Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If Nothing Else, I’ve Learned Not to Quit

As prescribed, I tried to rest my legs on Monday and, perhaps, convince my calf muscles that it’s OK to feel better now. The latter didn’t work, but my muscles weren’t the stumbling blocks for my Tuesday-evening training run.

Fall 2007 is my first autumn as a runner (I had tried to start running in March 2006, but stopped over a trip to Boston that August… and didn’t resume until January 2007). While I’m looking forward to checking out the scenery, crunching dried leaves and feeling the autumnal breeze, I haven’t grasped when I’m going to fit in my training with the skies getting so dark so soon these days.

My logical answers of before or after work are peachy… until you consider my ill-lit surroundings. I’ve already been hit by a car once, and that was in the bright light of day!

Tuesday night I made the mistake of rushing out for my 7-mile run about 20 minutes after a high-protein dinner. The workout included:
  • 3 miles warm-up at 9:30/mile
  • (1 mile walk, not counted in distance)
  • 3 x (2:00, 2:30) aerobic intervals ~ 2 miles
  • 2 miles cool down at 9:30/mile

What’s that walk doing there? Well, by the time I finished my three-mile warm-up, I felt like my dinner was tickling my uvula. Bleh! So, I slowed down and walked for a bit. It was only going to be a couple yards walking at first, but my discomfort persisted. I circled the neighborhood, and as I approached my drive I was angling to head home.

But at the end of the mile, the shame of quitting overwhelmed my fear of vomiting. One more mile, I thought. So, I set my watch for the aerobic intervals, thinking I might finish one set. I have a love/hate relationship with the 2:00+ intervals—they’re challenging as all get out and leave me super whipped… but I love the feeling of being done. Not only do I feel strong and fit, but running my cool down flies by with the greatest of ease.

Accordingly, the two-mile cool down did fly by. Thankfully so: it was pitch black outside by the time I was wrapping up, and there was no Ninja Warrior to watch my back! Our street is lined with fashionable street lights that pop up every 75-100 yards on the street—just enough to leave vast dark pockets in which people disappear. I just don’t dig that.

What do I dig? The post-running sleeps (it’s the precious sister of the runner’s high). I showered after my run, dressed for bed, laid down and never really got up until 5:25 a.m. on Wednesday for my morning swim:

  • 1,500 yards free warm-up
  • 6 x 250 yards free alt. normal pace and sprint pace
  • 6 x 100 yards alt. free and butterfly
  • 400 yards free cool down

Admittedly I wimped out early: it’s only a 4,000-yard swim workout. Not that it’s anything to sneeze at, but my yardage had been steadily growing. But my darned calf muscles!

My weeklong swim break rust shook off 400 yards into the warm-up, but I could feel my tight left calf tinge every time I pushed off the wall (and for anyone counting, that’s about 160 painful pushes!). I found that if I kicked hard and kept the muscle really warm, it didn’t hurt as much. Similar to the run, I was convinced that should definitely quit way early, but I seem to have lost that ability. Not sure whether it’s a good or a bad thing yet!

So, I cut my swim down to about 1.25 hours and soaked my leg in the hot tub for the extra time. It was still a little tight during the day and only slightly yick during yoga. Tomorrow’s training calls for another 7 miles, which I will feel out before I hurt myself. There’s just something ominous about fall right now… and I don’t want to have to recover from an injury again.


JenC said...

You may want to invest in a head lamp (and maybe some pepper spray or at least a whistle or find a running buddy in your neighborhood). The head lamp will help you see between street lights and well, you know what the other is for - safety.

Be safe and run like the wind!

Jim said...

Jenc is right, G,: healdlamps are great. You get a very light weight one at Walmart for under $15. (I actually DID take a photo of myslef with my headlamp and was going to post it for you, but I looked so darn dorky I couldn't bring myself up to doing it. Sorry.)

miss petite america said...

you know what they say about self-fulfilling prophecies, right?! positive thoughts G, positive thoughts!!! :)