Saturday, June 2, 2007

Have a Nice Trip and See You Next Fall

Since Thursday, I have run twenty miles, swum 1,000 yards and biked six miles; celebrated the Cavaliers’ win and tried to generate some good b-ball karma for tonight; been surprised at the Indians’ ability to bounce back; and been stunned at my ability to bounce of concrete when I wipe out in the middle of a run. Here’s how it all went down…

I missed lunch to be a lower-calf/ankle model for a JMC ad being shot in our office (no, I don’t have glamorous lower calves and ankles; I was the most gullible and least busy-looking that afternoon). I only mention it because I had to pose standing on bricks wearing a pair of running flats, which I had never seen in real life. I’ve only read about them.

Outtakes from the flats shootWhat’s funny is that as I was wearing them I thought, “I could see how Salty could have experienced calf trouble after racing in a new pair for the first time.” The heel is substantially lower than traditional running shoes (hence the name, eh?) and they were light as air. But as I walked around and stood and posed in them for a while, I could feel a different stress in my legs than when I wear non-flat shoes. From what I understand, racing flats mimic running in bare feet, the way nature intended, and improves your foot-to-ground power transfer.

We had a thorough discussion regarding flats as I was wearing them and it was cool to try on a pair. I don’t think, however, I would benefit from running in a pair anytime soon. Unless they have a secret jet-propelled compartment in them.

Since I missed another lunchtime run, I came home and headed straight out after work. Then, of course, I ran 2.34 miles before a thunderstorm broke out. By the time I made it home, took a shower and towel-dried my hair, it had stopped raining and the sun came out. Darn it! So, right before the Cavs game began, I felt inspired to at least make five miles for the day. I headed out and ran an addition 3.36 miles around my neighborhood to make 5.7 miles for the day.

The latter run overlapped with the first quarter of the b-ball game, as had been the trend for three of the five games, and I have now become superstitious. So, in spite of the injuries I’ll detail below, I will be going to for a good-luck jog before tonight’s game. I realize that the world doesn’t revolve around me. But I need to keep the good karma alive!

I FINALLY made it to the pool! No joke. I had some anxiety about getting into the pool because the last time I was in April. So, I just promised myself that I would swim 500 yards and forgive myself for falling off the wagon. But I didn’t lose as much as I had thought! I jumped in (and my goodness is the water frickin’ freezing this time of year!) with the intention to push through 100-200 yards for warm up. But after 100 I felt fine, and then after 200 I was OK too. I swam right through to 500 yards with only a little bit of fatigue. How awesome is that?

One thing I did notice, however, was that I was a little more winded than usual when I swam that first 500 yards. Just like you get more winded when running after just too much of a break. But it was the first time I experienced and recognized it since I began swimming again.

Many of my friends who are trying to get into swimming have said that they can’t get their breathing down… and I thought they were talking about the physical act of turning their heads and sucking down air. Now I think I have a clue. And maybe I’ll be able to help. See, all this skipping swimming has an upside!

But I wasn’t really that winded. So, I rounded out 1,000 yards with a 400-yards IM (one-armed fly, backstroke, breaststroke with butterfly kick and free) and a 100-yard free warm down.

I mention the IM sequence because I a) didn’t want anyone to seriously think I could swim 100 yards fly after that break and b) wanted to mention a bit about my knees. For all my life, my knees have rarely bothered me when swimming. When I turned into my breaststroke laps yesterday, I made my first kick and couldn’t believe how much my knees wanted to pop off. It killed!

My knees have felt great while running lately, but they don’t seem to keen on moving in that circular-stress direction. So, I swam breaststroke with butterfly kick, which is a good way to swim knee-pain-free and look like you’re drowning without slowing down too much. I’ll have to take that stroke slowly and see if I can somehow achieve all-around knee health one of these days. Maybe they just needed a wakeup call.

The 1,000 yards didn’t take remotely as much time as I had for lunch. I quickly showered, dried, dressed and then hit the bikes! I cycled 6 miles on a rec. center stationary bike and then hit the track for a mile. I had my own little lunchtime triathlon!

