I go through this intense infatuation phase at the beginning of new activities. Its probably not a bad thing. I do lots of reading and thinking about my new love. I immerse myself in it; swimming metaphorical back-stroke through the warm, calm waters of my infatuation. ...in theory at least... sometimes its more like obsessing continuously and tiring myself out. Either way though, its me. That has been me with running for the last few weeks. Thursday, after what at the time felt like a pretty pitiful 4.5 mile run, I realized that my legs have finally gotten accustomed to running. My recovery time is a few hours, rather than a few days before I feel a good spring back in my legs. So all of this is good... I've also spent more hours on the USATF website http://www.usatf.org/routes/map/ than is necessary. As is pretty common for me, my eyes and my enthusiasm are bigger than my fitness/readiness/experience. I keep mapping these 7, 8, 9, 13 mile runs around Happy Valley and then have to talk myself out of going out and doing them. I'm trying very hard to stick to my training plan and not overdo it.
So this weekend I had a nice 5.8 mile run planned out and a new podcast loaded on my shuffle. I even made a trip to walmart and got my old watch battery replaced so I could keep track of my splits with some greater degree of accuracy. Saturday morning was gorgeous, cool and sunny. James headed out first thing for his run, but I had planned on a Sunday run, so I diligently headed to the gym for an hour of moderate cardio (read: date with the elliptical). When Sunday morning rolled around, it was foggy and only around 45 degrees. I toyed with the idea of wearing sleeves, but then thought better of it. Having run the first 3 miles of the route a number of times I was eager to push myself a little. The cool air felt excellent and I was warm within minutes. I sped through the first 2 miles and pushed comfortably to the 5K point along a windy open road. Mile four was a blast, mostly downhill. As I approached the mile long climb (miles 4.3-5.3), there was a nice elderly couple walking along my path. I felt an unexpected rush of adrenaline (actually I think it was joy) as I glided past them and felt my legs and brain come into a beautiful rhythm. So, it only last about half a mile -- but for that half mile I felt truly like a runner. And it felt glorious. Then I hit the hill. The first half mile was ok, but then my lungs decided they had had enough and I started coughing...allowed myself to slow down to a walk for about 30 seconds before soldiering on. The gliding, flying feeling gone I accepted that there would be a slow mile in the mix. Thank goodness for the slight descent at 5.3miles, right when I think I might have to stop...just long enough that my lungs and legs recovery and then a triumphant charge to the finish (followed by grasping of knees and sucking of wind).
Stats: 5.8 miles, 46:27
Splits: 7:30, 7:55, 8:33, 8:03, 8:07 (6:19).
Overall, another excellent run. Its starting to feel a little less like dumb luck :-)
Then the pain kicked in. Leave it to old injuries to rear their ugly heads just when things start looking good. Something about ankles for me; they're never safe and it doesn't even take an accident or false step to set them off. In this case it was my right (usually better behaved) ankle. I thought icing might help, but in retrospect think it actually made it tighten up even more. It took about 9 hours before it started feeling better (likely credits to IBUprofen, hot shower, warm socks, and gentle passive motion). Miraculously, today, no pain in that ankle at all. My left foot, now there's a whole other story.