Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stretch, Ice, Rest

Man, am I pooped and achy! But after two days of feet-up with icy rest, I was able to hit the pavement today to run 9+ miles. I made it home early from work, so I dressed for running and then stretched, stretched, stretched. It wasn’t comfortable (again) to run at first, so I started to super-walk again. About a quarter mile later, I upgrade to an unsuper jog, which eventually grew into a slow jog. And by the end of the first mile I was running. Just gently.

Today was a deal run: I made a deal with myself that if my calf hurt and anything felt wrong I would stop. Sure, it felt wrong at first, but it warmed quickly and felt fine just in time for me not defy myself.

My first 3-mile lap around the neighborhood was 10:30-11:00/mile. I was being some aware and conscious of my gentle stride that I really lost track of myself for the first 20 minutes. With each left-step I wondered, ‘will this one hurt?’ and then ‘how about this one?’ I would feel the occasion tweak that would last 10-20 yards, but most of my discomfort subsided before it became a hindrance.

Lap two was steady and less deliberate, and I admittedly skipped my interval training for the day. I just ran the nine miles straight. In honor of those tempos, however, I did pick up the pace for miles 4-9 to about 9:15-9:45/mile. Again, the most painful part of running was the anticipation of pain. Step off the curb—is it hurt? Jump up on the sidewalk—am I OK?

The best distraction was my local UPS driver completing his early evening route. He follows the same path I run around 6 p.m., and we passed each other back and forth for a full three miles. So, if nothing else, I moved as quickly as a UPS truck… with stops.

On my final lap, I picked up the pace again… but not much faster than 9:30/mile. I started thinking about the half marathon and how slow I would have to run if my injury surfaced in the middle of the race. The Akron Half Web site indicates that runners must maintain a minimum pace of 13:40/mile. And by the time I finished multiplying 13:40 x 13.1 I was almost done with my last stretch! My right foot was getting achy again (as it did on Sunday), but only in a complaining could-you-please-stop-beating-me kind of way.

Not surprisingly, I’m totally beat. We taught workshops all day today (I did a cool one about podcasting and then some not-so-thrilling stuff), so I’m spent mentally and physically. But I have to admit it’s a good feeling. So many people come home from work too beat and downtrodden to even get a run. I’m grateful I can run. I wish I could tell my running-hater self from five years ago what I was missing all those years!

Now my nap-loving self is taking over…


kelsalynn said...

You've accomplished so much recently, you should be tired! It made me sad that you packed your bike away... what a bummer! =) And man, I really hope your calf isn't anything serious. Take good care of yourself!!!!

JenC said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for you. Just one more week left till the race! I think you'll be able to easily beat the minimum pace.

The Salty One said...

Um, yeah! You're going to do well. You will feel fine on race day. Nothing will hurt, I'll bet you a million bucks. I went into my half a couple of weeks ago feeling like total poo, if you'll recall. But in the race I felt fine. Nothing hurt, except everything and this is how it should be!! :) But seriously, just stretch and relax and enjoy your miles between now and the race. I have every confidence that you and it will far exceed your expectations!

Oh and I'll be there to cheer you on!! I'm running the third leg of the relay!!!

Jim said...

What a bummer that biking season is over for you. Have you given any though to getting a stationary hookup for your bike? Great way to be productive while watching TV. I'm sure you'll do great in the half.