I didn’t keep time, but it was nice to get back into swimming with a mini-brick workout.

It started out well. I woke up early to blue skies and singing birds. But it must have been 85 degrees by 9 a.m., so I put on a sleeveless shirt and a pair of shorts for my Saturday-morning long run.

Greens Plus chocolate energy barsFor all my life, I’ve been a little uncomfortable in shorts, but I thought it would behoove me to go cool today. I spent a little too much time worrying about how they would fare on a hot, long run, but I did it anyway. I ate a GreensPlus awesome bar and washed it down with water for breakfast (it tastes and feels much better than it sounds), packed an Orange Burst GU, and hit the trails.

And for the first time I was able to slow myself down to a 9-minute/mile pace! It was probably my most even long-distance run to date, even though it was a severely hilly path. I started out with four even-paced miles (9:03, 9:06, 9:11, 9:07) that were uneventful and left me feeling warmed up and not at all tired. So, I picked up my pace a tad for the next four miles (8:44, 8:47, 8:48, 8:48) before making a water and GU stop at Handel’s in Stow (nothing like hitting up the ice cream shop in the middle of a run!).

The Orange Burst GU tasted all right (I think I’m a lemon sublime girl), but I could feel the caffeine go straight to my head. I’m not much of a caffeine taker, so it probably hits me a little more than the average person. Or maybe I’m just more caffeine-paranoid than the average person. Anyhow, I felt a little water-full when I resumed running—I was glug-glug-glugging down the street—and I slowed my pace again to 9:04 for the next mile.

Heading toward mile ten, however, I started feeling warmed up again and energized, so I was picking up my pace and running really loose. I was on track to run my first fifteen miles and feeling great about it around 9.93 miles into my run when I must have tripped over uneven sidewalk and totally wiped out on Kent Road in Stow.

Did you see Grady Sizemore’s much-heralded catch in the outfield against the Tigers last week? Well, that’s pretty much what I looked like, except there was no ball, no grass and no protective clothing. I hit on my hands and my bad knee first and then skidded on my left arm and shoulder as I flipped butt over head onto the sidewalk. I can only imagine what the cars driving by were thinking (other than, “hey did you see that idiot?”), but, man, did it hurt! In case you missed it (I didn't, however, get up as quickly as he did):

My knee was bleeding and hurt like nothing else while my palms were scraped a bleeding a bit from trying to catch myself. What’s more is that I was just covered with dirt and pebbles that seemed to be attracted most to wherever I was bleeding.

So, I picked up my bleeding, dirty self and had to finish the last 0.07 miles of the ten-miler. If you have a look at my graphed out run, can you tell where I fell?

Once I hit the 10-mile mark, I hobbled the mile and a half to Walgreens (I was tearing up a bit and swearing in every known language the whole way) where I picked up some Gatorade and cleaned up a bit.

But after I was hydrated and collected what was left of my dignity, I was still nearly three and a half miles from home! As I said, I still had some of my pride remaining, so I couldn’t call Neil to come pick me up. How would I ever live that down? So, I started walking home.

My knee (it had to be the bad one, didn’t it?) was pretty sore and still bleeding. I walked at a hurried pace and tried to get my legs warmed up. More than anything I just wanted to get home faster, and walking just wasn’t doing it. So, after I felt comfortable with my legs, which betrayed me, again, I took to a very light jog home. It was a very long and slow trip home, but I made it. And when I walked into my apartment with my bloody knee and sad, pouting lower lip, Neil got out the peroxide and helped me recover. And that made all the difference!

In the end, I ran 13.31 miles, which puts me at 48.7 miles in my 100-mile goal with 17 days remaining. Almost half way there!

So, on that note, I’m going to try in an hour or so to take a light jog in honor of my new Cavaliers tradition. If I can make it through a superstition-driven hobble around the block, I hope the Cavs can pull off what was once impossible (knock on wood). And then we can all rest happy.


JenC said...

I'm so sorry that happened to you. Hope you heal quickly.

Oh, and go Cavs! That totally rocks!

Joe said...

Ouch! Sorry about the fall. That Neil is a keeper though.