pines, one of the shadiest neighborhoods in Indy, located just a block or two from my house. It’s perfect on a day like this.The sun doesn't have any chance of over-heating this alpine neighborhood known as Royal Pine Estates, just a few blocks from my house.

The place is a former tree nursery that was converted into an upscale development in the 1960s.

The development is so thick with pine trees that most of the houses are shaded all day long. Yards are carpeted with pine needles instead of grass.

So even though many trails around town are still waterlogged, I had a decent place to run today. 

I headed for a small loop in the heart of this neighborhood, maybe one-third of a mile long, with a gentle hill.

My goal was to run 10 loops, each other faster than the previous one, without any rests in between.

I did a short warm-up, trotting from my house to the pines. Then I got down to business.

The shade felt great.  We’ve had a rough week, with four days of sticky, 90-degree weather. This morning, the city of Indianapolis issued its first Ozone Alert of the year — or as they call it, a “Kno-Zone Air Quality Action Alert.”  In other words, good luck breathing.

So this was the place to be. I took the first loop nice and easy. Then I upped the speed on each repeat.

After a few minutes, I saw Mrs. Trail Boy coming down the road for her morning walk through the pines. I ran in the opposite direction and she gave me a high five as we crossed each other.

I kept pressing the speed, finishing eight loops and starting the ninth, when I began to gasp for air. Normally, this is to be expected on speedwork days. But with the ozone alert, I decided to be a bit cautious, and took a 60-second breather to let my heart settle down.

Then I finished the last two laps, but not at top speed.

Here are my times: 3:16, 3:08, 3:02, 2:57, 2:52, 2:47, 2:46, 2:48, 3:13, 3:11.

Then I trotted home at a cooldown pace and let the sweat pour off my body as I took off my running shoes.

Tomorrow, I go back to the trails for a 10-mile run. I think I’ll leave my watch at home.

If you like pine trees, this is the place to live -- or run. Just don't expect to find much grass.

If you like pine trees, this is the place to live -- or run. The trees are so thick that yards are covered with pine needles instead of grass. The houses are a mix of European chalets and modern McMansions.


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