Sunday, May 13, 2007

Epiphany Weekend

My fear of losing running fitness from my Portland break persisted through each run last week. I started out each time tight and pessimistic, and finished pretty loose and only slightly reassured. Even though I was finally getting my pace down, it felt like a struggle to get through each time. That feeling was only offset by my newfound (albeit temporary) freedom from school. And we celebrated on Friday with a pleasant evening walk.

It was supposed to be a pleasant Friday-evening bicycle ride, but LeBron, my bike, has a flat back tire. Darn it! We tried pumping it up, but it looks like that tire patch kit I never purchased would be great right now.

On the upside, Neil and I finished our walk with a half-mile run to the end of our street and back. You knew I would rope him in at some point, didn’t you? He did a fantastic job and I’m very proud of him: high-five dude! We’ll start inching up little by little and be at a mile in no time!

By Saturday morning, I promised myself that I would take my run inch-by-inch as well. It was swell outside (it felt like mid 60s with plenty of sun) and I took off jogging down the trail in Stow. I felt so tight and unmotivated that my targeted one-hour run seemed out of my reach. So, I just took it slowly (it was all part of my plan… muahaha) until I found my stride.

Eventually it came to me. After warming up with three cool miles (8:36, 8:37, 8:39), I picked up an 8:26 pace for several miles. And by the time I reached my one-hour goal, I was about seven miles out. I could have taken a shortcut to make it back in a few miles, but I took the long way home instead!

Miles eight, nine and ten had to be the hilliest regions of Kent and Stow—it just kept going up and up and uphill—so I took them at 8:34, 8:42 and 8:35, respectively. I hit that point at which I said to myself “OK, one more hill and I’m walking” at least six times, but I just kept going. And then I got to the point where I was promising myself a walking break after three more hills. I bluffed on that front too.

I hit less hilly ground (nothing seems to be flat by foot around here) at mile eleven and felt energized. It was about time that Greens Plus energy bar kicked in! The problem, however, was that some major chafing kicked in as well. Not only did I have some serious sleeve rubbage, my HRM sensor left scabs around my torso and that didn’t feel fantastic on the sweaty day.

I haven’t had too much trouble with chafing, but I have a feeling it will be a greater concern this summer and something to add to my list of things to think about!

So, how far did I end up running? Well, I reached my car at 13.7 miles, so I turned around and ran .15 miles down the trail and came back for a personal distance record of 14 miles in 1:59:25 and an average pace of 8:31/mile.

It was remarkable not only for my distance, but for several other reasons too: 1) I felt great after my run—a little tired and slightly sore from impact, but great overall; 2) Not only did I run past my one-hour goal, I nearly doubled my one-hour goal, and that’s just cool to me; and 3) I woke up today feeling fine, feeling normal without any soreness—not even in my goofy knees. In fact, had it not been an action-packed Mother’s Day, I would have probably gone for a slight run today as well.

My plan for this week, other than going to New York on Friday: get a plan (thanks Salty) and look at races. I’d like to start plotting out my races and understanding how to race them. It has dawned on me that I can run really well when I don’t know what to expect, but I clam up and slow it down so much when I know what’s ahead. How backward is that? Unfortunately, it’s the same way I swam when I aged into longer races like 100-200 yards butterfly. I thought that I would only make it if I swam slowly in the beginning and brought it home strong. Goof. Sure, I realized after a while that I should train to go strong all the way, but it didn’t really click until I had solid confidence under my belt. I’ll have to see if I can find that on the trail someday too.


The Salty One said...

You should try just entering a 5k one weekend on a lark and see what happens. No more than a day or two of planning. You don't ever have to tell anybody about it so then you won't have any pressure to perform. I think I'm the same way. Sometimes the more build-up and anticipation of a race the worse it goes. Some of my best races were just kind of "Aww, what the heck" kind of deals.

Joe said...

I like your bike's name. Let's hope the real Lebron doesn't get a flat.

miss petite america said...

chafing S.U.C.K.S. i still have marks from a few months ago. try body glide or vaseline.