Monday, May 24, 2010

Slacking off

“Our nature consist in motion; complete rest is death.”

**Blaise Pascal**

       What a crazy month I have been through! So many changes. We have been adjusting to Hubby being home from Afghanistan, jumping through the many hoops it takes to transfer overseas, packed up all of our oldest child’s belongings and hauled them to her new apartment in Florida. Finished the arrangements and attended her wedding, and then beat feet back to Virginia to get our youngest to final rehearsals and performance for the end of the year in Orchestra. Needless to say, running has not been on the top of my list.

      Between recovering from the marathon in March, the ultra in April, and the wedding trip in May, my training miles have been way too limited and my miles per week average has slipped frustratingly low. The stumble, and plain old miles, at Sandy Bottom got to my knee which has also worked to limit my mileage. It has been wildly frustrating to actually have some time to run here and there, and desperately needing it mentally, only to get cut short by a sore knee. In 3 years of running, this is my first knee issue so I was starting from scratch with my research, having never paid attention to complaints about ITBS or runner’s knee.

       I bought a foam roller, which turned out to be one of the most painful exercises I have ever tried. Learned the appropriate yoga poses, added more stretches to my routine (and actually did them), iced, rested, and got back to doing squats. Nothing seemed to help at all. My knee stayed the same level of sore no matter what. Running or not running didn’t seem to matter much, although I did discover running fast was better than running slow, so I did intervals and fartleks. Once in a while my knee would feel a little unstable, like the tendons and ligaments were sloppy, so I played very close attention to form and made sure I didn’t get lax or lose focus.

      I don’t know what finally broke the dam, but I woke up Friday morning with no knee pain at all after running two days in a row through soreness, (not sharp pain, just tenderness.) I took a rest day and ran 7 miles on Saturday and 4 more on Sunday. Finally! A 20 mile week! My knee is so much better. I’m not sure if it is the foam roller, squats, stretches, or what, but I will keep doing them all! I have to admit, I had become very flaky about stretching and wanted very much to believe it didn’t make a difference to injury, but I know now that stretching is going to be a key part of my fitness routine. I suppose there are people out there that are naturally flexible and can get away with never stretching, but I’m definitely not one of them.

       Today is another rest day, but I am looking forward to tomorrow’s run. My goal is 5 miles, aerobic pace, and enjoyable. I think the break from running has been beneficial to me mentally. Although I craved running, I was a little burned out after the ultra and needed to find the joy in it again. If all goes as planned, I will start marathon training again in July for a November marathon in Korea. But then, nothing every goes off as planned in my life…..

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Never give up!

          I had a fun run today. It was a fund raiser for the High School track team so lots and lots of teenagers. Warming up on the track, I had the usual funny looks and questions, “Are you racing barefoot??” YUP! Early in the race I got stuck behind about 6 teenage girls running shoulder to shoulder and asked to get through. They happily made room for me, apologizing and being very friendly. As I passed them I hear. "Hey! Look at that!" "Whoa, she isn't wearing shoes!" "She's barefoot!" "AND SHE'S PASSING US!!" Heard lots more whispers punctuated with the word barefoot, always funny. I was hoping for 8 minute mile max, but I’m not fully recovered from the 50 miler 2 weeks ago so I flamed out half way through the race. Once I had walked, my heart wasn’t in it and I slowed down more than I needed too, I would regret that.

        The course was through a housing area so the asphalt was great, but the path consisted of about 4 out and backs going up side streets, around a chair and back down. Coming up on the finishing chute I could hear someone on my heels and picked up the pace not to be passed. He picked it up too and we duked it out, but I stayed ahead of him and hit the chute first. I was moving so fast I couldn't slow down before crashing into the person in front of me, LOL. We laughed and thanked each other for the final kick. I didn't think I would win anything since the age groups were 10 year spans and I lost so much time in the second half, but I managed a 3rd place medal and got to walk to the front in my bare feet :-)

        I did have some questions and talked to a lady in a boot because she bought Newtons and gave herself a stress fracture over doing it and not transitioning properly (the folks that make those need to include an instruction book!). Someone asked to look at the bottoms of my feet, but unfortunately I have some mild calluses from running in shoes over the winter that are sloughing off so my feet don't look as pristine as they usually do.

        It felt great to run my first 5K in months, even though I wasn't really ready for it. I just looked at the results. The down side is the difference between my time and first place for my age group was 18 seconds, and second place for Women’s Masters was 26 seconds. I could have come in easily 30 seconds sooner if I hadn’t let my pace get to me and given up. Should have, would have, could have, isn’t what does it though and I simply didn’t bring it to the race mentally, my bad.

On the up side:

A) If the age groups had been 5 year groupings like they usually are, I would have had first place.

B) My third place was out of 25 runners in my age group!

C) The guy I sprinted frantically to stay ahead of and beat to the finishing chute was 24 years old, LOL. Hmmm, I wonder how he felt when he saw it was a 41 year old that whooped him, LOL

       So I don’t feel so bad about the time after all. I'll run a 4 miler next month and put my money where my mouth is!